"I still remember that more than anything," Anderson said during a visit to Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla., this spring. "Because it was my first at-bat, and then to be able to hit a home run -- it's something I'll never forget. I always talk about that memory of floating around the bases as I was coming around and getting to home plate."
Anderson ended up spending five years with the Phillies and was the team's regular second baseman in 1999, 2001 and '02. But Placido Polanco was acquired from the Cardinals in the Scott Rolen deal at the '02 Trade Deadline, and Chase Utley was ready to be called up the following year. At the end of the season, the Phils didn't offer Anderson a contract. He ended up playing with the Rays, Mets, Dodgers, Cardinals and Nationals before retiring after the '09 season.
With the Mets in 2007, Anderson was part of a crucial call that worked in the Phillies' favor. On Aug. 29, New York was trailing by a run but had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth. Shawn Green hit a ground ball to shortstop. Anderson slid into Tadahito Iguchi to break up the double play but was called out for sliding out of the baseline. The next day, the Phils completed the four-game sweep and went on to win the first of five straight National League East titles by nipping the Mets on the final day of the season.
Like many players, Anderson wasn't sure what to do in retirement, before finding a job he loves with Major League Baseball Advanced Media.
"It's been a little bit of a roller coaster," Anderson said. "Once you're finished playing, I think the transition is always the thing that players struggle with, trying to find what they're going to do next."
Anderson sat out a year to spend time with his family. He was a hitting coach for the Class A Potomac Nationals. Now, at 40, Anderson found a great fit with a job that allows him to live in Atlanta but still stay around the game.
"They gave me an opportunity to come in and analyze baseball. See players and watch games and break things down," he said. "It was like a match made in heaven. Because getting on this side for a player, you're just trying to get in front of any microphone you can, to show that you have the ability to break down games and talk baseball and really be honest and true about what's going on down on the field."
Anderson flies to New York and spends a few days a week making videos.
"Say there's something that happened in Philly this week. We'll talk about the Phillies, break it down into two- or two-and-a-half minute clips and put it on the Phillies' site," he explained. "Next day -- or in the next five minutes -- I may talk about the Yankees. Do the same thing, break it down and put it on their site. They have shows that are going on every day of the week. They have pregame shows. Some people you break down segments and put it on their sites. It's just a variety of things they do for different sponsors that are associated with baseball. So they can create whatever kinds of shows people want."
Anderson admits he hopes this leads to more broadcasting opportunities.
"Of course. Everybody wants to get better at whatever you do to put yourself on the next level of whatever that is," he said. "I think they understand that. That's why they bring players in. They're not looking for you to stay there forever. They want you to come in, build your tape, get everything you need to do, learn your skill. Because being in front of a camera is not something you just get up out of bed and do.
"Every day I'm trying to get better, pick up little tips. I talk to the producers and the director of the show. I'm trying to get better at what I do. And if and when I get to that point and I move on, that's opening up the door for somebody else to step into that role."