This review is written by the New England/Boston Appellate Judge Dave Ryans of Natick. And his monkey.
Well, this is going to be one of the shorter reviews I've ever written. This disc is the official Major League Baseball film of the 2002 World Series. ((tm) and (c) MLB. All Rights Reserved. Re-transmission is strictly prohibited without the express written consent of Fox Sports and Major League Baseball. Buy the EA Sports game. Read the Bantam novelization. Soundtrack available on Atlantic Records. No animals were harmed in the making of this 2002 World Series film.
So when you place this disc in your DVD player, you will be treated to a 90-minute summary of the 2002 World Series. As you may recall, the Anaheim Angels (f/k/a the California Angels, a/k/a the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) won said World Series in seven games over the San Francisco Giants (f/k/a the New York Giants). Truth be told, it was a pretty good Series—the Giants were up three games to two, and led 5-0 in Game Six at Edison Field, but (SPOILER ALERT!!!) the Angels staged a late rally to win the game, then won the Whole Enchilada the next night behind rookie pitcher Jon Lackey. There was a LOT of scoring in the series—which led to some long games, but also to a good amount of action.
If you're a fan of the Angels—and you know who you are—then this is a good buy, since there really was very little attention paid to the Angels' sole World Series championship. Oh sure, there was the requisite special Sports Illustrated hardback commemorative edition, and the requisite Bunch of Commemorative T-Shirts—but for the most part, the bulk of Southern California went back to surfing, dieting, and banging hot chicks/studs after vague promises of potential feature film roles; i.e. what they do every day.
If you're a fan of someone the Angels beat in that championship run, though, you remember this series for two things: That Damn Monkey, and Those Damn Thunderstix. The Rally Monkey actually dates to 2000. During an interleague game (coincidentally, against the Giants), the Anaheim scoreboard operator put up a clip of a jumping monkey from Ace Ventura, Pet Detective labeled "Rally Monkey." The fans took to said monkey clip like a duck to water; by 2002 the Rally Monkey was the unofficial mascot of the Angels. Whenever the Angels were down late in the game and got a runner on base, out came the monkey clip. It was…well, it was kind of idiotic. (And this is coming from someone who went to his fair share of Angels games in that era; it's not sour grapes from a Giants fan.) It's kind of pathetic that the Angels had Garrett Anderson in their outfield, one of the most underrated and underappreciated players in history—and more people cared about a video monkey. That's Angels baseball for ya. Actually, as long as we're discussing the quirks of Anaheim…Anaheim Stadium/Edison Field/whatever it's called now is owned by the city of Anaheim. This manifests itself via the fact that the majority of the concessions workers are Anaheim/Santa Ana area retirees. I think it's a "keep the old people busy" kind of public work. These fine citizens of Los Angeles of Anaheim have two distinguishing characteristics: (a) they are quite friendly and pleasant, and (b) they are incredibly slow. If you want to get a hot dog and a soda, allow at least an inning. If there's no line. If the stand is busy…well, you may want to arrive a game or two early so that you don't miss more than 4 innings of your game. But I digress.
Oh—the Thunderstix. Thunderstix are these inflatable tubes made of a heavy vinyl that you smack together in lieu of clapping. Again, this was something that arose circa 2000 or so; I also think they first showed up in hockey, not in baseball. But again, it's something that the Angels fans adopted and took to the Nth degree. Thunderstix, when smacked together, make this dull thwapping noise that supposedly sounds like thunder, but actually sounds more like someone hitting a whale with a Wiffle bat. When you get, oh, 40,000 of them going at once, it's loud. Very loud. Painfully loud. And annoying. Very annoying. Painfully annoying. I mean, honestly—why don't we just go the extra yard and appoint an Official Annoyance Fan whose job it is to go up to opposing players and blast an air horn directly into their ears? Or maybe just give every patron of the field a Whoopie Cushion and let them go nuts? I'm telling you, these kids today…
Okay, as long as we're discussing California baseball, let me defend my Angel and Dodger attending brethren. What's the typical knock on LA baseball fans? "Leave in the seventh inning." Apparently that makes them (us) lesser fans. Well, here's the scoop. Some of us in the world have these things called "jobs." They allow us to buy "food" and "electricity" and "health insurance" and "Playstation 2 games" and "hot girl-on-girl Asian pornography" and all the other necessities of life. Also, some of us don't live five minutes from Dodger Stadium or Los Angeles of Anaheim Stadium (or whatever it's called now). In fact, many of us who attended Angels games lived on the west side of LA, which is about an hour from Anaheim on a good day. Many baseball games are, as you know, held on what are called "school nights." In other words, we have to go to these "job" things the next day. Oh yes—let me explain another thing. Anaheim of Los Edison Fieldium is at the junction of two freeways. Two busy freeways. So here's your choice: you leave the game in the 7th and get home a little before midnight, or you stay until the end, and enjoy sitting in the traffic of everyone leaving the game at the same time trying to get onto the two busy freeways. So let me make this perfectly clear: if I, or anyone else, leave a Dodger or Angel game in the seventh inning, it's not because I'm a lousy, lackadaisical, fair-weather fan. It's because I WANT TO GET MORE THAN TWO F—-ING HOURS OF SLEEP, OKAY??????
What the hell was I talking about here? Oh yeah—the 2002 World Series film. Anyhow, the disc has no extras, and a pedestrian but acceptable full screen transfer. Because it's a recent World Series, the picture quality is relatively decent. If you're an Angels fan, go ahead and buy it. If you're not an Angels fan, don't waste your time. Unless you're trying to collect every official World Series film made, of course.
That's about it. Monkeys, Thunderstix, K-Rod, Rex "The Wonder Dog" Hudler, Dusty Baker's little brat almost getting leveled at home plate, steroids, and more Eckstein than you can shake a stick at. Res ipsa loquitor.
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