Since 2010, four Orioles have participated in the Home Run Derby. Names you’d expect to see, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Mark Trumbo. For the first time since 2016, the Orioles again have a member of their team participating in the derby. Unlike the previous times, this appearance by Trey Mancini means so much more than a home run competition.
Everybody knows about the amazing comeback story of Trey Mancini. Being a die-hard Oriole fan, it is something that crosses my mind randomly and somewhat frequently. I sit back and think about how lucky I am, as an Oriole fan, to have seen and be able to see what Mancini has gone through and how well he has dealt with that adversity.
As a fan, you learn a lot of valuable life lessons through sports. In 2020 and 2021, Mancini has proved that statement. On Monday night, Trey will participate in the Home Run Derby and will be given a chance to show everyone how true that statement is. Oh, and don’t forget, he’s going to hit plenty of dingers into the Denver night as well.
First off, let’s touch on how incredible it is that Mancini is even in the derby.
While missing out on the entirety of the 2020 season to undergo chemo therapy, it was unclear if Mancini would ever play again. I speak for all of Birdland when I say that thought was one that stung the heart of every fan. However, with the support of his family and his girlfriend, former MASN reporter Sara Perlman, as well as the Orioles community, Mancini fought through the adversity and took his rightful spot in the starting lineup on Opening Day.
Since then, Mancini has seen a plethora of congratulatory messages from other teams, warm greetings from opposing players, and roaring cheers from opposing team’s fans. That part of the story is very open. What isn’t as open is the part that shows the influence and inspiration Mancini has provided amidst these messages and greetings. And now, the Home Run Derby will give him the chance to show this on a national stage.
To start, Mancini has already spoken about how he immediately wanted to participate, so he could be able to show fans that a cancer diagnosis does not define you. He was very clear on that, especially in his ESPN Cover Story appearance written by Kevin Van Valkenburg. Never once did he say “I can’t wait to show how good I am” or “people will get to see how much further I can hit than other person!” For Mancini, it has always been about using this stage to help others. And that in itself is incredible. He is extremely humble.
There will be a large standing ovation for Mancini upon entry. But remember one thing, and this is something Mancini would think himself, don’t pity him, but rather use him as inspiration to understand nothing can hold you back the same way cancer didn’t to him. In 2021, that is a lesson I have learned while following Trey and is a lesson that has helped me, as it became relevant to my life personally.
In regard to the actual baseball side of the Home Run Derby, Trey Mancini is a fantastic choice. Not only did he become the quickest Oriole to 100 home runs, while starting his career in Baltimore, he has continued to show this year he is a true power hitter. While being able to spray the ball anywhere on the field, Mancini has launched some very long home runs. Just this past week, while facing the Angels, he sent a ball to deep center field over the line of trees that finally landed, after traveling 451 feet.
With 16 home runs in 2021, he is certainly above average in terms of putting the ball into the seats. Impressively, a majority of his home runs go to dead center and travel over 400 feet. That’s what you like to see in a Home Run Derby. Nine times this year Mancini has barreled a ball well above average exit velocity into dead center. In Coors Field, expect that exit velocity and distance to ride and be even more exciting!
Norte Dame pitching coach, Chuck Ristano, will pitch to Mancini in the derby. Mancini, an alumni of Norte Dame, has a close relationship with Ristano.
Monday’s derby will be a night to remember for Oriole fans, and especially Trey Mancini. Birdland cannot wait to see Mancini show out and inspire everybody!
The 2021 Home Run Derby starts at 8:00 p.m. EST and can be watched on ESPN. Mancini will face Oakland A’s first baseman, Matt Olson, in round one.
Good luck, Boom Boom!
How do think Trey will do in the 2021 Home Run Derby? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our podcast, The Walk-Off, on YouTube and Spotify! And, make sure to use the hashtag #thebaltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!