The Phillies played in front of 6,989 fans who were gathered at Spectrum Field this afternoon. Aaron Nola looked like Aaron Nola, Jay Bruce had a pair of doubles, and the Phils picked up their first win of the spring–but the baseball wasn’t the story.

Instead, the focus was on the Phillie Phanatic, who underwent some physical changes this offseason. Behold:

Same personality, yes, but there are definitely some physical differences here:

  • Slimmed down in the front
  • Bigger in the rear
  • Longer tail with a pronounced blue at the tip
  • Stars around the eyes
  • New shoes, different color socks, no stirrups

Update: Can’t forget about the scales:

Sorry, man. My bad.

I prefer the old version, I guess, but it seems the Phillies are trying to get out ahead of a pending legal battle with Phanatic creators Bonnie Erickson and Wade Harrison, so an update had to happen.

When I first heard about the legal showdown between the two sides last summer, I, like a lot of people, laughed it off as absurd. Then, copyright lawyer Josh Gerben reached out and alerted me to this video breakdown he put together:

Here were his main takeaways back then:

  • Erickson and Harrison have a legitimate claim. The team needs to take them seriously.
  • The Phillie Phanatic won’t be headed to another team because the Phillies own trademark rights as well as some copyrights, meaning Erickson and Harrison won’t be able to shop the mascot elsewhere.
  • The Phillies will probably have to pay some additional compensation to Erickson and Harrison, but the Phanatic will still be doing his thing at Citizens Bank Park for years to come.

Turns out that Gerber was right, at least about the legitimate claim part. That claim was legitimate enough that the Phanatic was treated to an unnecessary winter makeover, though it remains to be seen how the case will be settled.

Anyway, most reactions to the Phanatic’s new look were, uh, less than enthusiastic:

I don’t know. Doesn’t seem like a big deal to me, though the hands do kind of creep me out. My guess is that we will all adjust.