It was just another routine at-bat in a contest between Philadelphia and Montreal in 1996.
Tuesday, the at-bat came full circle as the two participants, Andy Tracy and Ricky Bottalico, met behind the Williamsport Crosscutters batting cage to chat about the team.
"I played against Ricky and we spent sometime together when he was in Lehigh," Tracy said. "It's always nice to see guys. I don't know if he was excited, but to come back and get a look at A ball, he hadn't been down here for a while and I think it puts the fire back in you."
Former relief pitcher Ricky Bottalico talks with Crosscutters manager Andy Tracy before the game Tuesday at Bowman Field.
When talking baseball, Tracy, the Expos batter, and Bottalico, the Phillies pitcher, talked about the Cutters, a few players on the team and the importance of the single-A season.
"It really brings you back. It makes you think about being here," said Bottalico, who finished his career with a 3.99 ERA. "This is where you make a lot of your friends. A lot of these guys are going to go up together."
Besides talking baseball, both former players reflected on the friendships gained throughout their time in the minor leagues.
"You become very good friends with teammates, they become almost like your family. It's what minor league baseball is all about," Bottalico said. "It's just one of those things where it's fun to go back and see. It flashes you back to when you where there. It's like going back to your roots."
Bottalico, who posted 34 saves with the Phillies, tossed out the first pitch, and showed he hasn't lost much. The velocity of the pitch got a nice reaction from the crowd, which let out a gasp before the catch was made. bottstick only complaint was he wished he had more time to warm up.
With or without a proper warmup, Bottalico had little trouble getting the ball to the catcher, which should have been something Tracy had seen before.
"I played against Andy," Bottalico said. "It was a long time ago, but I tell you this the Cutters have a great baseball mind in Andy. He was always a very smart player and I think he'll be a smart manager."
When asked if Bottalico had a favorite memory out of all the ones he's created, he simply replied, "My first day in the big leagues.
"I bet if you asked every major leaguer that's played that day sticks out," Bottalico continued. "I remember going in there and my first thought was I want to remember this. You feel you surroundings and you can remember it like it was yesterday."
Bottalico might have one of the best All-Star stories when considering he was the lone Phillies representative in 1996, the same year the team hosted the game at Veterans Stadium. And surprisingly, it wasn't the game that gave Bottalico the most trouble.
"It was nerve-wracking," Bottalico said. "I just wanted to prove that I belonged there. The game was exciting, but everything leading up it is hectic. You have a week to prepare, get all the tickets for your family and it was nuts. It took every second I had off the field."
Once the day of the game rolled around, Bottalico could focus on nothing more than representing all the people and players that believed he could get to that point.
"You have a fear of going out there," Bottalico said. "You don't want to let down your team and want to prove everybody right. And on the other hand you're happy to be out there."
Bottalico did a good job representing the Phillies, tossing one inning and helping the National League to a 6-0 win. Bottalico, who signed free autographs throughout the second inning of Tuesday's contest, compiled a 33-42 record as a starter, while also adding 116 saves and 575 strikeouts to his totals. And since he spent time in the National League, playing for the likes of the Phillies, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Metts and Brewers, Bottalico even registered 17 at-bats. His only two hits were doubles.
"This organization means everything to me," Bottalico said of the Phillies. "They are the ones that gave me my start, and I was a guy that came out of nowhere. The Phillies are like family and it's always been that way."
And Bottalico is still a member of the family, calling the team's pre-game and post-game shows on the comsats Network.
As an added bonus to his trip, Bottalico got to visit the Little League World Series complex and was blown away.
"For a Little League field to look like that field does, it's awesome," Bottalico said. "It was impressive. As a Little Leaguer that's where you want to go."