Discover more from Bedtime Baseball
Trey Mancini (CHC #1)
Fight the good fight
Introduction (For the Grown Ups)
Tonight we have a story about Trey Mancini, his swing, and his comeback story. If this is your first time reading Bedtime Sports, (or you need a refresher) check out our "How To" post.
**This story talks about Trey's cancer diagnosis. Understanding that cancer affects many of our readers and their families, we have refrained from naming it in the story, and leave it up to the storyteller to fill in details if this is something they want to share with their kids. If you choose to use this story as an opportunity to talk with your child about cancer, this resource may be helpful.**
Questions in italics are designed to spark a conversation. Encourage your audience to participate, but also feel free to answer the questions yourself and incorporate answers into the story.
The man dancing emoji (🕺) indicates a section where you can add kinetic elements to the story. Mime an action and encourage your audience to join in.
Happy story telling!
The Story: Trey Mancini's Sweet Swing
How a sweet swinger keeps swinging
(5 minute read)
Hitting a baseball involves a lot of moving parts.
Don’t believe me?
🕺🕺Here - grab an imaginary bat. What type of wood is your imaginary bat? What color is it? Ok - put it up on your shoulder - is it heavy? Now, take a swing.🕺🕺
What body parts did you move in order to swing your (pretend) bat?
To put together a good swing, a hitter has to decide how close they stand to the plate, if their legs are spread wide or narrow, if they take a big step to swing, or just a little one. They have to figure out if they hold the bat upright, or if it hangs over their shoulder. When they pull their hands through the strike zone, their hips and shoulders follow. When everything is working right, each of these different parts come together into a sweet swing.
Trey Mancini has a sweet swing. It helped him become one of the best hitters in baseball. The way he steps, moves his shoulders, and pulls his arms through the zone all are part of that sweet, sweet swing.
Look at what happens when Trey swings
If you were a real baseball nerd, you would look at this chart and say (use your nerd voice here) “He barrels the ball at a perfect launch angle with elite exit velocity.” If you were an average fan, you might say he hits the ball with the right part of the bat, in the right direction, with a lot of power. And even if you had never seen baseball before, it’s easy to see that when Trey swings, the ball flies. Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!
To get that sweet swing, Trey has a lot of help, and does a lot of work. After at-bats, he will check in with teammates and coaches, asking them if they saw something that looked good, or something he needs to work on.
Who do you ask for help when you’re trying to get better at something?
Before games he’ll watch videos of himself to see what is working, and what looks wrong, and then practice his swing over and over. He tries to make the perfect swing part of his muscle memory, something he doesn’t need to think about when he’s getting ready to take a pitch. Because of all this work, and practice, and asking for advice and adjusting - when he steps into the box to hit he can focus on the pitcher, the pitch, and swinging a sweet swing. In comes a pitch, and thwack!
Trey works really hard on his swing. What’s something you’re working on really hard right now?
Our bodies are just like Trey's sweet swing. We have a hundred different moving parts that all need to work together to make sure everything is just right. Our lungs bring in new air, our heart pumps blood, and our blood vessels carry it all around our body. If even one little piece of our body gets a little off track, we can start to feel worn down.
When was the last time your body didn’t feel right? What did you feel like?
In the spring of 2020, Trey wasn’t feeling right. Every part of his swing was moving the way he wanted it - the feet, the hips, the hands, but after just a couple of swings he would be so tired. Maybe this was what it was like to get older, he thought. Maybe he was still getting over the flu.
Do you remember how Trey would get help when his swing didn’t feel right? Just like he had coaches, teammates, and video to help when his swing felt off, the Orioles also had doctors and tests to help Trey when his body felt off. In fact, they had Trey see a doctor right when he showed up to practice, and take a couple tests.
What type of tests did you take the last time you went to the Doctor's office?
When the doctors looked at Trey’s tests they discovered that a part of Trey’s body called his Colon was not working like it was supposed to. Trey was going to need all of his energy and time focused on getting his body right again. There would be no baseball for Trey in 2020.
That year was full of doctor visits, resting, and lots of medicine. Trey missed baseball like crazy, and he missed feeling normal even more. He hated how his medicine tasted and how it made him feel. But he knew that getting his body back to feeling strong would require him to follow his doctors’ instructions, so he stuck with it.
Has your doctor ever asked you to do something you didn’t want to do? Why did you do it?
Just like with his swing, Trey didn’t have to do this all alone. His teammates would send him messages and check in to make sure he was ok. His parents helped him get to appointments, and his girlfriend Sara helped take care of him when he was too tired or weak to help himself. Even his dog Olympia helped out with exercises
(Good dog, Olympia)
Not everyone gets better from what was making Trey so sick, but Trey was lucky, and strong, and slowly, with the help of his medicine, his friends, and his own body, Trey got better. After missing a whole year of baseball, Trey and his sweet swing were back. Thwack, Thwack, Thwack!
There are a lot of things that Trey learned from his journey to get better. But one of those things is a question he now asks everyone.
Have you been to see your doctor for a physical this year?
For kids - doctors check to make sure you’re growing the way you’re supposed to be, getting the shots you need, and testing things like your ears, and eye’s and blood to make sure everything is ok. A physical with his doctor is what caught what was making Trey sick and helped him get better. For you, a doctor’s visit can help catch if anything is wrong, or just help you to continue to grow up healthy.
How do you feel before a doctor’s visit? How about after?
I’m glad you’ve been to a doctor this year. But Trey actually doesn’t ask this question to a lot of kids. Most kids need to go see the doctor every year, so Trey doesn’t have to check with them. To ask the question that Trey really wants to ask everyone, he needs your help.
Who is reading this story to you?
Say their name. Then, you need to ask them if they have been to see their doctor for a physical this year.
Go ahead! Ask them!
What did they say?
If they said yes, give them a big hug, and make them promise they’ll go next year too.
If they said no…well, you better give them a hug anyway, and then ask them when they plan to go!
Trey wants everyone to see their doctor at least once a year, to check and make sure every little thing is working just the way it is supposed to. Not all of us have the sweet swing of a professional baseball player, but we all have important things to do, and people to spend time with. We need our bodies working right, and seeing a doctor helps us keep them that way. I’m going to make sure to see the doctor every year so that I can keep spending time with you, sport.
Sources and Videos
Trey Mancini tells his own story at the beginning of his treatment in the Player's Tribune.
ESPN Feature Kevin Van Valkenburg by on Trey's battle with cancer, path through Chemo, and eventual return to “the bigs.”
Trey is ranked in the top five in many of the lists in this David Adler piece, and provided the inspiration for the spray chart.
Trey and David Laurila talk about Trey’s swing over at Fangraphs
Do you want to see some sweet swings? Check out Trey at the 2021 Home Run Derby
Art & Illustrations
Trey Mancini Swinging by Ferrajito
Trey Mancini #16 Bats Ready by HalfCourt79
Colorectal Cancer Alliance Trey Mancini Collector Card created by DINK (aka Dom Czepiga) Check out the story about their creation at the first link, and purchase a card from DINK's Store.
The “Sweet Spot” is a special place on the bat where if you hit the ball, it transfers the most power to the ball and the least vibration to your hands. (Check out this cool video explaining the Sweet Spot with a really neat experiment showing you how to find the sweet spot on your bat!)
This year, Trey Mancini has the second highest Sweet-spot rate of any batter in baseball at 48.4%. That means that of all the balls that he hits, 48.4%, or almost half, were hit off the sweet spot of his bat.
Do you think that having a high sweet spot rate make you a good hitter?
How do you think people measure the sweet spot rate?
Velocity is the scientific word for speed, and specifically, means speed in a specific direction. In baseball, exit velocity measures how fast a ball is traveling when it leaves a batters bat
"He barrels the ball at a perfect launch angle with elite exit velocity
Physical means relating to the body (instead of the mind, or something else) When we go to the doctor for just a regular check up, sometimes it is called a physical because they are checking up on our bodies.
"A physical with his doctor is what caught what was making Trey sick and helped him get better."
The Colon is the main part of the large intestine, and plays an important role in pulling water from undigested food and turning it into poop.
"When the doctors looked at Trey’s tests they discovered that a part of Trey’s body called his Colon had gotten really out of synch"
When he was sick, Trey talked to a teammate almost every day, and lots of times those conversations helped him feel just a little bit better. Can you think of someone who might be sick or lonely? Here is what the DALLE-2 AI thought a thinking of you card should look like. I bet you can do better! If you want to share, tag @bedtimesports
More Story Ideas
How have you been impacted by an injury or poor health?
How has your family and extended family been impacted by injury or poor health?
How have you been able to support someone as they try and recover from an injury or sickness?