Like outfielder Cedric Mullins last night, Trey Mancini once went through that same excitement of playing in his first major league game. For Mancini it came on Sept. 20, 2016, and it was also against the Boston Red Sox. He went 1-for-3 and homered in his second big league at-bat.
Mancini became the third player in Orioles history to homer in his major league debut, joining Larry Haney in 1966 and Jonathan Schoop in 2013. Before he did so, the last Oriole to homer for his first big league hit was Nick Markakis in 2006.
We now know it went quite well for Mullins, who went 3-for-4 in his debut Friday and became the first Oriole to ever debut with a three-hit game. That dates back over the long history of the team that moved to Baltimore in 1954.
Before Friday’s game I asked Mancini what advice he would give to Mullins about taking the field for the first time in the major leagues?
“It is a whirlwind when you get here,” he said. “You’ll be nervous all day leading up to it. But when the lights come on, you just go out and play. You have a lot of adrenaline but you have an easy time channeling it into your performance, I found. When you are up for those first few weeks it is a different feeling. A massive adrenaline rush that is hard to explain but it’s cool.”
Sometimes a rookie can get almost too much advice before that first game.
“You do, and it can be overwhelming. Everyone in the media wants to talk to you and a bunch of guys here will give advice. You take what you can. It is a whirlwind of a day and once the dust settles, things maybe start resonating a bit more. He’s a confident guy. He knows what he can do and I know he’ll do it,” Mancini correctly predicted even before batting practice yesterday.
He added that all players must have a certain confidence level to get to the majors, and they will really need that when they get here.
“You have to have that (confident) mentality from the second you get here. You can’t have any doubts when you come here. You are here for a reason. You have to believe you belong, and everyone can struggle with that at times. Trust your ability and know you belong here.”
Last night was the first time Adam Jones played anywhere other than center field for the Orioles and, obviously, the first time Mancini could look to his left and see anyone other than Jones next to him, except when Jones got an off day.
“To move over for a kid coming up, I think maybe Adam sees himself coming up back in the day and he wants to give Cedric the same treatment that he got. It is refreshing to see. Especially with all the trade-deadline hoopla and ‘Is Adam going to go?’ The most important thing to him is his family.
“You know, he made a decision to stay. A lot of because of his family and he loves Baltimore. I think anyone questions that decision is nuts. Look at what he’s done for this city. Hard for me to say I’ve been more honored to play with anyone more than Adam. Just everything he’s done for this town. And it’s a great city. They support us through thick and thin. You walk around and, obviously, this year hasn’t gone as we wanted. But they still love us. You don’t get that everywhere. Adam knows that. Some things are bigger than the game of baseball,” Mancini said.