Beginning of the monkey business

The story of the stadium operations staff who gave birth to the Rally Monkey that would go on to lead the Angels to their only World Series championship

The original Rally Monkey was just a clip from the movie Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, but the team now has their own to use for promotional purposes.angel baseball

Of all the memorable dates in the 62-year history of the Los Angeles/California/Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels, it’s hard to find two more significant than the consecutive nights of October 26th and 27th, 2002. It was on those enchanted evenings that when the Angels won games 6 and 7 of the World Series against the San Francisco Giants to secure their first and still only title in franchise history.

Could it be, however, that 28 months earlier it was a lazy night against the same opponents from I-5 who actually provided the pixie dust that later enabled a then-Disney-owned franchise to turn its ballpark into a magical one of its own transform kingdom? ? Because on June 6, 2000, the Angels and the world witnessed for the first time the birth of a squad that proved to be a crucial component in a long-awaited championship.

Behold the incredible power of the Rally Monkey.

The secret weapon was unknowingly manufactured by members of the team’s event operations staff that night. Like virtually every venue then and now, the stadium’s large panel frequently displayed film clips to engage audiences. As the Angels tried to recover from a 3-0 deficit towards the end of the game, Peter Bull, who was working as a show caller above the press box, looked down and saw this one particular clip showing a monkey running from A bouncing scene in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was alluded to.

Dean Fraulino, who was game video director that day, knew the team needed a comeback, so he suggested they caption the clip with the words “Rally Monkey” the next time it airs. Bull agreed and as soon as the clip aired, the crowd reacted immediately. Soon so did the team and before the night was out the Angels had a 6-5 win and the franchise had a new lucky charm.

The Rally Monkey soon became a video store staple, helping to give a unique identity to a franchise that forever existed in the shadow of its Los Angeles neighbors. Fans began bringing their own stuffed monkeys to the stadium because the team store hadn’t yet realized that a new revenue stream had been unleashed. “People would call and say, ‘You have these rally monkeys for sale?'” Bull recalls. The team shop said, “We have people calling, can you tell me what that is?” I explained and they bought these stuffed monkeys.”

However, not everyone was enthusiastic. In fact, Fraulino says that the day after the Rally Monkey debuted, he was banned for a game by his then-boss for failing to get his prior approval.

Never was the Rally Monkey more necessary or vital than in Game 6 of the World Series two years later. The Angels entered the bottom of the seventh deficit 5-0, nine outs from elimination. But with 44,506 fans hitting new decibel levels while Anaheim was goaded by their favorite primate cheerleader, Anaheim roared back and won 6-5. The Angels shut out the Giants the next night.

Fraulino missed out on the title run after leaving before this season, while Bull stayed with the team before retiring just a few months ago. Both are proud of their co-creation, which has become as much a face of the franchise as current superstars Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Tangible perks have been lacking, but their place in the franchise’s annals is certain.

Fraulino recalls with a laugh, “They were giving away Rally Monkey board games to fans and I walked in and said, ‘Do you mind if I get one of these games?’ and they said, ‘They’re just for fans.’ But I came across my name [in some stories] and I was like, ‘OK, that’s cool, I’m a little part of the story, I can live with that.'”


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