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The red Phillie Phanatic returns

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The Red Phillie Phanatic was a fun gimmick, when it was once needed. Image: Phillies.com

He’s BAAAAAAACK! 

The Phillies are less than a week away from opening up the 2012 season in hopes of running their way to a sixth straight NL East crown, and perhaps a third World Series championship. As has been the case the past few years, the Phillies are generating the hype machine leading up to Opening Day at Citizens Bank Park (the Phillies start the regular season on the road in Pittsburgh) with their annual Paint the Town Red Week.

The Paint the Town Red festivities include a number of community events, including a Phillie Phanatic appearance at a local Boys and Girls Club (more on the Phanatic in a moment) and the Phillies Charities 5k race down at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday (I’m running, are you?), and the On-Deck Series, a two-game set with the Pittsburgh Pirates at the ballpark prior to the teams heading to the opposite side of the state for the regular season opening series starting Thursday.

To keep with the theme the Phillies take their iconic mascot, one of the greatest in sports, and paint him red. The lovable and goofy green mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, changes his hue to the team color to support the Paint the Town Red Week fun. This has been going on for a few years, and I suppose it’s of little harm for the brief stint of time before he returns to normal.

But am I not the only one who would like to see an ultimate Phanatic showdown, where the green Phanatic lays in to the red Phanatic, much in the same fashion of a Hulk vs. Red Hulk brawl?

The red Phanatic first came in to existence at a time when the Phillies were starting to turn the corner of being a legitimate team to be reckoned with. While Opening Day was always something to be cherished in Philadelphia, the red Phanatic was a PR stunt manufactured to generate some media attention.

When people think of Philadelphia, what comes to mind.

The Liberty Bell.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art, for the Rocky sequence.

Uhh, Rocky.

Cheesesteaks.

Ben Franklin.

The Phillie Phanatic.

And when people are thinking of the Phanatic, they are thinking of the green, regular Phanatic. We all know he is the Phillies’ number one fan. He doesn’t need to paint himself to support the team. Leave that for the middle-aged men who feel they become one with the team if they paint their faces or chests. Hey, anything to support the team.

But hey, who am I to bicker? Since the Phanatic has started turning red the Phillies have been on quite the roll, reaching the postseason all but the first season he turned red (started in 2006).

So if painting the Phanatic red is what ti takes to get people excited about the Phillies, so be it. Don’t let me rain on your parade though. In all honesty I don’t care if the Phanatic is dipped in yellow, blue or purple paint and attacked with pink and orange paint guns. If it helps create one more Phillies fan, or has any bearing on the fortunes of the team in any fashion, then go for it.

Whatever the Phillies do, it is still light years ahead of anything the Tampa Bay Rays are doing.

Hype this up on BallHyped.

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