Understated Mancini takes after father

June 15th, 2017

BALTIMORE -- When was a kid, he told his father, Tony, that he wanted to be a professional baseball player. Despite how difficult that path can be, there was no doubt in Tony's mind that it could happen.

"[My parents] thought it was awesome," Mancini said. "I think they were kind of like me, someone's got to make the Major Leagues. You know, there's a 4-year-old right now that's going to make the Major Leagues one day. So why not me?"

Growing up, Mancini lived just 30 minutes from Disney World, which is where the family would always go out to dinner for Father's Day. But this year, the family will be going out in Baltimore, after Tony spends his Father's Day watching his son play at Camden Yards.

:: Father's Day 2017 ::

Between the ages of 3 and 5, Mancini would spend the majority of weekends at Disney. When he wasn't at the park, Mancini was outside playing catch with his father. Although Tony was a doctor and did not always have a lot of spare time, any free second went to playing with and supporting Mancini in any way he could.

"When I was 3, I would have him throw me a ball and wouldn't let him go inside until I caught it," Mancini said. "It would take like an hour at times. But yeah, he would always do whatever it took to help me accomplish my dreams."

The outfielder has a lot of baseball memories that he has shared with his father, but the one that sticks out most to him is from when he was just 5 or 6 years old, playing T-ball.

"We had like 100-foot fields, so we could actually hit home runs at the time," Mancini said. "And I remember hitting my first home run of my life and I remember my parents behind home plate with their arms up. You know, they were really happy. I just remember seeing them as I was rounding the bases. It was awesome."

Not only did his parents support him in the bleachers, but, as many parents do, they also made a lot of sacrifices for him to be able to pursue baseball as a career that he has not forgotten.

"They sacrificed a lot for me," Mancini said. "There were probably some cool vacations that we could've gone on and stuff but we were staying at Best Westerns in the middle of nowhere for baseball tournaments. Stuff like that I definitely don't take for granted."

The closeness that Mancini had with his father has not gone away. Father and son talk at least once each week, and the humility Tony has always had has never changed. Tony has always stressed a team-first mindset that Mancini has carried with him throughout his baseball career.

Last week, in a game against the Pirates, Mancini had a pinch-hit, game-tying home run in the ninth inning before hitting a walk-off home run in extras. The slugger heard from his dad after the game, but the praise was not on his individual performance, but the team's success.

"He texted me and was like, 'Great job,'" Mancini said. "He was proud, but he was like, 'Good job contributing to a win,' is pretty much what he said. He's a pretty understated guy, just like me."