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The Phickle Phinger oph Phate
2002-07-14 12:47
by Mike Carminati

The Phickle Phinger oph Phate Phocuses on Phil and Phyllis Phillie

If you went to Vets Stadium in the mid-'70s you probably saw Phil and Phyllis Phillie, the animatronic, patriot-bedecked mascots of the Phillies, do their routine. The tri-corner-hat and knickers look was all the rage what with the bicentennial celebration and all. So of course, baseball tried to exploit it.

These creatures resided, if I remember correctly, behind and above the wall in left-center field. They would remain motionless until a Phillies player homered, at which point Phyllis, who held a match in her hand, would rotate to her side and light the wick of a pretend cannon. Then as the cannon "fired" Phil would swing his bat and hit the approaching "cannonball." I also remember Phyllis jumping in surprise to avoid the frozen rope from Phil's bat.

After the Phillie Phanatic was foisted on the unknowing Philadelphia phans, Phil and Phyllis feel into disuse. I remember going to a game in the early to mid-'80s, and they were just gone with no fanfare (phanphare?). All that was left their outline like when a picture is removed from the wall. This sorts of attractions were replaced by jumbo screens and replays. I am told that there is still a large apple that pops out of a hat whenever someone hits a home run in some professional stadium somewhere, but it must be in some remote area full of a bunch of rubes. Anyway, the Phillies soon got a big Phanavision screen and these formerly beloved characters were soon forgotten.

Until now...I located Phil and Phyllis in an amusement park called Storybook Land outside of Atlantic City. I was just strolling along among the kiddy rides and displays depicting scenes from fairy tales when there they were as big as life (about two stories high) with no designation save a 1980 Phillies World Champions pennant replacing Phyllis' match. They no longer moved and any mechanisms to help them do so had been removed.

They just stood there monolithically inscrutable. They were like the huge stone monuments on Easter Island-staring down uncaring like gods on high at the bewildered travelers who stumble upon them. I prefer to think of them though as a retired couple in Florida, having discussions about the weather in New York and what was on Rosie and Regis and arguing over driving directions, oblivious to the rest of the world, basking in the sun without a care in the world.

. . .

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