Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini opened up about his battle with stage 3 colon cancer during a Zoom conference on Wednesday and, not surprisingly, he spent a lot of time making everyone else feel much better.
That’s just Trey. He has been such a positive presence during these past few difficult years for the Orioles organization that no one could have expected anything else but the upbeat, inspirational guy who openly fielded questions about the shocking diagnosis he received in early March, his surgery six days later and the six-month course of chemotherapy that began two weeks ago.
This is still a scary deal, but Mancini thanked everyone for the support he has gotten and vowed to be back in the Orioles lineup next year. Orioles executive vice president Mike Elias predicted that Mancini’s comeback would be the feel-good story of the 2021 season.
“We’re going through a really tough period and now we’re going to be out for a while without our best player and a big heartbeat in our clubhouse,’’ Elias said. “But he’s still going to be around and I think it’s going to make it all the more special when he gets back and it’s going to mean a lot for us and the progress we’re making as an organization when Trey Mancini comes back to us.”
It would not be unprecedented. Former Oriole Eric Davis was one of the most exciting players in the game when what he later described as an “orange-sized tumor” was removed from his colon during the 1997 season in which the O’s went wire-to-wire in the American League East. He underwent 36 chemotherapy sessions over the next three months and returned for the final two weeks of September and the playoffs.
The following season — his last in Baltimore — Davis batted .327 with 28 home runs and 87 RBIs in 131 games.
“It’s been really encouraging,’’ Mancini said. “Especially [seeing] people that were younger like I am and they pulled through it well and went through the chemotherapy pretty well. Obviously, there are still some side effects and it’s not ideal, but it is really encouraging to hear guys like Eric Davis or other people who were in their 20′s or 30′s and got through it okay and are living a totally normal life now.”
Davis was a few years older than Mancini, but still young by the usual demographics of colon cancer. Mancini, who turned 28 just days after surgery, said Wednesday that he hopes to do what Davis did way back in the 1990′s — raise awareness among younger people that it’s important to get regular physicals and not ignore symptoms.
“That’s definitely something I want to do,’’ said Mancini, whose father is a colon cancer survivor. “If it’s something as simple as getting a blood test every year, because that’s how I found this out, it’s really important and those of us that are in our 20′s kind of just ignore going for our normal checkups because we don’t think anything’s wrong. None of us think it could happen to us and it can, so it’s definitely a wakeup call for me and hopefully for a lot of people — especially those with a family history like me. It’s important to go earlier than recommended for sure.”