[Disclaimer: Spoilers Ahead!]
The Angels managed an inspirational, heartwarming comeback in the 8th inning again.
The Angels used Cody Allen in the top of the 9th to try and keep the game tied again.
The Angels trailed going into the bottom of the 9th and had Cozart represent the last out again.
The denouement to this ambitious sequel was definitely an experience, but the film didn’t start off so entertaining. Marco Gonzales as a villain is such a meh choice. Predictable and formulaic, he was exactly what one would come to expect from an Angels production. He would take up approximately 2⁄3 of the screen time, a strange and artistic choice, but a poor one. It would have been so easy to walk out of the theater.
However, there were supporting character performances that kept the audience firmly planted in their seats, setting up the gut-buster of an ending. David Fletcher, per the usual, was phenomenal. It takes quite a bit to carry the plot that Gonzales dragged down with lazy fly balls and soft grounders, but he and the similarly, slightly less dependable Mike Trout (ha) thrilled audiences to such an extent with their dramatic performances, that it was hard not to stand up and clap. The game crescendoed into a magnificent climax, before shifting into the side-splitting classic that we will no doubt remember it as.
Justin Bour, or “Jables” as his friends call him, kicked off the laughs with a pop up that he didn’t run out. Allen, in all of his slapstick glory, followed in kind and some sticks slapped. And of course that ending.
Before they wrapped it all up though, Ausmus rolled out his ultimate weapon: having Tommy La Stella pinch run for Kevan Smith instead of having him pinch hit for Cozart while they were down 2. This scene was revolutionary and will likely be the gold standard for laughs for years to come.
Summary: Groundhog Game drags at times, but the ending is executed perfectly. The sudden build-up of expectations hits you like a freight train, maintaining most of the charm of its predecessor. This second installation in the franchise may not have the same lasting impact, but the hype was well-placed.