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THE WORLD SERIES / A FAN'S DIARY

Frustrated S.F. Goes Ape Over Rally Monkey

October 24, 2002

Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco — Pacific Bell Park, San Francisco

Dear Rally Monkey,

Thank you for saving my life.

How, you ask, did you do that?

Well, I know you couldn't make it up here for the three away games of the World Series this week. I understand your day job barely pays enough to afford home games.

But, in spirit and image, you are here.

In fact, you're dominating the Series without leaving Anaheim.

You've turned Pac Bell Park, the home of the Giants, into a zoo. There are red monkeys, orange monkeys, black monkeys, white monkeys, Mexican monkeys, even a monkey dressed as Cinderella. In a 20-minute pre-game walk through the ballpark, I stopped counting monkey dolls at 500, and I hadn't reached the upper deck.

Since you're very excitable, please sit down before I tell you one more thing:

Most of these monkeys have ropes around their necks.

There are monkeys being hung from 2-by-4s, from branches, mop handles, stadium rails, concession stands and boat masts. One doll of you was tied to the back of an SUV and dragged through the streets of the city. Another monkey got itself attached to the rear of a cable car.

Three men from San Jose -- a caterer, a UPS driver and an Applebee's server -- have made you into a pinata. They tied your hands and feet with duct tape and used a noose to attach you to a long stick. At a spot along McCovey Cove, they are offering free swings to passersby. One Giant fan brought along his own wooden bat (a Reggie Sanders model) and hit you so hard you came off the rope!

Not content with public hangings, another Giant fan managed to smuggle in one of those little guillotines people use to slice bagels. I last saw him decapitating a monkey doll in the third inning. To see Pac Bell Park this week, you might think Baz Luhrmann were remaking "Planet of the Apes" and Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities" -- simultaneously.

So many Giant fans have torn stuffed monkeys to shreds that they have their own instructional video:

1. Bite the monkey's head off.

2. Spit it out.

3. Keeping your teeth on the monkey's torso for balance, yank the left arm off.

4. Repeat and yank off the right arm.

5. Grab the legs and pull them in opposite directions until they come apart.

6. Soak pieces of monkey in beer. (Optional).

7. Throw monkey pieces in direction of nearest Angel fan.

You're always so upbeat and generous that if you were up here, you'd probably take this all in stride. You'd point out that fans of the San Francisco Giants, who have never won a World Series, are rightfully frustrated. You'd note that the most serious violence done here has been to Giant pitching. You might suggest that many here are unsure of their opponent. (When fans started the chorus "Beat L.A.," a posse of Angel faithful chanted, "We're Not L.A.!")

Your friends at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, however, are not so forgiving.

"It wouldn't be funny if these were stuffed toy babies being torn apart," declared Debbie Leahy, director of PETA's captive exotic animal department. "Animal cruelty is a very serious issue, and it's not something to make light of."

The trouble for Angel fans is that our Giant counterparts don't limit their nastiness to stuffed monkeys. In the Pac Bell parking lot, one fan with a monkey in a noose held up a second section of rope -- the backup noose that apparently all Giant fans keep handy -- and yelled in my direction, "I've got one for you too!"

"I don't think we're so bad," said Terry Diaz, 38, a Giant fan and courier from Livermore. Only a minute before saying this, he had reached for my neck and screamed, "Choke the monkey!"

"Consider yourself lucky," he added, "that you're not in Oakland."

And that's when it dawned on me to thank you, my main monkey.

San Francisco would be much too dangerous for the visiting Angel faithful -- without you to beat upon. If Giant fans didn't have all these monkeys on which to unleash their aggressions, they might turn their fists on the flesh-and-blood Angel fans.

You're the pillow a guy hits instead of his brother. You're Ali's rope-a-dope, dressed up in cotton and fake fur.

And the games here are your greatest triumph.

You've gotten into the heads of Giant fans. They are distracted and consumed by their own hatred.

On Tuesday night, they couldn't sustain even one "Let's Go, Giants" chant. Their homemade signs, instead of boosting their own players, were all about the violence they wished to visit upon you. Wrapped up in murderous thoughts, they didn't have enough energy to wave their orange "Homer Hankie" towels.

On the field, this Series may still be up for grabs.

But, metaphorically, you've forced the Giants to play our game.

No matter how many home runs Barry Bonds or Jeff Kent hit, you are the World Series MVP.

Most valuable primate.

Sincerely,

Joe Mathews

Fellow anthropoid

*

One in an occasional report during the World Series.

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