Trey Mancini allowed his imagination to wander. Even as he told friends to tame their jokes about spending the second week of July in Cleveland, the Orioles outfielder couldn’t stop envisioning the phone calls he would get to make once he was officially a first-time All-Star.
But the calls Mancini made Sunday to his family and friends instead delivered the news that he did not make the cut for the American League team in the All-Star Game on July 9.
His parents, Tony and Beth, were on their way to a baptism for a family friend’s daughter in Florida when Mancini called. They struggled at times to maintain happy faces during the ceremony.
“It was a little bit different of a conversation than I thought that I would have,” Mancini said Monday. “Especially hearing my dad’s voice. He’s a very objective, realistic guy. He’s a doctor, so he’s always kind of been like that, and he never really wants for me more than what I deserve, and I think he really thought I deserved this.”
Tony Mancini was far from alone in that stance. His son entered play Monday in the top 20 in the AL in various categories, including top-seven among the league’s outfielders in average, OPS, home runs and doubles.
With the Orioles holding baseball’s worst record, it was unlikely they would receive more than one All-Star selection. Their bid went to left-hander John Means, a 26-year-old rookie whose 2.50 ERA ranks third in AL among pitchers who have thrown at least 70 innings.
“John 100% deserves it,” Mancini said. “He’s been unbelievable for us this year. For him to think that he was gonna be one of the first cuts in spring training this year and then to make the All-Star team, it’s incredible, and he’s been lights out for us this year. He’s been a godsend for us, and he 100% deserves it.
“But I do wish I was going with him. … I think I deserve to be going. There’s nothing I can really do about it now, but it’s tough.”
It was an emotional day for Mancini, who said he “went through the five stages of grief.” Manager Brandon Hyde told him that he hadn’t made the team before Sunday’s 2-0 loss to the Indians, in which Mancini went 1-for-4. He said the game offered a three-hour window in which he didn’t think about the rejection.
Perhaps making the snub more difficult was that Mancini set a goal to be an All-Star this time last year, when he hit .216 in the first half and feared he was heading toward a demotion. But by Monday, Mancini added thankful to his list of emotions, grateful for the support he garnered throughout the process and in the wake of the disappointments.
The Orioles fully endorsed him as their All-Star candidate during the fan-voting portion of the process through a #VoteTrey promotional campaign, both because fans don’t vote for pitchers and he was their only position player worthy of such an honor, but also because his teammates truly believed in his worthiness.
“I had some thankfulness, too, just for all the support I got from my teammates, my family, my friends,” Mancini said. “So many people reached out, and that meant the world to me, too. I’m lucky to be surrounded by so many great people, and it definitely helped make yesterday a little less bad.”
Although there remains a possibility Mancini could be a late addition to the AL roster, he would prefer that’s not the case because it would mean one of the players selected got hurt. He intends to simply continue to do what got him to the cusp of an All-Star selection in the first place, rather than put forward any extra effort the remainder of the season to prove he deserved a nod.
“I think that’s something I’ve kind of done my whole life, anyway,” Mancini said. “It’s not really anything I talk about too much, but I’ve got a big chip on my shoulder. I can go back to high school. I didn’t get offered a scholarship from any Florida schools. I had a little league coach tell me I was too slow to play high school ball. Things at every level. Through the minors, people didn’t take me too seriously until I got to [Double-A] Bowie. There are things that kind of drive you, but I’m never one to go out there with the biggest chip-on-the-shoulder attitude. I have enough motivation as it is.
“I just want to be a great teammate and player for everybody here, and I’ve always wanted to do that, and I want to keep trying to do that. This doesn’t change anything in that regard. I’m just gonna keep trying to perform at a high level.”