Philadelphia Phillies fans saw two firsts this afternoon - the beginning of the Joe Girardi era with their spring training opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, as well at their first glimpse of the "redesigned" version of their beloved mascot, Phillie Phanatic.
The Phillies are embroiled in a trademark dispute with the original creators of the Phanatic, Bonnie Erickson and Wade Harrison, who have demanded millions of dollars for the continued rights to the character. In response, the team has redesigned the character in the hopes that the changes will distinguish the character enough to keep it legally theirs.
For reference, this is the "original" Phanatic.
We had to squint to find any differences. From what we can tell, the new design is slightly less fluffy, and the new Phanatic has slimmed down a bit. Other than that, it's more or less the exact same.
If the Phillies were trying to make this new mascot legally distinct, we're not sure how it will hold up in court.