Sometimes pro athletes do special things for kids and it’s great. Sometimes those players may be in and out their lives quickly and that’s fine too. They did something great and it usually has lasting impact.
Sometimes it goes further for the player and the kid. Sometimes much further.
To see evidence of that close to home, we need look no further than Trey Mancini and 13-year-old Orioles and Ravens superfan Mo Gaba. Their friendship is genuine and lasting. They’re pretty good together, as they were yesterday on a stage at a tailgate party near M&T Bank Stadium before the 49ers-Ravens game.
It was the Purple Tailgate that Adam Jones used to host. Mancini, the O’s team leader, has taken leadership of this event, too. And who is more worthy of some of the proceeds than a young man bravely battling cancer for the fourth time?
The kid that knows his sports, has an easy and amazing laugh, and has proven a few times his toughness and courage. If you’re having a bad day, listen to Mo laugh. Then get over yourself.
Mo can work a crowd. He did yesterday. Handed a microphone, he took over like a 30-year broadcasting vet.
A chilled and very wet crowd cheered wildly, following his lead.
“Go Ravens!” he said. They screamed. “I can’t hear you!” and “One more time,” he said.
Then, like a natural he said, “Here is Trey Mancini,” and passed the mic.
“I don’t know how to follow that up,” said Mancini. “I’ve wanted to do something for Mo for long time. We all know how special a kid he is. I really think he brings the city together. So happy to do this and thanks for braving the rain and cold today.”
Mancini and BMORE Around Town put on the tailgate at the Purple Tailgate Zone on West Ostend Street. Mancini wants to take what Jones started and keep it going.
“I would like it to (be annual),” Mancini said. “Obviously, Adam really taught me well and showed me how to do things the right way in the community. I know the Purple Tailgate has been in existence for a while and we didn’t want to see it go away. And I wanted to put my own little spin on it, because you can’t really fill Adam’s shoes. I’m really happy to do this and keep it going.”
He sure got off to a wonderful start in that regard Sunday. The Mo and Trey Show was solid.
By the way, the crowd was just over 1,200 on Sunday and raised around $25,000.
More from Trey: Mancini said yesterday he understands the club’s apparent decision to non-tender Jonathan Villar, even if he had a hope that he’d play with Villar again in 2020.
“It’s tough,” said Mancini. “He had such a good year. I think he’s possibly the most underrated player in baseball. I mean that. Whether he is with us or another team, he’ll really help out the team he is on this year. So, it’s one of the decisions you have to make when you are going through a rebuild.
“I think everybody realizes, (Mike) Elias and Sig (Mejdal), they know what they are doing. Look what they did in Houston. I think a lot of people here really trust the process. We have a very knowledgeable fanbase here. They know what it takes in a rebuild. It’s tough. Villar is such a good player, such a good guy to have around. He really rallies a team when we need to be rallied. You know if he is not with us, we’ll definitely miss that. But the fans should know that every decision that is made is for the good of the organization in the long haul. I’d love Villar to still be on our team next year, for sure though.”
Mancini was asked Sunday about Dylan Bundy trade rumors.
“That is just part of baseball unfortunately,” Mancini said. There will always be trade rumors. There will always be moving parts. Wherever you are, it’s your job to rally the troops and do your best for that team. Like with Villar, I hope Dylan is with us next year. When we get to spring training, that will be the group we go into the season with. Then you go from there and move forward,” he said.
Mancini repeated again Sunday that he does not expect to be traded.
“I really don’t think so,” he said. “I feel very similarly to how I did at the All-Star break this year. And I’m pretty confident that I’m going to stay. I’d like to stay obviously. It’s out of my control, but I like my chances of staying.”
Mancini also said that to this point there have been no talks about a contract extension between him and the team.
“No. No. I haven’t heard anything, so no there hasn’t been,” he said.