10/27/2002 01:20 am ET
Fans: 'Fear the Rally Monkey'
By Alyson Footer / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Maybe there is something to this whole Rally Monkey thing.
How else could you explain the Angels' improbable comeback that erased a 5-0 deficit when they scored six runs in two innings, lifting the home team to a stunning 6-5 victory and forcing a Game 7 against the Giants?
Of course, you could say that the Angels' comeback was because of a collapse of the Giants' pitching. Or maybe that it was simply a resurgence of Anaheim bats. But let's get serious: Those angles just aren't any fun.
No, Saturday night we focus on the Rally Monkey, whose cuddly little head rivals only Darren Baker's in the category of Cutest Things We've Seen at the World Series Thus Far.
The situation looked bleak for the Angels. The Giants led by five runs and were just nine outs away from winning the 2002 World Series.
Then the Angels came to bat. Troy Glaus singled to left. Brad Fullmer singled to right. And Giants starter Russ Ortiz left the game.
Time to bring out the Rally Monkey.
And surprise, surprise -- the Angels rallied. And won.
Scott Spiezio hit a three-run homer. An inning later, Darrin Erstad hit a solo shot. Glaus drove in two more with a double off Giants closer Robb Nen.
And all the while, the Rally Monkey's antics were going full force on the JumboTron.
This inspirational monkey does more than just jump up and down on the screen. She cleverly inserted into a myriad of movie clips, including Signs, Lord of the Rings and Ghostbusters.
And the crowd goes nuts, every time.
Each time the Giants brought in a new pitcher on Saturday, the scoreboard crew ran a Rally Monkey mini-drama. The crowd was almost eerily quiet while it watched, for example, the Ghostbusters spoof involving the Stay Puff marshmallow scene. Instead of the marshmallow, who shows up to take over New York City?
And as soon as he appears, the crowd breaks the silence with a simultaneous eruption.
This has to rattle the opposing pitcher just a little, don't you think?
"I think so," said Vangie, a 26-year-old Angels fan. "Intimidation plays a big part in it."
Anaheim resident George, 29, believes in the monkey karma. But this is nothing new to George -- he's been watching it all season long.
"You've got to fear the monkey," he said. "(The opposing teams) melt down. That's the bottom line. The Yankees feared it, the Minnesota Twins feared it, and now the Giants. They all have an underlying fear.
"Once the seventh inning comes around, it's over. What were we down? 5-0? And what was the final score? It's the monkey. I'm telling you, it's the monkey."
Even the players -- you remember them, the people who are actually driving in the runs and hitting the homers -- believe in monkey karma.
"I think it really gets the crowd going," Glaus said. "They start making a bunch of noise, and I think just the fact that the crowd is yelling, screaming, real excited about the upcoming situation, it makes everybody on the team excited. We just want to do it for them."
A plea from fans to Rally Monkey's mom: Please make sure she turns her clock back Saturday night and shows up on time to Edison Field on Sunday. Just in case she's needed.
Spiezio pointed out that during such an emotionally and physically taxing time of the year, the bursts of energy they get from the fans' enthusiasm helps.
"These games, they're just incredibly long," he said. "To have the fans get behind you and give you that boost of adrenaline you need ... tonight, they never gave up. It would have been hard to do it without them.
"If it takes the Rally Monkey to get the going a little bit more, we love it."
Anaheim's win will probably prompt Angels fanatic Carl, 34, to return to the ballpark on Sunday in the same garb -- a burgundy leisure suit straight out of the '70s, a wig of black, mangily, curly hair, jungle skin leopard platform boots and a T-shirt that reads "Fear the Monkey."
Carl can practically taste the World Series victory champagne. He's predicting some big things from the Angels -- and the monkey, too.
"Seventh inning, tie game? Ha. It's a done deal," he said. "Bring out the monkey, and it's good night, San Francisco."
Alyson Footer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.