It seems just like yesterday when Angel Stadium was rocked to its core in euphoric bliss when the Angels secured its first American League West Championship after a five-year drought.
Texas' big ninth inning in Oakland that night -- gift-wrapping the title to the Halos -- ignited a celebration 400 miles down south that resonated all over Orange County. There was league MVP Mike Trout, rounding the Big A outfield, the last car in a train of soaked goggle-sporting teammates. With champagne and beer deluging out of their palms, the Angels rejoiced with ecstatic fans cramming the rims of the stadium for the chance at a high five and a face-spray of bubbly.
The day had finally come in Anaheim; the Halos were champions. And they had all the pieces to do it even bigger the following season.
In 2014, the Angels nearly reached the century mark, winning 98 games, a full 10 more than the second place Athletics. Yet in the year that has passed since the Royals swept Anaheim in the ALDS, much has changed; the halo has gone dim; hope has faded, and uncertainty is in the air.
As the 2015 MLB playoffs set to play ball this week, the closest Trout and his boys will get to the World Series is by tuning in to Fox.
Despite leading the division at the All-Star Break, Mike Scioscia's squad finished third behind division-winner Texas -- who was under .500 at the ASB but picked up one of the gems in free agency in Cole Hamels -- and Houston. The Astros won 70 games in 2014 but with a brood of young talent jumped to 86 victories in '15, claiming the second Al Wild Card spot on the last day of the regular season, after the Angels' loss in Arlington.
Naturally, the blame game begins: Is it time for Scioscia to go? Should Jerry DiPoto have resigned sooner?
There was also the injury to David Freese, and there was that one distraction (read: epic fail) that starts with "J" and ends with "-osh Hamilton".
Yet with all the organizational hang-ups, the Angels fell just one win short of a tiebreak with the Astros.
One. Single. Solitary. Win.
Here are the 10 games in 2015 that the Angels wish they could have back.
Ordered by most recent:
1. September 30: 7-8 loss vs. Oakland. Despite racking up 13 hits to the A's' six, the Halos committed four brutal errors to make up the difference in the one-run defeat. Scioscia's decision to pull starter Garrett Richards after six innings right before Oakland exploded for four runs in the seventh was probably no coincident either. The manager's fateful replacement might've been the last straw for the longtime headman as a decision on his future looms. A win here would've given the Angels some breathing room heading into the four-game finale at Texas.
2. September 13: 3-5 loss vs. Houston. This one might be the worst. Needing just one measly strike to close out the Astros in front of a boisterous home crowd chanting "sweep!", Huston Street gives up FIVE runs against the very team that would slip past the Halos and right into the postseason.
3. August 28: 1-3 loss at Cleveland. Scioscia pulls starter Andrew Heaney after the rookie left-hander pitched six shutout innings. Trevor Gott comes in and immediately gives up three runs. The Angel offense stalls, and the Indians eventually sweep the visitors two days later at Progressive Field.
4. August 12: 2-3 loss at Chicago. The White Sox walked off the Angels in 13 innings to complete the three-game sweep. Angels hitters can't pull through in the sixth with Trout at third and Pujols at first and one out. It would be third loss in six total on a seven-game road trip that went completely sour.
5. July 25: 6-7 loss vs. Texas. With the Angels up 6-4 late in the game, Joe Smith replaced Hector Santiago on the mound in the eighth. The usually reliable Smith gave up three runs in that frame as the eventual-champion Rangers edged the home team by one.
6. July 23: 0-3 loss vs. Minnesota. In a month when the Angels led the Majors in runs per game, the home team couldn't muster a single score in a loss against former Halo pitcher Earvin Santana. But worst overall was the news that Freese would be lost for several weeks due to a finger injury he had suffered the day before. Things definitely would have been different had Freese not been lost for six weeks in a crucial part of the season.
7. June 21: 2-3 loss at Oakland. The Angels had runners on base in all but one inning and weren't able to score on until the eighth against Scott Kazmir, a pitcher they usually victimize.
8. June 17: 2-3 loss at Arizona. The Halos were 0-for-9 -- yes, 9! -- with runners in scoring position. Talk about blown opportunities in a one-run defeat.
9. May 1: 2-3 loss at San Francisco. The defending World Champs walked off the Angels in the ninth, but the story was told in the seventh. Even though they would tie the game with a Matt Joyce RBI single, the Halos could've scored much more: with runners on the corners with one away, instead of pinch hitting, Scioscia decided to keep sub-100 hitter Chris Iannetta and pitcher CJ Wilson in the order. The first struck out and the latter flied out to end to leave the runners on base. This same inning also featured a controversial replay ruling that went against the visitors. The Giants would go on to sweep the Angels two days later in a game where Jered Weaver gave up back-to-back home runs to the first two batters he faced. And this leads us to number 10...
10. Any of the 12 Jered Weaver losses: The (former) ace of the staff set a new low in 2015 with a .368 W-L percentage. Weaver also posted the highest ERA (4.64) of his career, freefalling to seven wins in 2015, 11 fewer than in 2014. The Angels paid Weaver $20M this year yet only received 159 innings of service from the big righty. It's not hard to see where the Angels would have finished had Weaver not completely fallen off the train.