Trey Mancini is continuing the tradition of a former teammate, but as Mancini says, he’s putting his own spin on it.
Adam Jones, who played for the Orioles from 2008-2018, hosted the #PurpleTailgate along with BMORE Around Town before a Ravens home game every year from 2013-2018. The tailgate raised money for local organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Baltimore.
This year, Mancini will host the event with BMORE Around Town ahead of the Ravens’ game against the San Francisco 49ers Dec. 1. The tailgate will run from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Stadium Square (W. Ostend Street and Leadenhall Street). Tickets are available at bmorearoundtown.com, and proceeds benefit the family of Mo Gaba and the Kamryn Lambert Foundation.
For Mancini, following in Jones’ footsteps just felt right.
“Baltimore means so much to me. I have family from around the area. I’ve just come to love the city, especially playing with Adam for two-plus years in Baltimore,” Mancini said on Glenn Clark Radio Nov. 29. “He’s the one that started the Purple Tailgate, which got the ball rolling on that. He did some absolutely incredible things for the Boys and Girls Clubs. We wanted to put our little spin on it because you can never fill Adam’s shoes, obviously, but we wanted to do something for a cause that meant a lot to us.”
Gaba, a 13-year-old Baltimore sports fan, has battled cancer throughout his life. He was first diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer, when he was 9 months old, and he lost his vision when he was a year old.
Sports fans in the area first became aware of Gaba, a native of Glen Burnie, Md., when he called into The Scott Garceau Show, an afternoon drive-time talk show on 105.7 The Fan, in 2015. If listeners catch a call from Gaba, they’ll hear him discuss his beloved Orioles and Ravens with an infectious voice and laugh.
In recent years, Gaba has developed friendships with local athletes, including Mancini, who is inspired by Gaba.
“It’s hard unless you’ve met him or really talked to him to know how much weight he carries in the city of Baltimore because he has every reason to not be cheerful every day,” Mancini said. “He just lives every day like it’s his last and he attacks it. He has such a positive attitude all the time. That’s rubbed off on me so much.
“It puts so many things in perspective. Anything that all of us go through seems minor compared to what Mo goes through. He just does not complain, doesn’t feel sorry for himself and he attacks each day. It’s so inspiring. It rubs off on you when you meet him, it really does.”
As for the tailgate itself Dec. 1, attendees will have a variety of beer, soda and food choices; Mancini said he enjoys Chicago-style hot dogs, chili, pulled pork sandwiches and ribs when he’s tailgating before a football game. One thing Mancini won’t be chowing down on before the Ravens take on the 49ers? Crab cakes.
“Everybody from Baltimore gives me a hard time for that,” Mancini said. “My whole family loves it, but for some reason I just do not like seafood at all. Crab cakes are at the top of the list that I don’t like, to tell you the truth. I hate to say it, but I can’t lie about that.”
Mancini also touched on the following topics …
On why the Orioles played so hard throughout the 2019 season even as the losses piled up and why the rebuild is on the right track:
“I think at the end of the day if you can look in the mirror and know you gave your best effort regardless of what your record is or your playoff aspirations are, that’s our job. We’re Major League Baseball players, so we go out there and try to win games. Everybody bought into that mindset. Brandon Hyde did such a good job of keeping us focused and keeping that attitude up throughout the year to where we then take for granted where we were. We’re all so lucky to be able to do what we do. Nobody takes that for granted. The tune of the team this year really sets the tone for the future, too, and I think it was a great one. I’m thinking everyone will notice we’re going to make some strides next year and the year after that until we’re really competing for a division title again. I think it can happen sooner than a lot of people think.”
On the emergence of outfielder Anthony Santander, who hit .261/.297/.476 with 20 home runs in 2019:
“I remember when we got him in the Rule 5 Draft. I think it was 2017 in spring training was his first time with us. Just on physical appearance alone, he’s just such a stud. He has all the tools you can imagine. And yeah, I could see it coming. I could see his stuff playing at the majors, and it obviously did. He’s such a good player, such a solid player and a really good defensive outfielder. You see how big he is and you don’t realize how well he can move. That dude moves really well. He’s legit.”
On noticing John Means’ improved stuff in spring training ahead of the left-hander’s All-Star campaign in 2019:
“I traveled to a game in Port Charlotte against the Rays and he was pitching. I was asking somebody, I was like, ‘What did Means do this offseason?’ He was a completely different pitcher. He was throwing mid-90s with an absolutely disgusting changeup. He had one start the year before and was probably about 88-90 that game and the changeup was actually harder than it was this year, which probably wasn’t a good thing. He just made so many offseason adjustments and turned himself into a hell of a major-league pitcher.”
On meeting 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick Adley Rutschman in June:
“He took BP with us. I feel like he could be playing up there pretty soon with that swing he’s got. The minors are important for getting experience and everything, but he’s such a gifted player. He’s played in so many games. He’s played in some high-stakes games in college, too. I mean, his team won the College World Series I think his sophomore year. So yeah, he’s going to be playing at Camden Yards for a long time, and he’s an impressive kid. He carries himself so well. There’s no doubt he’s very well equipped to handle everything that comes with being the No. 1 overall pick. I didn’t really offer too much advice in that department just since I was an eighth-rounder and a mid-200s pick. I have zero idea what that’s like to be kind of the chosen one in the organization in a way.”
To hear more from Mancini, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox