Honestly, I've never been a huge fan of bench-clearing brawls, or a firm believer in team chemistry, or any of those other intangible aspects that supposedly push good teams over the top.
That said, lsat night, when Vlad walked those three steps to the mound and had the entire franchise run and get between him and the Mariners to protect him, that was seriously a big deal. I often feel like the Angels don't have the team chemistry of other teams...you don't see the elaborate handshakes (Mets, Red Sox) or the clubhouse antics (Phils, etc.). But when you have an entire team step up to acknowledge their biggest star, and when that star says half the reason he got so mad was because they threw at "his catcher," that shows an immense amount of pride in the team and in the team's future.
That was a win last night, but I honestly think the entire situation did more to bond the Angels and cement their aspirations in October than anything else. Lackey, Speier, Cabrera, all these people are turning into team leaders behind the usually silent Vlad, and that's exactly what the team needs.
Maybe it's just me, but watching the whole team get out there so fast was a defining moment of the season for me. These guys care.