Many have likened Gritty's appearance to the similarly nonsensical Philadelphian baseball mascot, the Phillie Phanatic: a green monstrosity with a bullhorn snout that might be a bird or might be a rejected Dr. Seuss creation, who has become a beloved addition to his team despite the fact that no one quite knows what to make of him still. Gritty and the Phanatic have instant chemistry, doing things like comparing oversized bellies during a #BreakTheInternet moment last weekend when the orange fluffball surprised and delighted fans at a Phillies game. But Gritty and his green father share an even deeper connection: The original man in the Phanatic suit came up with Gritty's design.
Newark, New Jersey, native David Raymond, who embodied the Phanatic for 16 years, revealed all to Delaware Online, including the fact that he'd been very candid with the team about the strong possibility of negative feedback to Gritty's debut. And, yes, most people were pretty horrified -- hell, even those of us who have come around to loving him are still a little bit horrified -- but even the negativity was tinged with a baffled air of protectiveness. "He's ugly, but he's our ugly," Raymond said. Honestly, the perfect response from a city that prides itself on being liked by no one.