It’s Opening Day, and Trey Mancini isn’t with the Orioles. He said he’s doing well in his chemotherapy treatments after his March 12 surgery for colon cancer. That was the same day baseball was halted because of Covid-19.
Mancini has five treatments left. His last scheduled chemotherapy session is September 21, six days before the 60-game regular season ends.
“I’ve been feeling good,” Mancini said in a Friday morning video conference call. “After my infusions, I’ll feel pretty sluggish and not great for a few days and then I bounce back pretty quickly and have about nine or 10 days of feeling good before I go back, so I’ve gotten really used to the routine of what chemo’s thrown at me.”
Mancini, who’s staying in Washington, goes to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore every two weeks. Tonight the Orioles start their 2020 season without him.
“It’s the first time that since I was about 3 years old that I’m not playing baseball during the year,” Mancini said. “It’s definitely a little weird. I watched the games last night, and it was great to see the games back on TV. It was so good to watch live baseball back.
“I’m really excited to watch the guys tonight. It’s tough not being there. I wish more than anything that I could be out there with them, but I’ve definitely got better things to worry about.”
Mancini says he watched most of the Orioles’ exhibition games against the Nationals on Monday and Tuesday.
“It wasn’t difficult,” he said. “I was so glad to at least see the guys on TV. I’ve talked to them some, but I haven’t gotten to really see them in person, so it was good to see everybody back on the field.
“I think I’ve been keeping everything in perspective. It is a little tough and definitely weird not being out there, but given the situation of why I’m not out there, that’s kind of been my main focus throughout all of this, and I know I’ll be back out there with them eventually. But right now, I’m just more concerned with my treatments and making sure things are going well with that, and everything is looking good for the future.”
Mancini speaks with his teammates, and manager Brandon Hyde. He said he had a long talk with reliever Richard Bleier this week and chatted with outfielder Cedric Mullins on Thursday. He also participates in Zoom meetings.
“I pretty much know everything that’s been going on up there,” Mancini said.
In his down time, Mancini said he has become addicted to Premier League soccer and roots for Aston Villa.
His heart is with the Orioles, though.
“I’m wanting us to win every game out there really badly,” he said. “It’s kind of like being a kid again and just watching games on TV. You want to get up and start swinging a bat, throwing a ball around because I haven’t been able to do that too much. It gives you the edge to go out and play or go to a batting cage and start swinging.
“In a 60-game season, anything can happen, and I really like how the pitching staff has become a little more veteran this year. I think that’s really big to having guys like [Wade] LeBlanc and [Tommy] Milone in the rotation, and I think that’s going to rub off on a lot of the younger pitchers, too.
“I’ve got high hopes for the guys out there. With the expanded playoffs, baseball’s a crazy game, and I think they can really surprise some people this year.”
Mancini said he’s learned a lot during his treatment for cancer.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” he said. “It’s certainly not ideal, and I’m looking forward for it to be over. It puts a lot of things in your life in perspective.
“Before all this, I feel like the biggest struggles I’ve gone through all had to do with baseball. I never really faced anything, a real-life crisis like this, so it put a lot of things in perspective. I think in the future it will have me in baseball and in life.”
He goes for walks around Washington, and always wears a mask.
“I’m definitely team mask, I can tell you that,” Mancini said. “Any time I leave here, I’ve got it on because you never know when you can contract this thing, and it’s so easily spread. If you look at me, you don’t know I’m in the immunocompromised subcategory.
“You never know who is, so I think it’s obviously a respectful move. It’s not too difficult to put the mask on … I know it’s kind of turned into a big debate, and I don’t think it should have. I’m definitely all on board for the masks, just treating everybody with respect and staying socially distant and listening to experts that know what they’re talking about …
“It could be curbed if everybody follows all the protocols, and it’s not really hard to do.”
If he doesn’t need additional treatment after September, he’ll have plenty of time to get ready for 2021.
“I’ve started to get to the point where you see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “You get within two months of finishing, and especially now that baseball’s on TV, and I’ve been seeing it, and I’ve been getting cranked up. I’ve been thinking about being done with my chemo regimen and just starting the offseason and getting ready for next year.
“I definitely have that inspiration right now, not that I didn’t before. I think it’s heightened now that baseball’s coming back and I’m getting closer to the end, just getting back to my normal life, like how it was before [my diagnosis on] March 6, sounds pretty darn good right now.”