Thanks to Trey Mancini, a Baltimore Orioles spring training loss was the most inspiring sports moment of the weekend
On Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles—recently given a 0.0% chance to reach the playoffs by the number crunchers over at FanGraphs—began their 2021 campaign in earnest. Facing the Pittsburgh Pirates, potentially the only team in baseball worse than they are, they fell 6-4, recording the first of what is sure to be many losses this season. But despite all that, Orioles fans—hell, baseball fans in general—left the game with a collective smile thanks to one moment, which, as the old cliche goes, truly transcended sport. Check it out.
For those of you who aren’t following the ins and outs of the Orioles organization, that’s first baseman Trey Mancini. In 2019, Mancini hit 35 HRs and smacked in 97 RBIs—one of the few bright spots on an ailing Orioles squad. After just five spring training games in 2020, however, Mancini’s season was cut short when he was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. Since then, Mancini has undergone surgery and twice-monthly chemo, but on Sunday, nearly a year to the day after he last set foot on a baseball field, a cancer-free Mancini stepped to the plate and promptly flicked a single into center field. That, folks, is what America's Pastime is really about.
But it wasn’t the base hit as much as the standing ovation from fans and players alike that really threatened to fire up the waterworks on Sunday.
"I almost teared up a little bit, I'm not going to lie,” Mancini told reporters after the game. “When I was up there and everybody gave me a standing ovation and I saw all the guys on the field clapping on the Pirates, clapping in the dugout, our team and all our fans. It meant the world to me. It was a really, really cool moment and one of the favorite moments of my baseball career.”
Amen to that, Trey. Here’s to many more.