The Philly Phanatic has been given a makeover, though the Major League Baseball team would rather you call it an "evolution."

The bright green, furry mascot, which made his debut in 1978, was given some subtle updates that look a lot like the "old" Phanatic at first glance.

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Marc Farzetta in a tweet said some of the changes included an overall lighter shade of green, a solid blue tail, fur-free hands, more blue in a star shape around his eyes and red shoes.

According to the team website the changes were influenced by a lawsuit filed over the rights to the Phanatic.

Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison, who created the character, are suing the team to get back rights to the Phanatic that they sold in 1984, according to the team.

By law, mascot creators can renegotiate their deal after 35 years and file a lawsuit, according to the team.

The Phillies organization filed its own lawsuit against Erickson and Harrison claiming the team has "evolved" the character over the past 40 years.

In the same article on the team website, Phillies Executive Vice President David Buck said of the mascot "If you look at the current one, there are probably 10 or 12 changes over the last 40 years that no one has ever noticed." He called fan concern over the latest changes "much to-do about nothing."

"The character of the Phanatic is more important than the costume — the antics and everything," Buck said.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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