Joe Maddon hugged Anthony Rizzo, shared an in-game microphone with Kris Bryant, slapped hands with the Cubs' mascot and drew a warm reception from the Chicago fans at Sloan Park.
As if he'd never been away at all.
The manager who guided the Cubs to an elusive World Series championship in 2016 and parted ways with the team after last season returned on Monday, now guiding the Los Angeles Angels.
The mini-reunion came during at a spring training exhibition, with a split-squad of Cubs topping the Angels 9-4.
"It's very comfortable," Maddon said before the game. “You talk about wonderful memories, it was five years, but it was a very eventful five years. There's nothing to lament, it was wonderful. It was life-altering for me and my family to be part of this organization.”
The Angels and Cubs don't meet in the regular season, so the short trip from Tempe to Mesa provided Maddon a chance to meet old pals.
Maddon was embraced by new Cubs manager David Ross, who retired as a player after the Cubs beat Cleveland to end their 108-year World Series drought.
The Cubs averaged 94 wins per season during Maddon's tenure, and made the playoffs in the first four. Last year, after Maddon's contract was not extended following an early playoff exit, Chicago slumped to 84-78, missed the postseason and the Cubs front office moved on from Maddon.