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Mascot Creators Harrison/Erickson Respond to "New" Phillie Phanatic

The following is a statement issued in full by Harrison/Erickson regarding Sunday's changes to the Phillie Phanatic: 

The creators of the original Phillie Phanatic, Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison (who are represented by law firm Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP), expressed their dismay at the appearance Sunday of the so-called “new” Phillie Phanatic at the Phillies spring training game:

“The Phillies lack of good faith in negotiating for an extension of the copyright assignment for the Phillie Phanatic is disappointing,” said Wayde Harrison. “But the unveiling of the so-called ‘new’ Phanatic on Sunday is an afront [sic] to our intellectual property rights and to Phillies fans everywhere.”

“For more than 40 years, we have worked closely with the Phillies, making all the Phanatic costumes, providing artwork and ideas until June of 2018,” added Bonnie Erickson. “The Phanatic has performed successfully for the Phillies and the city of Philadelphia for decades. The ‘business decision’ by the Phillies to roll out this ‘new’ Phanatic is a transparent attempt to deny us our rights under of the Copyright Act. We would love to have the real Phanatic continue with the Phillies.” 


Possible Diagnoses For Ben Simmons


By Victor Williams, Sports Talk Philly Writer

In regards to Ben Simmons and his back injury, we are all hoping for the best-case scenario. I was able to speak with an experienced spinal surgeon to get an idea of what timetable to expect. From the limited information we have so far, there are multiple possibilities and permutations based on the symptoms:

  • If it is just muscular it is usually a day to day situation. 1-2 weeks maximum, need to be cautious with him to not re-aggravate.
  • A more serious issue like a Facet Joint injury or strain can take 4-6 weeks to heal and must be managed with rest. This is accompanied by a steroid shot into the joint under live X-ray, this is usually more than a nuisance issue or muscle issue but not as serious as a Disc issue.
  • Then there is a fracture that can be fixed if it is the vertebrae itself, with cement under X-ray guidance. Other fractures like a stress fracture or a transverse process fracture can’t be fixed but can heal quickly in 6-8 weeks maximum. It could be 4-6 weeks but usually, vertebral fractures take longer.
  • Last, there are two disc injuries. A disc tear in the fibrous capsule that causes mostly back and hip pain that doesn’t do well with steroid shots and can take a while to heal but does so without issue most of the time, especially within a world-class athlete like Ben Simmons. Then obviously is a herniated disc which can cause a bad radiating pain as well as weakness and often responds to steroid shots under x-ray guidance but can require surgery. This can take months to heal, let alone play.

Of course, pinpointing what exactly is wrong with Simmons' back is all speculation to this point. Since Ben's camp is involved in what the next steps are, we should all understand that this isn't a minor injury.

Phillies Mailbag: Moniak, Bohm, and the Usual Pivetta Hype


By Frank Klose, Sports Talk Philly Editor 

We are back with another edition of the 97.3 ESPN Phillies mailbag. Each week we take your questions and talk about them on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill every Tuesday during the Phillies season. Send your questions anytime on Twitter to @FrankKlose or send a text to the text board at 609-403-0973.

Hindsight: A.J. Puk or Mickey Moniak?

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Fletcher Opts for Experience with Flyers Deadline Moves


For the first time in a long time, the Flyers were in a position to be able to add at the trade deadline. They had added players in years past with deadline deals, but never with the intention of making their playoff push more significant. The moves were based in selling and restocking while picking up another player as part of a package. 

In fact, the only true buying move Ron Hextall ever made as GM came out of necessity. The Flyers were in a playoff race with both starting goalies injured and traded two draft picks for Petr Mrazek.

This was not Chuck Fletcher’s first deadline day as Flyers GM. That happened last year when he made the difficult but necessary decision to trade fan favorite Wayne Simmonds to Nashville. This year was Fletcher’s first deadline day with the Flyers, though, where he also had overseen the offseason and the moves made to build the foundation of this team. It’s not a team he built completely on his own, but it’s a team he has been fine-tuning since the end of the 2018-19 season.

The Flyers did not have to make any move on deadline day, but they got active in trying to improve one area: experience.

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It's Time To Let Josh Richardson Loose

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The Sixers continue to have their unlucky misfortunes with the injury bug. Joel Embiid seems to be close to fully healed from his hand injury, but now more Sixers’ players will be missing time. 

In Saturday night’s primetime game against the Bucks, the Sixers lost a big key player. Ben Simmons re-aggravated his back just five minutes into the game, and was unable to return. 

With home-court advantage in the playoffs still not locked in for the Sixers, losing star players right now isn’t exactly what they need. Right now the team sits a game and a half out of the fourth seed and four and a half games out of the third seed. 

Simmons has been a key player for the Sixers all season. He almost never miss a game, and logs a lot of minutes on the floor every night. Can this team still compete if he has to be sidelined for an extended period?

Luckily for the Sixers, they have one of the easiest schedules in the league heading down the stretch. With that being said there are still guys on that team that have to step up if Simmons and Harris are to miss time. One player, in particular, comes right to mind. 

Josh Richardson has been a nice addition to the Sixers this season. He has bought into the defensive brand this team built and has been a great partner to Ben Simmons in the backcourt. Sometimes it has seemed that he has had the same issue that Tobias Harris had last season when he joined the team in finding his spot in the offense on a nightly basis. But now this team needs him more than ever. 

Richardson has had some big games on the year, and it’s time to put him in the driver’s seat for this upcoming stretch. Joel Embiid is going to need help keeping this team afloat while Simmons deals with this injury, and Richardson can be the perfect running mate. 

We have seen what Richardson can do when given the opportunity. Whether it was earlier in the year when he went for 32 points against his former team the Miami Heat or just recently when he had a huge fourth quarter to secure a win against the LA Clippers. 

This role will not be something new for Richardson as he was the main option for the Heat towards the end of his tenure there. But head coach Brett Brown has to put him in the position to maximize what he can do on the floor and keep this team in the mix.  


Phillies Determined to Hoard Every Last Dollar

By Mitch Nathanson, Historical Columnist 

Regardless of whether you found yesterday's unveiling of a rejiggered Phanatic acceptable or not we should all be clear as to what that unveiling represents: the organization's determination to hoard every last dollar out there. 

Without getting into the specifics of the club's dispute with the designers of the Phanatic as well as the nuances of intellectual property law, the club's attempt to perform a legal end-around by way of sky-blue tail feathers is yet another brazen money grab by the organization that is telling in what it says about how the club feels about its fans.  In short, it simply doesn't care about us.

We know this because the Phanatic by now is woven into the cultural fabric of both the city and its sports fans.  Mess with him, even a little, and you mess with so much more.  The Phillies know this, of course, which is why their revamp hews as close to the old Phanatic as their lawyers determined was legally possible.  Yes, he does still look like the Phanatic.  Except that he's not the Phanatic.  Instead, he looks like something a team of lawyers came up with in an effort to save their client a few million dollars.

Of course, a few -- or more likely several -- million dollars is nothing to sneeze at.  And if the Phillies truly believe they're in the right here they ought to go to court and prove it.  Maybe they are.  And maybe they will.  But in the meantime the creature that took the field in Clearwater yesterday emitted the stink of a group of very rich men trying to get away with something.  And confident that we -- the fans -- either won't care or, even better, will cheer them on for doing so. 

We shouldn't let them get away with it.  The design team that, let's face it, created the creature we know as the Phillie Phanatic, are artists who are entitled to the protection of the law.  Whether the law is in their favor or not in this instance ought to be litigated.  The Phillies braintrust ought to be familiar with how these sorts of things are resolved -- each team puts their best out there and in the end, the best team wins.  The guys in the clubhouse do that 162 times every year.  Like them, their bosses want to win here as well.  Except that they very badly don't want to play the game.

There's an arrogance to all of this.  A nastiness.  A pettiness.  The Phillies would like us to believe that not only are they a family but that all of us -- fans and organization -- are sort of an extended clan, all in this together.  Except that they'll not hesitate to pick our pockets whenever they can ($14 beer anybody?) and won't hesitate to hold a cultural icon hostage in their effort to protect their bulging wallets.

Watching the legalistic transformation of the Phanatic yesterday I couldn't get that P.T. Barnum phrase out of my head: There's a sucker born every minute.  Whatever we do as fans, we ought to make sure the organization knows we won't be played for their want of every last dollar. 

Flyers Acquire F Derek Grant from Anaheim for Criscuolo, Pick

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Just a few minutes after making a deadline-day deal for Nate Thompson, the Flyers added more depth by making another move.

The Flyers have acquired center Derek Grant from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for AHL forward Kyle Criscuolo and a 2020 fourth-round pick.

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Sixers Should Take A Look At Tyler Johnson

By Victor Williams, Sports Talk Philly Writer

With uncertainty surrounding the length of Ben Simmons’ absence, the Sixers will have to attempt to make up the production that he provides. Considering the recent tear that Simmons has been on in recent weeks, that will be no easy task. With Raul Neto being the only other pure point guard on the roster, the Sixers will either have to “manufacture” one (as Brett Brown so eloquently phrased it on Saturday night) or they’ll have to add someone. Alec Burks is still working his way into the rotation and Shake Milton, while capable of running the point in short stints, isn’t reliable in that role just yet. There is one veteran guard available to could help the Sixers.

Tyler Johnson played for the Miami Heat for 5 seasons, starting 56 games for them over that span. Johnson was recently waived by the Phoenix Suns once they informed him that he wouldn’t have much of a role the remainder of the season. He’s averaged 10.5 points a game in his career while shooting 36% from 3. The skillset to score alongside Embiid at the PG position has grown even more scarce since letting Trey Burke go and Johnson could help generate that spark. It would be worth it for the Sixers to at least explore waiving Kyle O’Quinn for him. O’Quinn has appeared in 22 games this year for the Sixers and likely won’t see much playing time with Norvel Pelle waiting in the wings.


Flyers Acquire Nate Thompson from Montreal for Pick

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Trade deadline day was filled with a lot of early activity and while the Flyers were not likely to be big players given large price tags for rentals, they were able to acquire some depth for a fairly low price.

The Flyers acquired center Nate Thompson from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft on Monday prior to the deadline.


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