Sports mascots are a hit-and-miss option for sports fans. Some fans love their team mascots, others, not so much. I mean, you can’t go wrong with the San Diego Chicken, but when the New York Yankees had a mascot for a couple of seasons … the less said about that, the better.
I mention this now because of the unbelievable success and appeal of the Philadelphia Flyers’ shaggy, googly-eyed mascot, Gritty.
People love Gritty. But where did Gritty come from? What was Gritty’s parentage?
Trust me, I have this information. And it’s a sordid tale of illicit lust and abandonment.
It’s 2021, and let’s estimate that in order to make an NHL team, Gritty has to be approximately 26, 27 years old. You know, work your way up from the mascot minors leagues, and probably before that the mascot Junior “A” leagues, there’s that steady progression.
Gritty is a Philadelphia-based mascot, and you certainly know the other major Philadelphia-based sports mascot, don’t you?
Yep. That’s the Philly Phanatic, who’s worked Philadelphia Phillies games for decades. Look at that pear-shaped body. Look at those expressive eyes and mannerisms. That’s right. Gritty is the son of the Philly Phanatic.
But Gritty’s got lots of flowing orange hair. The Phanatic is quite green. And it takes two parents to make a baby … so let’s presume that, in possibly 2003 or 2004, the Phanatic met up with this other mascot.
Yep, there’s Youppi!, the mascot of the old Montreal Expos baseball team. Note the flowing orange mane on that mascot. So you figure, one time on a road trip, Youppi! and the Philly Phanatic possibly got a room together, and next thing you know, someone’s playing “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” and they’re re-enacting the Phil Rizzuto radio call from that classic song, and before one of them could say, “Stop right there! I gotta know right now, do you love me, will you love me forever…”
Yep. That’s the night Baby Gritty was conceived.
So what happened to this relationship? Well, the Expos moved to Washington DC and became the Nationals, and Youppi! was out of a job for a while. This most likely meant that the Philly Phanatic had to raise their mascot child as a single mascot parent.
Now eventually, Youppi! found a new job, as the mascot for Montreal’s biggest pro sports team, the Canadiens.
But that meant, for all intents and purposes, that Youppi! and the Philly Phanatic would never reunite.
Except that their son, Gritty, can now see both parents at different times. Certainly when the Flyers play the Habs, Gritty and Youppi! can connect once again over some smoked-meat sandwiches and possibly a cheesesteak with whiz. And on those moments on Broad Street, Gritty and the Phanatic can talk about great moments in Philly sports history. You know, like the day they booed Santa Claus, or the time the Eagles became the last Philly-based sports team to win a championship.
Come to think about it, doesn’t the Philadelphia Eagles have a mascot as well?
Ah, nobody cares about football mascots.
So somehow we have to get Gritty’s parents back together. This is important. Families should be reunited.
And once this is complete, we need to discuss all those little hatchlings the San Diego Chicken left during his famous barnstorming tours back in the 1980’s. 😀