It’s not exactly DC news, but Nats fans can collectively heckle under their breathe over the furry, green, and beer-bellied Phillies mascot for being sued by a 75-year woman for climbing through the stands and injuring her knees at a 2008 Reading Phillies minor league game, Philadelphia Daily News reports.
Grace Crass of Wernersville, Pa. was at the Reading game with her church group at the time of the incident. The Phanatic then proceeded to climb through the stands and onto her legs paining Crass to the point of yelling at the mascot due to the pain, according to her attorney John Speicher.
“It set off the arthritic process, and in fairly short order she needed a lot of medical treatment,” Speicher told Philadelphia Daily News. “Ultimately, she needed to get knee replacements.”
Crass is seeking $50,000 in damages from several major players from within the Phillies organization. They include: the Phanatic himself Mr. Tom Burgoyne, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the Reading Phillies.
This isn’t the first time the Phillie Phanatic, introduced in 1977, was the center of a civil suit. A study published by Cardozo Law Review written by sports law professor Bob Jarvis said that the Phanatic “hold the dubious record as the most-sued mascot in the majors.”
The last major civil case in recent memory occurred when the Phillies had to pay a judgment of $2.5 million to a man at a paint store event when the Phanatic got out of control and decided to jump the patron and wrestle him into a rough-house bear hug, from which the man sustained serious back injuries and litigated for damages. FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadephia had the last laugh on that one in 2009.
Jarvis told Philadelphia Daily News that there are several reasons why the Phanatic may be prone to lawsuits, including his longevity. “He’s been around so long and performed so many times, he gets sued more than a mascot that’s more recent,” he said.
So what if he’s been around a long time? Climbing atop a 75-year-old woman at a minor league ball game causing enough pain to exacerbate her arthritis and necessitate knee replacements is not a sign of fanaticism.
This should give NatsTown enough ammo to fire back in a classy and tasteful manner when the the Phillies return to the District for a three-game weekend series starting July 30 at Nationals Park.
Oh — and for the record — Screech has never been sued.