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Trey Mancini is ready to become the veteran leader past Orioles were for him

Trey Mancini is ready to become the veteran leader past Orioles were for him

Trey Mancini’s first spring training doesn’t seem like it was just four years ago.

At Mancini’s first big league camp in 2016, the Orioles were contenders in the American League. Mancini was able to learn from Mark Trumbo, who led the league in home runs that year, team captain Adam Jones and Chris Davis, who had recently completed a 47-home run season. 

Mancini was 23 at the time. Now, he’s a seasoned veteran leader on an Orioles team once again expected to be one of, if not the, worst team in baseball.

That fact isn’t lost on Mancini, who will be just 28 years old when the Orioles start the 2020 season in late March. His role now is much different than the one he had under the previous Orioles regime.

“I know it’s my turn now to do the same for them, even though it seems like yesterday that was me,” Mancini said last week at an Orioles caravan event. “I definitely feel like it’s my time to be in that role and be there for guys that need advice and need help.”

Mancini, though, doesn’t necessarily look fondly on his first big league spring training. 

He started the spring 0-for-9 and, as he put it, was a “bull in a china shop.” 

“Every game, every at-bat, I was just swinging at everything,” Mancini said.

His desire to impress the coaching staff, and some of his major league counterparts, weighed too heavily on his mind. And with the Orioles hosting nearly 70 players in Florida, he understands the desire to want to stick out early on. 

“I remember Buck (Showalter) sitting me down when I had gotten reassigned to minor league camp and telling me that, ‘Enjoy it a little bit, not be so intense all the time,’” Mancini recalled. “That’s probably what I want to tell them too.”

Since 2017, when he took over as a full-time player, he’s certainly relaxed too. 

He slashed .291/.364/.535 last season and hit 35 home runs — a career high. He also had an OPS of .899 in a season where he played 57 games at first base, 93 in the outfield and 17 as a DH. But despite his career year, the Orioles remained in the basement. 

Mancini hasn’t seen much winning in Baltimore. In fact, he’s played just five games on a team with a winning record (2016) since he’s been a big leaguer. 

In his three seasons as an Oriole, the team has posted a combined 176-310 record — a winning percentage of just .362.

Now, in the midst of a franchise rebuild, there’s been an influx of youth to every roster across the franchise. For many younger players on the team, Mancini holds the same role that Jones, Davis and Trumbo held to him. 

But all of Mancini’s leadership and success on the field has come with trade rumors and whispers that have persisted since he joined the Orioles. 

“I think I’ve gotten better in my career of not listening to that, ever since I was in the minors there have always been trade rumors floating around,” Mancini said. “But it hasn’t happened yet...Really nothing that I thought twice about.”

So, for now, at the very least, Mancini remains in the black and orange for another season. And Mancini is ready 

“It’s great having a year under our belt,” Mancini said. “All of us have played together for a full year now, too. I’m really excited in seeing what strides we take this year.”

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Orioles reliever Paul Fry joins ‘The List’ to make the case for his favorite movie

Orioles reliever Paul Fry joins ‘The List’ to make the case for his favorite movie

With the world at a standstill due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there’s been plenty of time for off-beat debates on social media and within self-quarantined homes alike.

Orioles reliever Paul Fry joined D.C. Sports Live’s segment “The List” to make his pitch for one of the oldest debates in the book: the best move of all-time.

Fry argued for his favorite, “Pulp Fiction.” The 1994 crime drama starring John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson tops the list for Fry because even though “it’s a long movie [and] it’s confusing sometimes, but it keeps you interactive and I like it a lot.”

His choice went up against “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (Nick Ashooh), “The Neverending Story” (Wes Hall) and “The Notebook” (Alexa Shaw).

Which choice do you believe is the most deserving of the title of best movie of all time? Join the conversation on Twitter with @NBCSWashington and @DCSports_Live.

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Cal Ripken Jr. remembers the night he broke the MLB consecutive games record

Cal Ripken Jr. remembers the night he broke the MLB consecutive games record

The night Orioles legend and Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played record is etched into the memories of fans everywhere. Not just in Baltimore, but across baseball, fans remember Ripken's fourth inning home run, his lap around the stadium, and his moments with his family on the night he finally reached game number 2,131.

Those memories, of course, are also cherished by Ripken himself.

The man whose streak saved baseball joined ESPN's social platforms Tuesday night ahead of the network's airing of his big game. During the 30-minute interview, Ripken touched on a wide range of memories from that night and beyond.

In addition to discussing his big night, Ripken also wanted to introduce his brand new Twitter account. The Orioles star caved in to starting a social presence in order to promote the efforts of his foundation, named after his father, to help give back to people going hungry during issues stemming from the novel coronavirus.

Ripken his hoping their efforts can help #StrikeOutHunger, and hopes people will follow him on Twitter and help donate to the cause, something he dives in to more at the end of the interview.

Here are the most interesting moments touched on by the man whose name is synonymous with Baltimore.

On the chatter from fellow players during the 1995 season

"I don’t think there was really much chatter," Ripken explained. "I think everybody thought they were going to jinx it if they talked about it, like no-hitter, so nobody really talked about the streak...I tried to spend more time with the fans, but obviously there was more on my plate."

There was a lot going on that season for Ripken. In addition to the streak, he was also dealing with the repercussions of the previous season's strike. 

It was fellow Hall of Famer Paul Molitor who gave no. 8 some much-needed advice.

"As it got closer to the date, I remember Paul Molitor saying ‘just surrender to the process, enjoy it, let it go, have fun with it,’ and that was pretty good advice, because I have a controlling personality," Ripken continued. "I want to control things, I don’t want to let it affect my teammates, I want to keep things normal. That was pretty good advice, just go with the flow, let it happen and enjoy it."

On the morning of September 6, 1995

"Well I didn't get home until the middle of the night," Ripken said when asked about the night before and morning of his record-setting game. "We did some interviews after the record-tying game, 2130, which had a program all to itself. I got home late, obviously you’re not ready to go to sleep, but the next day was my daughter’s first day of school. So I got up and took her to school, dropped her off, that was how my day started. So again, you’re looking for the most normal things, you don’t want to do anything different than you’d done before.

Ripken was quick to emphasize how he didn't want to let the streak change how he approached his life.

"I wasn’t any more careful," he continued. "I didn’t do anything the whole time all the time the streak was going on, and Tim Kurkjian can attest to this. I didn’t stop playing basketball, I wasn’t safe in anything I did. Just try to live your life, and whatever happens, happens."

On the iconic home run he hit the inning before the game became official

"So I was ready on that 3-0 pitch," he said with a smile. He grooved a fastball, and I got every bit of it. It was one of those that feels really good off your bat, and you know it’s gone the second you hit it."

On the lap around the field

"People went nuts, it was a really great idea to do that," Ripken began on the unfolding of the 2,131 banners on the warehouse in right field. "I just kept saying 'thank you, thank you, thank you,' and everyone kept clapping, clapping, clapping. So when they pushed me around the ballpark I was thinking ‘let me do this real quick’ to get the game started again. But once you start it, running around the stadium, I couldn’t care less if the game ever started again.'

Kurkjian, one of the hosts of the pregame show Tuesday, shared a nugget after Ripken's story. 

The man of the hour had to be pushed out of the dugout by his teammates. He ran onto the field to begin his lap at exactly 9:31 p.m. or, as it's known in military time, 21:31.

On the baseball legends in attendance to watch him

“It’s one of those things where you get a chance to interact with them a little bit,” Ripken said when asked about Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Hank Aaron, and Joe DiMaggio - who played with Lou Gehrig - being at Camden Yards that night. “But as the game’s going on you’ve got some things to do. So I wish I would have had the chance to sit down with Hank or sit down with Joe D. a little bit more, but my job was to do the baseball thing. But I was very, very proud and very honored that they were there.”

On the moment shared with his dad

"If you remember, there was some question whether Dad was even going to come. When Dad was let go, he said ‘okay you don’t want me anymore, I’m not coming back.’ It’s sort of a stubborn, old-school view," Ripken remembered. "I always thought he was, but there was some doubt in my mind that he was going to come back. So he was up in my skybox at the time, and as the celebration was going on, I was looking around saying thank you to everyone I could see, and I did catch my dad’s eye."

The two couldn't speak during that moment, but the bond between father and son was enough for them to share everything they needed to.

"He wasn’t someone that would say I love you, and explain all his feelings towards you in a way. That was not who he was," Ripken said. "But in that moment where I caught his eye and pointed at him, there were 1,000 words that screamed in between him and I that was very meaningful, very powerful.

Ripken summed up his experience well early in the interview.

"As the spotlight shone on all of us, I wanted to play well," he said. "I wanted the team to play well. I wanted it to be meaningful."

For so many reasons for both legions of fans and Ripken himself, "meaningful" might be the best possible word to describe that perfect night at the ballpark.

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