On the morning of July 12th, it was announced that Trey Mancini would be on the cover of the ESPN magazine. There was an article written by ESPN’s Senior Writer Kevin Van Valkenburg (who used to write for the Baltimore Sun), and ESPN released an accompanying seven-minute video that covered Mancini’s journey through cancer.
The article gave some insights that seemed very close and personal to Mancini, like how in the middle of his treatments he was informed of the unfortunate passing of iconic actor Chadwick Boseman due to colon cancer. He remarked how that really created a negative mindset for him because even with the best doctors imaginable, he was only able to make it four years past the diagnosis. However, his girlfriend of four months Sara Perlman was there and she knew that her job was to be a beacon of light in these trying times. So even if she was worried, and she definitely was, she kept the smile on because she knew that her optimism would help diminish Mancini’s negativity.
Something else of note in Van Valkenburg’s article was how many risk factors there were throughout the entire process. Namely, how the chemotherapy treatments made Trey’s fingers and toes go numb. Doctors told him that they had no way of knowing if this side effect was permanent or temporary, which would directly dictate Mancini’s ability to return to baseball. He did note that in the thick of it he did not think of baseball at all, but when baseball returned in the COVID shortened season, he watched plenty and would go through a whole batting sequence in his living room. At that point it was quite clear to Perlman that once he gots through this, he would do everything he could to return.
In the perspective of the fans, we only heard that he had colon cancer which in itself is terrifying news, but there was no gauge on what was happening until there was word from Mancini himself. So when there was word he was coming back, there was absolutely no expectation. If he could make it back, that was a huge victory on its own. However, once he started hitting an RBI per game in May, all you could do was applaud. Not only was he back playing every day, but he was improving upon his previous season. That in itself is miraculous. And as O’s fans, getting to watch his growth as a person and a ballplayer is simply phenomenal.
This experience also seemed to take effect in Mancini’s mental state not only as a baseball player, but as a person. As a baseball player, he adjusted his mindset to say ‘yes, it is fortunate that I’m even here, but there is still plenty of work to be done.’ Determination without beating himself up is how Mancini wanted to be. No more taking things for granted, yet staying hungry all the same. He still has concern regarding the tumor possibly coming back (although there are no signs of that currently) and that will always burden his mind. But being on the correct side of colon cancer, he will always have the people around him to show how much they love and support them. With the Home Run Derby coming up, a great showing out of him will only boost his national support, which he has rightfully earned.