This is a mascot interview that I've been looking forward to all year. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who were formerly the Anaheim Angels, and the California Angels before that, have one of the most dynmaic mascots in sports. Making him even better than most other team mascots, the Rally Monkey isn't the by-product of some marketing-wonk's design.
No, the Rally Monkey is something much bigger, and much better than that. And he's something that started very innocently (Angels' video board operators simply started using video of Rally Monkey during the 2000 season to help encourage the fans and the team).
Now, fueled by the Angels' 2002 World Series title, the Rally Monkey is one of the most famous mascots in all of sports. His fame has even extended to celebrities, including Kobe Bryant, who isn't afraid to touch his monkey in public. Rally Monkey has even starred in a popular ESPN commercial (still only, we weren't able to procure any video)
For better or worse, Rally Monkey's popularity has certainly gone to his head. In fact, this interview was the most challenging we have done to date. All of the other mascots we've talked with have been willing to talk about anything and everything. The Rally Monkey came to us with rules.
First, he prefers to have his answers represented in video, instead of in written words. Second, he requested that the majority of our questions require only a "yes" or "no" response. For your typical run of the mill mascots (most definitely including the Angels' previous mascots), we wouldn't have acquiesced to these requests, but for the beloved Rally Monkey, we were (obviously) obligated to.
On to the interview... (Ed. Note: Many of the links below contain sound)
: Welcome to Fish Stripes, Rally Monkey! Are you excited to be here?
: Vladimir Guerrero, one of the favorite non-Marlins of this site, is back in the lineup after missing a few weeks. Vlad, last year's MVP, injured his shoulder while sliding into home. The Angels struggled without him in the lineup (going 10-8), but Vlad has been on fire since he came back. Are you more optimistic about the Angels' playoff chances now that Guerrero is back in the everyday lineup?
: During their two World Series championship seasons, the Marlins featured "Everybody's Doing the Fish" on their video board quite frequently. That song hasn't been played this year, but it was quite popular. Were you a fan of "Everybody's Doing the Fish" and the related dance it inspired?
: The Marlins will throw Big Moe, Cy Cobb, and a starter-to-be-named-at-a-later-date at the Angels this weekend. Do you feel fortunate to get someone other than Beckett in the series finale?
: [Ed. Note: We believe that's a yes.]
: Brendan Donnelly was caught cheating (with pine tar on his glover) earlier this week. I assume that your stance is that Frank Robinson is a jerk and that Donnelly is a good guy. Is that correct?
: You are oddly entertaining, but not very informative, Rally Monkey. Before I feel compelled to physically attack you, do you have any parting thoughts for us?
: [Apparently, he does.]