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Monkey Business


It’s not that I’m not an Angel fan.  I am.  I love when the Angels do well, and I wasn’t even particularly upset when they swept my Dodgers.  In fact, there was a time when I was admittedly on the Angel bandwagon.  In 2002, I remember tailgaiting under “The Big A” before a playoff game. I Don’t remeber so much what playoff game or who was playing because I didn’t made it in… I never even had tickets.

We were living in Long Beach during the Angels’ World Series bid.  It was game six.  The Angels were down 3-2 in the series to the hated ones (The Giants, the Dodgers chief rival).   I staked out a table for the game at Legends, a sports bar that helped define Belmont Shore’s 2nd Street.  We ended up sharing a bar-top that fit 4 stools… We squeezed six.

It was me, 3 friendlys, and one hostile and one clueless.  We’ll call her Switzerland.  It was a pivotal game six for the Angels after getting routed (16-4) by the San Francisco in game 5.  The Hated Ones had some serious momentum, and their fan-base (emphasis on base) were even cockier than usual.  As a Dodger fan, I hold a special place in my heart for Giants fans… the freezing cold part.

Anyway, the Angels had fallen behind in what would be the series clinching game for San Francisco.  But really, it only made the entrance of the now worldly famous “Rally Monkey” all the more dramatic.  The primordial mascot danced on the Anaheim Stadium Jumbotron and on all 40 Legends TVs.  The Angels may have been down 5 runs, but I had a $100 bill burning a hole in my pocket and a monkey on my side.  I just had a feeling the Halos would come back.  There was one out in the bottom of the seventh inning.  I bet the crap-talking Giants fan at the table that the Angels would complete the comeback.  I didn’t think he’d bite; he seemed all bark. The G-man took the even-money bet. He’d been a fool not to as Vegas would have given me 20-1.

Spezio came up to the plate, and sure enough, he cracked a 3-run homerun.  The Angels were down by just two, and I started feeling the mojo.  I remember running around Legends with plush Rally Monkey velcroed to my head, screaming like a banshee, rallying Angels fans and sparking the ire of those who dared disbelieve.  It was surprisingly well received.  Except for my poor, cringing wife, and the increasingly unhappy Giants fan at the round table.

The next inning, the Angels tacked on two more runs and went up 6-5.  The Giant fan was quietly brewing, and I was none too gracious, bringing his fuming to an eventual boil.  The 9th was scoreless and uneventful, at least on the field.  The table, and all of Legends, however, were buzzing like a stadium full of vuvuzelas.  The game ended.  I snatched the two $100 bills from the bar-top and proceeded to gloat.  I feinged good sportsmanship and offered to buy Switzerland a drink.  She was like “oh, how sweet,” but Giants fan was incensed.  “But honey, he’s being nice. He just wants to buy us a drink…”  Switzerland didn’t get it, but Giants fan did.  He was fuming.  He grabbed her hand and headed out the door.

I’d like to think that the events I set in motion caused Switzerland to actually choose a side…

If she’s smart (she wasn’t), she would have chosen the Angels.  The Angels won game 7 and cemented their place in World Series lore.  And that, my friends, is some serious monkey business.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Jenelyn Russo permalink
    07/13/2010 9:18 am

    Great story. Have you read my very first post as Rally Monkey Mom? Same night, same game, different restaurant. I was the doubter. Although I didn’t lose any money. Just got a lot of grief. October 26th is not only the greatest day in Angels history, but also our anniversary.

    Best Angels game ever. Period.

    • 07/13/2010 12:23 pm

      I just followed your Rally Monkey Mom intro. What a great read. That game was was as much fun as I’ve had watching any team, including my beloved Lakers. I hope your anniversary brings happy Angel memories this year and the many to come.

      • Jenelyn Russo permalink
        07/13/2010 12:43 pm

        I feel sometimes the term “epic” is over-used. I’m guilty of it myself. But that game? It was truly epic.

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