Trey Mancini knows what it's like to take Baltimore by storm, but as he watched UMBC complete the first first-round upset by a No. 16 seed against top-ranked Virginia, the Orioles star knew he was watching a sports phenomenon of a different kind.
"This is honestly one of the top things I've been waiting for to happen in sports, every year," said Mancini, who watched the game after returning from the team's two-day jaunt to Florida's East Coast. "My uncle, he lives up in the D.C. area — he's the biggest college basketball fan I know, and he's gotten me on the train of, 'This is something that might not ever happen.' But we've been waiting a long time.
"It's really cool, too, that it's a Baltimore school that did it, especially against UVA. Two teams in the same area, I'm sure that makes it a little sweeter for UMBC, too. It looks like they have a great team. They've got a chance to make a little run here, honestly."
Mancini was one of many weary travelers in the Orioles clubhouse who made it back for the game last night. Center fielder Adam Jones tweeted his congratulations this morning, too.
But if the mood was more subdued because of the early-morning report time and the long few days that preceded Saturday, it would have been more somber had one of the more popular Orioles players from recent years been around.
"That's the one guy I feel really, really bad for," Mancini said. "I hope he's doing OK over there. He's the biggest Virginia basketball fan I know. He loves Virginia very much, and I can't imagine if it was Notre Dame in that position — being in the NIT doesn't seem so bad now after seeing that last night."
Jones had his sympathies, too, and Wilson's response was succinct: "March 17, 2018 I lived my nightmare."