How the Angels' Rally Monkey came to be

November 20th, 2020

ANAHEIM -- Every club in the Majors has a unique history and traditions, and the Angels have plenty of both.

This offseason, is going to take a look at those traditions and find out how they started and why they exist. This week, it’s exploring the creation of the Rally Monkey:

The Rally Monkey was officially created on June 6, 2000, in a game against the Giants at Angel Stadium. Video board operators Dean Fraulino and Jaysen Humes had no clue how big it would eventually become for the organization.

The bit wasn’t created in advance; the two scoreboard operators simply played a video with a monkey jumping up and down along with a clip from Jim Carrey’s "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.” A fellow employee, Peter Bull, was in charge of checking crowd reaction to the video and noted that fans were enjoying it, so they decided to bring it back.

In the ninth inning, the spirited primate made its way back to the screen, this time with the words “Rally Monkey” above it. With the help of the Rally Monkey, the Angels completed a comeback in the ninth inning against closer Robb Nen, scoring on RBI singles from Darin Erstad and Mo Vaughn in a 6-5 win.

The Rally Monkey has remained a fixture for the Angels ever since, but it was in 2002 when it really took off, with the Angels winning the World Series in seven games over the Giants that year. The Angels were the kings of late comeback victories that season, including 18 wins when trailing in the seventh inning or later.

It was never more evident than in Game 6 of the World Series, as the Angels trailed the Giants, 5-0, in the seventh inning and were on the brink of elimination. The Rally Monkey appeared before Scott Spiezio crushed his famous three-run blast that sparked the comeback. The Angels then scored three more runs in the eighth to win the game.

The Angels have kept that tradition ever since, even hiring their own white-haired capuchin monkey named Katie to create original footage. The monkey comes out to House of Pain's "Jump Around," with clips usually beginning with scenes from classic movies or television shows before the Rally Monkey appears on the screen to pump up the crowd. The monkey only comes out when the Angels are trailing by four or fewer runs in the sixth inning or later.

Opposing players have come to expect the Rally Monkey clips when the Angels are down late at home. Torii Hunter even jokingly brought a plush Rally Monkey to his introductory press conference in 2007 after joining the Angels. He was with the Twins in '02, when the Angels beat them in the American League Championship Series.

“This Rally Monkey has been a thorn in my side and in my nightmares, so I’m just happy to be a part of this organization and be a part of the monkey,” Hunter said at the time.

And count former Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp among those who didn’t like seeing the Rally Monkey on the screen as an opposing player.

“I don’t like the Rally Monkey,” Kemp told the Associated Press in 2012. “I’m scared of the Rally Monkey. You’re out there in the outfield and the monkey just pops up on the screen. That’s kind of scary.”