It was Quite the First Week for Gritty


(Photo: Kate Frese)

By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor 

Monday morning marked the unveiling of Gritty, the Flyers new mascot, and the initial reception was, well, not good. Flyers fans seemed split on approval of the new mascot.

Gritty was unveiled a week ago this morning, and his first week in Philadelphia has been an eventful one, winning over the fans of Philadelphia and traveling quite a bit. Here's a rundown.

The video posted to the Flyers social media accounts on Monday likely didn’t do any favors in the reception locally upon unveiling. Gritty looked creepy in the dark background of the video.

When Gritty made his first in-arena appearance at Monday night’s preseason game against the Bruins, he was victimized by boos. He appeared on the kiss cam and offered a girl mouthwash. He came onto the ice to toss t-shirts to the crowd (without skates after the first period), took 10 steps and wiped out onto the ice, trying to mask the faux pas with a snow angel. He fired his t-shirt gun at a fan participating in an on-ice game at intermission, hitting him in the back. It was not an ideal debut.

But here’s the crazy thing. In 24 hours, the entire nation started to talk about Gritty, the disastrous first day on the ice and on social media and the creepy exterior. The criticism of something with Philadelphia ties draws the ire of Philadelphia fans. If they criticize or make fun of something, that’s fine. But when the rest of the nation makes fun of something, it’s personal.

So suddenly, Gritty was a part of the “no one likes us, we don’t care” brotherhood in Philadelphia. A large amount of fans did a complete 180 on their feelings regarding Gritty.

Gritty also certainly got around from there. He met Flyers forwards Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds.

He was the subject of many late night shows, and even made an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

He was back for Thursday’s preseason home game against the Rangers and received a much-better reception this time.

Finally, he closed the week by going to the Phillies game and meeting the Phanatic on Saturday. He was also a topic on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

(Also skip ahead to the final minute of the John Oliver video for another Gritty reference.)

It took Gritty about 36 hours to surpass every other NHL mascot in Twitter followers. By the end of the week, Gritty is over 100,000 followers on Twitter and 48,000 followers on Instagram.

There was even a beer created with Gritty in mind by a local brewery and fans starting to immortalize the mascot in the form of tattoos.

Safe to say that it’s been a busy first week for Gritty. Big things are supposedly in the works for the home opener next Tuesday, where Gritty is sure to play a big part in the fanfare.

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