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01/20/09 8:22 PM EST

Anderson a witness to history

Pinch-hitter in Washington for Obama's inauguration

NEW YORK -- Signing with the Nationals after the 2005 season would afford Marlon Anderson abundant opportunity to explore Washington, D.C. And he took full advantage of his time there, visiting the historic sites and generally taking in the nation's capital. He thought he had filled his memory and satisfied his curiosity.

Anderson came to find out on Tuesday that he had done neither. Standing in the chill of D.C. for hours watching history unfold changed his outlook.

"I have a whole new set of memories to share," Anderson said on Tuesday afternoon. "Wonderful memories."

Anderson spoke by telephone from his hotel room after bearing witness to the inauguration of Barack Obama. His camera had snapped 230 pictures. His mind had stored even more images.

"What an experience!" he said. "It wasn't like anything I'd ever seen. So many people, people as far as you could see. So historic. ... And so cold."

The pinch-hitter and his wife, Shadia, made the trip from Houston to Washington on Monday. It was a trip they planned the day after Obama was elected.

"It was worth the trip, worth whatever it cost -- worth the effort," he said. "The whole process, the whole event -- it was amazing. As cold as it was, it was great to be there and see everything. We didn't have first-class seats (not that he didn't try to obtain some). But they were perfect seats for us. We're so glad we went. We have so much to share with our children."

The Andersons left their hotel at 6 a.m. ET -- "One and a half hours too late," he said -- to get as close as they could.

"We were at the third Jumbotron," he said.

Some of his photos were of the Jumbotron.

"Next time, I'll know to leave earlier," he said, laughing.

"Everything was so impressive. We were so impressed by how nice and polite all those people were. It was tough to squeeze through. But there were no problems, no [commotion].

"[Obama] brought people together. We met some great people. They offered their blanket to us. We made friends. ... That was the message he sent -- come together, work together. He is a man of great principle who spoke about sacrifice. He talked about working together, holding each other accountable. He talked about change. And there truly is change now.

"It was so emotional."

The emotion of the day caught Anderson at times. His eyes were not always as dry as they might have been. He called it "teary," but amended that assessment.

"Tears of joy," Anderson said. "It was a joyous and amazing day."

Marty Noble is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.