10/20/2002 12:58 pm ET
Press Row: Rally Monkey caged
By Rich Draper / MLB.com
In the Man vs. Beast contest in Game 1 of the World Series, the Rally Monkey was merely a pest. Barry Bonds shooed him away as quickly as he did insects buzzing in the outfield.
In the Beauty vs. the Beast contest, Beauty won with a classic mix of good pitching -- at times -- and hitting that was right on time.
Series fans, then, had what long-time Disneylanders used to call an E-Ticket ride -- an emotional draining experience but a satisfying one.
Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle: "The Angels have just announced that the Rally Monkey will be cryogenically frozen until science finds a cure for the Giants' bullpen.
"In another medical bulletin, the Edison International Field first-aid station reported that after Saturday night's 4-3 Giants win, paramedics treated 44,603 fans for painful cases of ThunderStix elbow.
"Tonight's Game 2 at Edison has been declared Rally-Skillet-and-Gravy-Ladle night. Desperate times, man.
"But a funny thing: Midst all the sideline silliness that is a game in the Angels' home theme park, a real World Series broke out Saturday night. This was a gem. Great pitching (Giants' bullpen: 3 1/3 innings, no hits, no runs), heavy hitting, exciting defense, intense play, great weather, a lively crowd. If the rest of the Series lives up to this game, it's going to be a classic.
San Francisco columnist Ray Ratto wrote on ESPN.com: "The Rally Monkey went 1-for-12 Saturday night, thereby undercutting offseason plans for a Rally Donkey, a Rally Junkie, a Rally Flunky and a Rally Blood-Spurting Platypus.
"Now it is not normally our place to make fun of fans having fun. The point here is, on an international stage, with everyone in the world even vaguely interested watching, the Rally Monkey got its red behind (hey, how do we know it isn't a baboon?) kicked by Felix Rodriguez, Tim Worrell and Robb Nen.
"But the monkey isn't just marketing genius on a planetary scale. It's a supernatural figure, reaching into whatever dimension can alter time, space and the odd hanging curve ball, and it is supposed to make the Angels bigger, faster, taller, remove unsightly back hair and make them unbeatable in the clutch.
"Last night, though, with only the first game of the World Series on the line, and the Angels already having touched the Giants for eight hits, the monkey took a powder."
Sportsline's Scott Miller had a partial Disney theme, but he wasn't talking about Snow White. It was her kissin' cousin, J.T.:
"When you wish upon a star....
'It's amazing what can happen when you believe it can happen,' J.T. Snow said, speaking on behalf of World Series heroes and kids who get shooed away from the good seats by ushers everywhere.
"Just down the road from Disneyland, the teacups stopped spinning momentarily Saturday night, and the It's a Small World theme stopped strumming.
"Cause of the disruption: A kid who had been booted out of the expensive sections here throughout his youth and a young man who was traded by his hometown team before the 1997 season refuses to grow up.
"The 2002 World Series opener came complete with the prerequisite Barry Bonds moments (long home run in his first at-bat, dramatic full-count strikeout in his next at-bat, hard bouncer that nearly decapitated Angels' first baseman Scott Spiezio in his third at-bat), and it offered the Rally Monkey a chance to come out of his cage in the late innings.
"But most of all, it will be remembered for the same thing that plasters goofy smiles across thousands of Midwestern school kids after a good, hard blizzard: A Snow day."
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times:
"If the Angels win the World Series, they ought to nudge the rally monkey aside and adopt Alfred E. Neuman as their mascot.
"The "What Me Worry?" Angels did it again Saturday, reprising their unintentional but highly effective strategy for success this year. They lost the season opener, then made the playoffs. They lost the first game of the division series, then won the series. They lost the first game of the American League championship series, then won the series.
"And they lost the first game of the World Series on Saturday, 4-3 to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants won a home run derby, against a team poorly equipped to compete in one.
"And so again, this time in their last series of the season, the Angels trail a series, one game to none.
"'We've been here before,' Angel designated hitter Brad Fullmer said. 'I don't think anyone's going to panic.'"
Also covering the Angels side was Steve Bisheff of the Orange County Register:
"They were more like the Anti-Angels in Game 1.
"Little Ball" became too small to notice. Clutch hitting virtually disappeared. All that precise execution on offense seemed to die a slow, agonizing death.
Even the Rally Monkey appeared to run out of energy.
"It wasn't so much that the Angels lost this game. They dropped Game 1 against the Yankees and Twins and still came back to win both postseason series.
No, this was more about the way they lost.
"Going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position in the first five innings. Leaving three runners stranded on third base. Chasing high fastballs out of the strike zone.
"It was as if someone left Mike Scioscia's game plan at home. As if this were the first game of spring training, instead of the first game of the World Series.
"Schmidt was throwing 98 mph and going up the ladder on hitters. Erstad, Tim Salmon and others kept trying to go up with him, and falling flatter than one of Michael Eisner's cheers in the owner's box."
Jayson Stark of ESPN.com exuded a bull market on Bonds:
"Barry Bonds became the 26th player to hit a home run in his first World Series at-bat.
"You can't measure greatness by what a man does in the first World Series at-bat of his life. Or else Barry Bonds' name wouldn't have joined the likes of Bill Bathe, Joe Harris and George Watkins on the prestigious Home Run In Their First World Series At-Bat list Saturday night.
"But there was something about that home run that seemed to be the perfect way for the San Francisco Giants to launch this All Barry, All The Time World Series."
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.