BALTIMORE — Heading into this bound-to-be emotional weekend series in the city where he came of age, beat cancer and inspired millions with his achievements on and off the field, Trey Mancini tried his best to “treat it as just another road trip, as much as you can.”
But by his own admission, Mancini knew that would never truly happen. So he braced himself for the emotions he knew would come, kept his schedule open. There are too many old friends to see, too much history to relive, too much that resonates between Mancini and Baltimore for his first days back to transpire ordinarily.
And of course, four baseball games to play.
“When I got traded, I put out in my statement that my relationship with the city transcends baseball and it always will,” Mancini said, standing at his locker in the visiting clubhouse at Camden Yards, adorned in Astro navy blue.
“It’s always gonna be a part of me and a place that I always hold near and dear in my heart.”
So it was Thursday, when Mancini returned to Baltimore as a visitor for the first time, starting at first base for the American League West champions. Roughly eight weeks after the trade that sent the then face of the Orioles’ franchise to Houston, Mancini touched down at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, thinking as he rode Maryland 295 north into the city that “this is a drive I’ve made…