Sure, baseball is America’s past time, but it is so much more than that. Baseball teams become families and this fact is evident when Baltimore Orioles players share their experiences.
In a piece he wrote for The Players’ Tribune, Mancini shares his love of the game and the team that gave him the opportunity to play and most importantly – to stay alive. He also shared that he officially has Stage III colon cancer.
Mancini had surgery on March 12, the same day that the MLB postponed the season due to Covid-19. According to Mancini’s post, doctors found the tumor in his colon a few days earlier. He then shared that he started chemotherapy on April 13. If baseball returns in 2020, he most likely will not be able to play due to his need for chemotherapy and other treatments.
Throughout the post, Mancini reminds readers that he is fortunate. Receiving a cancer diagnosis is far from luck, but Mancini credited his affiliation with the Orioles as what brought him his luck. He shared several stories of how his teammates and fans have stood by him as he receives treatments and procedures:
"“They [Baltimore Orioles] have treated me like family. Brooks Robinson called me when I was in the hospital to let me know he was thinking of me and to ask if I needed anything. That was incredible — he’s just an absolute legend in Baltimore.”"
According to the American Cancer Society, there are five stages of colon cancer – zero to IV – wth IV being the worst. Stage III cancer, which is what Mancini is diagnosed with having, involves cancer spreading to the lymph nodes, but not other parts of the body. Chemotherapy is the most common treatment. In Stage IV, the cancer moves to other organs and is more difficult to treat and overcome.
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Sadly, Mancini is not the first MLB player to be diagnosed with cancer at a young age. Chicago Cubs Anthony Rizzo fought Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was in the minor leagues in 2008 when he was only a teen. To help other, he established a cancer-fighting foundation that is well-known in Chicago and his hometown of Parkland, Florida.
Another MLB player who battled through cancer is Chicago Cubs pitcher, Jon Lester. He received his cancer diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 22 in 2006. Like Rizzo, he was with the Red Sox at the time. Both Rizzo and Lester had chemotherapy treatments, and both made it back to the field where they eventually won the World Series together in 2016.
I wouldn’t be surprised if both men reach out to Mancini, especially now that he has shared his diagnosis. Even though they are on different teams, the MLB is a family that takes care of each other in good time and bad.
We, at Birds Watcher, wish Trey Mancini and his family all of the best during this tough time. We all miss baseball, but we know that health is more important than any game.