Satire / Union

In defense of Phang

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union

Author’s note: The following is a piece of satire. Unless the predictions in this piece come true, in which case it is a piece of satire wherein “there’s always truth in jest.”

Dan Walsh doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Yesterday, PSP’s editor-at-large put out what can only be described as a hit job on the city’s newest and most lovable mascot, Phang of the Philadelphia Union.

Walsh called the team’s new mascot introduction “a jinx waiting to happen,” when the facts of mascots and the City of Brotherly Love couldn’t be further from the truth.

In support of furries everywhere and in response to Walsh’s bad juju, a counterpoint must be presented.

Exhibit A – The Phillie Phanatic

The San Diego Padres’s official mascot is The Swinging Friar, a pious and pudgy man with an inverted bowl cut. The San Diego Padres’s most famous mascot, however, is The Famous Chicken.

Born, not unlike the Union’s new fuzzy friend, in an egg-related event at the San Diego Zoo, the chicken showed up in the late 1970s and quickly led the otherwise nondescript baseball club from “America’s Finest City” to a World Series appearance in 1984.

The Phillies, responding to the growing crowds in San Diego to watch baseball and gawk at dancing faux-ltry, lined up their own version of the chicken. A little greener, a little plumper, the Phanatic was born in 1977.

In 1978, the Phillies won their division. Two years later, they won The World Series.

When Phillies legend Mike Schmidt talks about popping greenies during the team’s heyday, he’s talking about the inspiration being around the all-green mascot gave him.

The causation is undeniable.

Exhibit B – Franklin the Dog

Not to be confused with the highly inappropriate and truly fictional, Franklin Delano Bluth, Franklin the Dog is the Philadelphia 76ers mascot.

Franklin was another “By kids, for kids” brainchild of then-Sixers-and-now-Union Chief Business Officer, Tim McDermott. Franklin was born in 2015, designed to replace Hip Hop, America’s scariest bunny since the move Donnie Darko.

Author’s note: Hip Hip may have been the stuff of nightmares (and Donnie Darko is a bit of a cult classic), but the Sixers nearly won a championship with him stalking the sidelines. Furthermore, the official story behind his resignation from Sixers mascot duties was that “he started a family in rural Pennsylvania with a lady-bunny he’d fallen in love with.”

She’s a lucky lady and everyone wins here.

Additional author’s note: How dare Walsh be the first Philly Soccer Page writer to use a Spaceballs reference in an article. Irreverent non sequiturs and obscure movie references are Chris Gibbons’s bailiwick.

The Sixers, finally having a blue beast around which to rally, began to Trust the Process. Because of this, the red, white, and blue have finished higher in the standings every year since Franklin was born.

These are inarguable facts.

Exhibit C – Swoop

Swoop is the mascot of the city’s current reigning champions, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Born in 1995, during the high tide of Ray Rhodes’s tenure as Eagles coach, Swoop inspired the Birds to back-to-back playoff appearances in 1995 and 1996.

Then, once Rhodes left town and Philadelphia legend Andy Reid replaced him, Swoop was directly responsible for Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, and the longest run of success in Eagles history.

Swoop’s was a longer slog, obviously, and his efforts finally culminated in the Eagles winning the Super Bowl in 2018. There’s no arguing he was there, and therefore caused the team’s success.


Given the comprehensive analysis in the body of this article, it’s unequivocally clear that the Union will be better because of Phang. There are no instances in Philadelphia history where the introduction of a mascot has had a negative effect on the affiliated team’s success.

Whether championships (plural) come immediately or blossom over several more years is a mere bit of semantics.

Phang is about to deliver Philadelphians their next championship trophy.


  1. Look… so long as we all agree it is not a snake. That it is vestigial. That it is actually a tetrapedophilis…. its all good. Beyond that jinxes and hoaxes and curses simply do not exist, knock on wood.

  2. Goodness, we need some editing help. Who let this through??!!

    I also did an entire column predicated on the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Is there a third book/movie in a holy trinity of space comedy that I can cite?

  3. Legged snakes were a thing:

    So to get way too science-y, if Phang doesn’t have ears and can swallow a soccer ball whole, it’s a snake.

    • tetraprdophilis was an ancient ancestry of the snake, yes.
      …. now I’m not having as much fun.

      • Father of Old Soccer Coach says:

        As was mentioned in comments on the WtPh article,
        the Genesis story of the Garden of Eden describes snakes as they were before that seminal event.
        Phang is clearly from an earlier, more innocent time from before the acquisition of knowledge and Its associated Fall.
        Phang clearly precedes Original Sin.

      • el Pachyderm says:

        thank you Father as now I’m having fun again.

      • Sorry el P, should have used google-fu on tetraphrophilis

  4. I knew this was coming, and I am pleased.

  5. I’d just like to say, and this is just one person’s opinion, that Hip Hop was the greatest mascot in Philly sports history. And to note that it has been posited by wiser folks than myself whether all of the unfortunate injuries that have plagued the Sixers first round draft picks since his heinous demise were in fact due to the “curse of Hip Hop.” So, let’s tread carefully on this jinx talk.

    • el Pachyderm says:

      Hip Hop was the perfect compliment to Allen Iverson and the era of his brand and the culture he spoke for.
      Couldn’t agree more. Genius.

  6. I will never live that photo down. I’m completely screwed.

    • OneManWolfpack says:

      Win the Open Cup with the clinching goal or PK and I’ll pay to have it scrubbed from the internet HA!

    • Who knew your long lost brother had a tail and some kind of blue scaly skin disease. If this were the 7 kingdoms of Westeros there might be an explanation but…

    • It is easily the best photo ever released by the Union. It is fantastic, and Bedoya may etch his name on the Mount Rushmore of the Union solely by virtue of this photo’s existence.

      It is known.

  7. Epstein's Mother says:

    Dear Sons of Ben,
    You are obligated to tifo the image of Bedoya hugging the salamander before our opponents do something even less appropriate with it. Please. Pretty please.
    Ale’s Mother

  8. Nice! This all made me laugh. Thanks to you and Phang my day has been made better

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