It’s a job that doesn’t require any athletic ability. You don’t need a college degree and you don’t need to be a genius. You don’t need to study, work out, or prepare yourself like anyone else. There are only two skills required: a love for baseball and a love for making people happy.
That’s where Tom Burgoyne comes in. He, in fact, has a job that many Philadelphia fans envy yet adore: the Phillie Phanatic. If there are any eight-year olds reading this blog, Mr. Burgoyne is a “friend” of the Phanatic. Phanatic’s first “friend” was David Raymond, the first person to have the greatest job in the world.
“He’s green and his dancing on the dugout has been known to (screw) up an expensive view or two,” said Bill Prendergast of Cinnaminson, NJ.
What puts the Phanatic above every other mascot in the game is how personal his interactions with the fans are. You look at the big guy and you see a part of you in him. You may not be green and fury but as a Philadelphia sports fan, you’re a little zany… a little nuts.
I know I am. I would love to mess with David Wright of the Mets during pre-game warm-ups and then have him steal my ATV. I would love to beat the snot out of a Tommy Lasorda doll or destroy a Mets helmet with a sledgehammer. I think all of us have a piece of the Phanatic in us and that’s what makes him so damn special.
“There are so many moments that we as fans get to share with the Phanatic,” said Anthony Fulginiti of Clementon, NJ. “Whether he’s doing his best Roberto Benigni impression in the stands, getting a clap started on the home dugout, shooting out charred hot dogs into the crowd, kissing a smokin’ hot MILF, or smashing a Mets helmet to the tune of New York, New York, that lovable overweight green goofball never fails to make us smile and laugh and just enjoy the game experience that much more.”
The Phanatic makes other mascots look like amateurs. He puts his emotion, heart, and soul into every Phillies game. While others are there for the appearance and appeal, the Phanatic performs. It’s as if the hundreds of lights illumining the field aren’t there for the players. They’re there for the Phanatic.
“He is different from Mr. Met, who only makes appearances on the field to shoot T-Shirts after the fifth inning and the seventh inning stretch,” said another fan, Charles Butler of New York, NY. “However, when one comes to a Phillies game, they have no idea what the Phanatic will do for his skit after the fifth inning or what section he will pop up at in the third inning.”
It all started in 1978 when he debuted at the Vet. Since then, the Phanatic made his way into the hearts of fans. The 32-year old phenom pulled stunts such as messing with the great Dodgers coach Lasorda, parachuting in the game ball on opening day, and was the first mascot to drive an ATV onto the field. He was voted the best mascot in all of sports by athletes in Sports Illustrated and children in Sports Illustrated for Kids. Raymond was also the founder of the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Phanatic was inducted in as a charter member along with the San Diego Chicken and The (Phoenix) Suns Gorilla of the NBA.
The Phanatic is a one-of-a-kind mascot. He’s his own person and his own personality. There isn’t a single mascot in the league that will ever be able to compare to him. Phillies fans are proud to call him theirs. Whether it’s taking a popcorn bath from the Phanatic, receiving a big smooch, or dancing on the dug out with him, he’s our green buddy and we love him.
“He’s just too damn lovable,” said Fulginiti. “There’s not too many mascots in this league, or any other sport for that matter, that you could make the same case for. He is as great as it gets. He is the best.”