Flyers

The Flyers introduce Gritty: A timeline of reactions

Twitter/@GRITTYNHL

Since the Philadelphia Union unveiled their mascot, Phang, the Flyers have been dropping hints at introducing the second mascot in franchise history.

After roughly two weeks of subtle buildup, Gritty was introduced on September 24 at 11 a.m.

The following excerpt is courtesy of the Flyers’ website:

His father was a “bully,” so naturally he has some of those tendencies – talented but feisty, a fierce competitor, known for his agility given his size. He’s loyal but mischievous; the ultimate Flyers fan who loves the orange and black, but is unwelcoming to anyone who opposes his team. Legend has it he earned the name “Gritty” for possessing an attitude so similar to the team he follows.

He claims that he’s been around for a lot longer than we know it, and recent construction at the Wells Fargo Center disturbed his secret hideout forcing him to show his face publicly for the first time. He has some oddities that are both humorous and strange. A number of times he’s been caught eating snow straight from the Zamboni machine, and unbeknown to most, his love of hot dogs has been inflating the Flyers Dollar Dog Night consumption totals for years.

That being said, there’s no denying that he’s one of our own.

“Loyal but mischevious” … “Unwelcoming to anyone who opposes his team” … sounds a lot like the Phillie Phanatic, right? He kind of resembles the Phanatic, too.

Now that the introduction and background is out of the way; I want to run through a timeline of what I like to call “Life after Gritty”.

11:15 A.M.: I exit my work meeting and have a conversation with one of my co-workers. We’re talking about the Eagles game over the weekend and how we both didn’t expect the Bills and Lions to pull off upsets. I check my phone to see the Flyers unveiled their mascot. Initial thought: What the hell is that?

11:30 A.M.: I seek out another co-worker to see what he thought. He referred me to his tweet below

11:35 A.M.: I text my girlfriend and brother screenshots of “Gritty” explaining that whatever the hell a “Gritty” is, is the stuff of nightmares. He looks like a cross between “Animal” from the muppets, “Grimace” from those McDonald’s ads (s/o Matt Shinkle), the Phillie Fanatic, Scott Hartnell, Jake Voracek and the bear from “5 Nights at Freddy’s”. This thing is truly terrifying. It’s laughably bad.

Now here is where things get interesting. At this point my work day has been 100% derailed into reading everyone’s reactions on this atrocity on Twitter. The more I look at Gritty the more I think he’s not that bad, I mean he’s still mildly terrifying, but overalla not bad. Then I stumble across this tweet:

Really? A blog from Arizona is gonna shit talk my mascot? I don’t want to dive into semantics but the battery thing was at a Phillies game, not a Flyers game. The dog-piling onto Philadelphia fans is the most played out thing in sports. As I’ve written about before – I’d be a billionaire if I could count the times I’ve heard the phrase “snowballs at Santa”.  The tweets didn’t start (or stop there), though:

Who are they to talk? The Coyotes are one of the worst hockey franchises in the league – outside of Shane Doan and Ilya Bryzgalov, can someone name a Coyote from the last 10 years? Oliver Ekman-Larsson maybe? That’s about it. They haven’t qualified for the playoffs since the 2011-12 campaign. They are a listless franchise mired in the gutter of the Western Conference – but I digress. Upon seeing those string of tweets my “family style” (read: Philly) instincts kicked in. I suddenly loved this mascot. Sure, I can make fun of it, but he’s my mascot. I can do it. These asswipes from Arizona can’t.

Needless to say I started loving him out of necessity around 1:30.

Shortly after, I found this tweet:

You’re shitting me. First SB Nation’s Coyotes blog, now the Penguins? Now I’m pissed off. But wait, CHECK THIS OUT:

Here goes Gritty himself talking shit on the Penguins. I’m so here for this. Now I actually love this thing. At 11:15 a.m. I hated this mascot, within two hours I had come full circle. I’m ready to get weird with Gritty.

Now this begs the question: What have we learned?

For starters, I’m a lover of Gritty, however I think the Flyers marketing team could have done a better job naming him. Giving him a name like “Gritty” wasn’t the best move in my opinion. Sure, it mimics some of the things this fan base loves and hangs their hat on, but it’s a little too nail-on-the-head. I guess I’m just happy they didn’t name him Bully.

Second, I’m excited for the Flyers to have their own version of the Phanatic. Sure, Swoop and Franklin are cool, but the Phanatic is on a different level.

Third, I’m ready to start an irrational rivalry with the Coyotes. In the same vein that the Vikings fans hate Eagles fans, I’m ready to begin that with the Coyotes. To quote Jason Kelce, “Like my man Jay Ajayi just said… ‘F–K YOU!'”

Now I’m ready for Flyers season.

 


You can follow Anthony Mazziotti on Twitter (@AntMazziotti) and e-mail him at anthonymazziottiwriting@gmail.com.

Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.

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