Behold, the new Phillie Phanatic

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Our friends at NBC Sports Philadelphia recently reported that the Phillies were making changes to their iconic mascot, the Phanatic. The Internet collectively recoiled in horror at the news, and rightfully so. The Phanatic is an icon, a paragon of mascotdom, the furry green troublemaker we all want to be when we grow up. Who among us hasn’t giggled at the lovable plus-sized Galapagos Islands native? The dude has a buggy with a hotdog cannon mounted on the back. Your mascot could never.

It’s only natural that these changes are being caused by lawyers (sorry, Craig). The Phillies and the designers of the Phanatic have been reportedly bickering for a few years about the rights to the mascot and subsequent payment for those rights. So, the Phanatic is getting a bit of a makeover that will theoretically circumvent the legalese. Remember kids, everything fun will eventually be sullied by legally binding contracts.

Our Philadelphia-based counterparts have now provided a look at the newly legally-compliant (golly that just feels so antithetical to having Big Philadelphia Energy) Phanatic. Feast your eyes:

The changes aren’t too bad. The Phanatic apparently went on a diet. Like everyone else in spring training, he’s in the best shape of his life. He’s also got new shoes and socks, and a shorter snout. His arms seem to be more… wing-like? All in all the new stuff isn’t atrocious, but it’s a devastating blow to everyone who loves furry green dad-bod pelvic thrusts.

This is one of those things that we’ll barely notice in a few years, but dumb changes like these stink. Give us the old Phanatic back.

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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season

Kopech has opted out
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Michael Kopech has opted out of the 2020 season. The White Sox starter informed the team of his decision today, and the team issued a press release to that affect a few minutes ago.

The statement from general manager Rick Hahn. said “we recognize that reaching this decision is incredibly difficult for any competitive athlete, and our organization is understanding and supportive. We will work with Michael to assure his development continues throughout 2020, and we look forward to welcoming him back into our clubhouse for the 2021 season.”

Kopech, 24, has only four big league starts under his belt, all coming in late August and early September of 2018, but after a strong spring training he was likely to make Chicago’s rotation at some point in the 2020 season after sitting out all of 2019 following Tommy John surgery. Kopech was among the players sent to Chicago from the Red Sox in the Chris Sale trade back in December 2016. Others involved in the deal included Yoán Moncada, Victor Diaz, and Luis Alexander Basabe.

Now, however, Kopech has opted out.