By JON GERARDI
Andy Tracy has seen the ups and downs through his baseball career. He's signed with various franchises, been on losing teams, helped win a pennant and even was part of the 2008 Philadelphia Phillies World Series winning team, appearing in four games.
2012 Crosscutters manager Andy Tracy
After retiring last year following his signing of a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, many former ballplayers would call it a career. The left-handed third and first baseman played 16 seasons in professional baseball and after being on back-to-back pennant winning teams and a World Series winner, Tracy could have just walked away and called it a career.
Tracy always wanted to coach, though, and he is more than glad he's getting a chance to return to the Philadelphia Phillies organization after he was named the new Williamsport Crosscutters manager on Monday afternoon. Tracy replaced Mickey Morandini, who was promoted to manage the Lakewood BlueClaws, the Phillies' single-A affiliate in the South Atlantic League.
"I wanted to, when I left the game, wanted to get back into it from an instructional standpoint and wanted to manage it," Tracy said. "I think I'm capable of doing it. (It's) my first year, I think me and my coaching staff, we'll be ready."
The Crosscutters 2012 season opens Monday, June 18 vs. State College at Bowman Field.
Tracy was drafted in the 16th round out of Bowling Green in 1996 by the Montreal Expos, and bounced around baseball throughout his career. Before being called up in August 2008 to the Phillies, Tracy spent his summer in the Phillies' triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
As a minor league player, Tracy put up decent numbers. The lefty hit .268, had 296 home runs and had 1,064 RBI.
All in all, Tracy's experience in both the minor leagues and his stint in the majors should help him develop the players that will suit up for the Crosscutters this upcoming season.
"I can help them to develop, (but) it will be up to them to develop. They have to put the time and work in," Tracy said. "We want them to all play in the big leagues at the next level. (Just) to get better, but we're going to give them all the tools and all the drills to make them get to the next level."
Bowman Field and the Crosscutters usually showcase players just starting out their professional careers and often don't know exactly what to expect. That's where Tracy's career can help put him in a position to help the young players take it all in and possibly climb the ladder to the next level.
"The main thing I think I can do with the guys is to relate with them," Tracy said. "I have been playing for 16 years at the big league level. I've struggled and I've been successful. I think I can teach them to take the experience and learn and get better as a player each day."
Tracy will be joined on the Crosscutters staff by new pitching coach Aaron Fultz. Fultz is also a one-time former Phillie and played on the National League champion San Francisco Giants in 2002.
While both Tracy and Fultz will be making their coaching debuts this summer when the Crosscutters first take the field, Tracy's desire to one day coach has him ready to take on that obstacle of his first coaching gig.
"I always wanted to coach. I didn't know what level and then after pro ball, I really wanted to manage in professional baseball and see what that leads to," Tracy said. "It'll be a learning process, but I feel that I'm ready to take on that challenge."