Awarded by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA), this esteemed award honors active players who demonstrate a passion for the game and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of baseball.
Tonight, Mancini will be presented his award by Orioles Hall of Famer Al Bumbry. Bumbry was the 1973 American League Rookie of the Year and was named a 1980 All-Star in his 13 years with the club. Bumbry played on O’s teams that won four AL East titles and the 1983 World Series.
“Means a lot,” Mancini said this afternoon. “I was very honored when I heard I was our team recipient. Excited to accept it tonight. Every year I have been in the organization Jonesy (Adam Jones) had won it. So it’s cool to win the award and try and follow in his footsteps in that regard. He played the game so hard and never took it for granted. He loves playing and that is how I always aspire to be.”
Mancini surely exemplifies hustle when he runs out grounders and grinds out an at-bat even when his club is losing and sometimes by big margins late in games.
“It can be tough and we all sometimes are tempted to not run a ball out. But at the end of the day, we are so incredibly lucky to be here and do what we do. I love coming to work with these guys every day. We should all be very thankful for where we are,” he said.
In 136 games, Mancini, is batting .278/.351/.575 with 31 doubles, two triples, 30 homers, 77 RBIs and an OPS of .866. He is one of 15 players in MLB and seven in the AL with at least 30 doubles and homers.
Mancini said it has not been hard for the Orioles to keep morale up on the team even while being 51 games under .500.
“When you are in a situation like we are, it’s the first year of a rebuild. We have so many guys in this locker room that are kind of showcasing themselves to show they belong. I think that is enough motivation as is. We all come here and everyone plays hard every day. If you don’t come here expecting to win and play 100 percent every day, you should probably find another profession. At this level you will definitely get exposed if your whole heart and soul is not into this.”
And Mancini added that the team’s hustle and energy level remains high this late in the season.
“It’s good. Honestly, sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s Sept. 10 today. It doesn’t feel like there are only 19 days left in the season and that’s a good thing. And we have, what, 35 guys here now too. A lot of guys trying to show what they can do and that want to stay and be here a long time. It’s a great opportunity right now here and so everyone has great energy. That brings it out of people,” Mancini said.