Orioles' Mancini puts on inspiring show in Home Run Derby - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ Mancini puts on inspiring show in Home Run Derby

Trey Mancini in Home Run Derby
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas USA Today Sports

Trey Mancini’s story of overcoming Stage 3 colon cancer and enduring five months of chemotherapy reached millions of viewers of the Home Run Derby on Monday night. That he didn’t win the Derby wasn’t important. He was triumphant in defeat.

Mancini lost to New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso, who won the last Derby held in 2019, in the finals of the event at Denver’s Coors Field.

Enjoying himself immensely, Mancini beat Oakland’s Matt Olson, 24-23, in the first round, and Colorado’s Trevor Story, 13-12, in the second round before facing Alonso, who crushed 35 home runs in the first round.

Mancini said on ESPN after reaching the final round: “It’s hard to put into words. I’m just trying to appreciate everything all day but there are nerves early on, I’m not going to lie. Being in this atmosphere is incredible, especially considering where I was a year ago. I was two months out from finishing treatment. I’m really, really appreciating this a lot.”

Mancini was cheered on by Oriole teammate Cedric Mullins, who will start in center field in Tuesday night’s All-Star Game,  former teammate Manny Machado and some other All-Stars, including Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Machado’s San Diego Padres’ teammate, Fernando Tatis Jr.

His personal pitcher was Notre Dame pitching coach Chuck Ristano, whom he had promised a trip to the Home Run Derby after the two paired for a win in the Big East home run contest.

“The Home Run Derby is different than the games, but I’ve never been on a stage like this before,” Mancini said. “And it was just an incredible day, incredible evening, and I was just so honored to be a part of it. And to be asked and to make it to the finals is something that I think we’re going to look back on and really cherish and appreciate.”

In the final round, Mancini went first and powered 22 home runs. Alonso hit his 23rd with 32 seconds still left on the clock.

“I always think I can win, but I also knew who I was going up against in the finals,” Mancini said. “So I watched him in 2019 and I watched today. You know, he makes it look really easy. He’s hitting balls well over 500 feet and didn’t seem like he got too tired, and I got pretty gassed in that last bonus round.

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“I forgot that it was a minute less than the last round. Put up a good showing and unfortunately it wasn’t enough, but there’s not much more to say about Pete. He’s a beast out there.”

Mancini acknowledged how fortunate he was to be competing a year after surgery and chemotherapy that forced him to miss the 2020 season and gave him doubts about whether he would come back.

“It was incredible,” Mancini said. “Obviously everybody knows the story by now, but the last year and a half was something you have nightmares about. And to be here a year later and make it to the finals was incredible.

“I knew they changed the rules to the finals and I didn’t know what it was because I didn’t pay too much attention to it early on in the day. I was focused on the early rounds and everything. We had a good time and it was fun to be back with Coach Ristano, so we had a great time out there.”

The power and ease of Alonso’s home run swing will be remembered by those attending the Derby. So will Mancini’s competitiveness, courage and willingness to share his story.

“There’s life after it, and I was diagnosed over a year ago, but you know, when that’s the case and you go through chemotherapy, it’s something that’s still on your mind and you still have to worry about,” Mancini said.

“But I think it can set an example that you have to go back to your normal life, even though you might have this thing hanging over you sometimes. That’s the message that I really wanted to get across is I’m still going through a battle and there’s so many people going through battles still.

“Like I said, by all accounts, you can go back to how you were before. I feel great about my health and where I am and what the future holds but you definitely don’t want to take every day for granted, and I’ve learned that.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Buzz1979

    July 13, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Absolutely awesome, priceless!

  2. Hallbe62

    July 13, 2021 at 12:47 am

    Great Job Boom Boom !!

  3. BirdsCaps

    July 13, 2021 at 2:28 am

    That was a heck of a performance by boom boom. Alonso has the derby down to a science and a very good bp pitcher. However, the over the top swagger is a bit much. The mlb is getting more and more like football.

  4. dlgruber1

    July 13, 2021 at 3:34 am

    My takeaways from the HR Derby:
    1. Thrilled, overjoyed, elated and yes, even a bit surprised by Mancini’s performance. SO glad that millions of baseball fans now know what O’s fans know, that Mancini should be one of the highlighted faces of MLB now.
    2. Alonso is a beast. He made that look WAY too easy.
    3. If Ohtani pitches poorly tonight I won’t be in the least bit surprised. His battle with Soto was epic but also, especially in the thin air in Denver, had to take something out of him.
    Lastly, tho Alonso was the winner of the HR derby, MLB was the real winner. The trifecta of Mancini, Alonso and Ohtani was just what MLB needed, and they delivered.

  5. Orial

    July 13, 2021 at 8:01 am

    Great show Trey. Heart warming. I know the tendency is to trade him down the road but put me in the club that would have a very difficult time “stomaching” it. Would the return value even equal what Trey offers in intangibles? As far as Alonso–I had no problem with it,actually laughed. Looked more goofy than cocky. As far as has been previously commented–MLB turning into the NFL–I say good. Believe me this sport needs attitude,swagger and fun if it’s gonna attract the younger crowd. Alonso,though a little over the top,supplied just that. So from this 70 year old to other old farts–suck it up,accept it,and let the youngens show the way. But I will add this–please respect the history and don’t disrespect any of the glorious past the game has developed. Btw where did Manny come from? Thought he didn’t make the team.

  6. CalsPals

    July 13, 2021 at 8:18 am

    Couple of classy moments, obviously Trey, total class act, can’t trade him, there should be a riot if Mikey does, very classy how Trey showed respect to his pitcher by still referring to him as Coach Ristano, contrary to what many think, I miss Manny, he showed an awful lot of respect by celebrating with Trey, not a fan though of Alonso playing to the crowd, he seemed very awkward doing it, definitely not awkward swinging the bat though…go O’s…

  7. Jim-Considine

    July 13, 2021 at 10:01 am

    I have a theory that Baltimore is the only city in professional sports (USA) to have 3 Hall of Fame athletes who …

    A) Were arguably the best player to ever play their position.
    B) They ESSENTIALLY spent their entire career in Baltimore (One of them was traded in his last year, playing 2 quarters for another team)
    C) They lived in Baltimore during their career, raised their family in Baltimore, and remained in Baltimore following their retirement.
    D) They were very involved in philanthropic efforts to aid the less fortunate.
    E) Parents used these three athletes as role models for their children to look up to.

    I have always failed to identify another city that can come up with three people who can walk in the shoes of Cal Ripken Jr., John Unitas and Brooks Robinson. Trey Mancini may be the next one (he would need to live in Baltimore during the off-season, but that is hardly worth splitting hairs over). I imagine that Rich might be able to challenge this conjecture.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 13, 2021 at 11:55 am

      Those are VERY ARGUABLY the best to ever play their positions Jim. And I certainly would not be one to argue against them.

      But they are all icons and great examples of HOF’ers that exude professionalism and civic pride. Unfortunately, I think they’re from a different time and mold that we will ever see again. Baltimore is lucky to have had all 3.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 13, 2021 at 11:57 am

      Jack Gibbons and Jim Henneman might want you to consider Wes Unseld, who though his team moved to Landover, but always lived in Baltimore and with his school was involved in charitable activities long after his career was done.

      • Jim-Considine

        July 14, 2021 at 5:34 pm

        I think that Wes Unseld is a helluva suggestion. The amazing thing is I still am trying to find any city that has as many as three. A guy from Boston tried to sell me on the idea of Yaz, Byrd, & Russell a long time ago.

    • Hallbe62

      July 13, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      Outstanding !

  8. Bhoffman1

    July 13, 2021 at 10:09 am

    He should be signed immediately to a decent long term contract 3 to 5 years. Show some class Angelos

    • dlgruber1

      July 13, 2021 at 12:38 pm

      Bhoffman1, I couldn’t agree more but sadly I’m sure we all know that’s not likely to happen. Elias will trade him in a heartbeat if he gets what he considers the right return for him. He’s made it very clear no one is untouchable on this team, and as much as I, well, all of us, love Mancini, if trading him would benefit the team it’s something that we’d have to accept.

  9. VegasOriole

    July 13, 2021 at 11:37 am

    Would be a good idea to sign one of the M boys now, just like Tampa does to their players.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 13, 2021 at 12:43 pm

      Mountcasle and Mullins would be good signings.

    • CalsPals

      July 13, 2021 at 2:54 pm

      Two thumbs up…go O’s…

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