The Phillie Phanatic has been part of Philadelphia lore since 1978.

The Phillies are hoping to keep it that way, even if it means getting the courts involved.

In a federal lawsuit filed Friday in New York, a copy of which was obtained by The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Phillies alleged that the firm they hired to help create the Phanatic, Harrison/Erickson Inc., is trying to renege on an agreement the sides made more than 30 years ago and in doing so make the beloved, furry green mascot a major league "free agent."