Joe Mantiply, a Great Example of Perseverance, Is Now an All-Star

Joe Mantiply
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Joe Mantiply Perseveres, Is Now an All-Star

PHOENIX, July 10 — It began with the birth of his second daughter and continued to his first Opening Day on a major league roster. And it didn’t stop there — first major league win. First major league save. And now…his first All-Star appearance. The magical year of 2022 continued for Arizona Diamondbacks left-handed reliever Joe Mantiply, who will represent the team at the 92nd Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 19 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Not bad for a guy who did not appear on a major league roster on Opening Day until the (in baseball years) ripe old age of 31. Or a guy two teams gave up on. “It hasn’t been easy. He has persevered through being DFAed, and traded, and finally signed with the Diamondbacks,” his father, David Mantiply, said. “I want to give a lot of credit to (Diamondbacks manager) Torey Lovullo, because he believed in him. And as a manager, for Joe, that meant tons.”

Perseverance Pays Off for Joe Mantiply

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Joe was sent to Triple-A to start 2021, but Lovullo told him to go down there and work hard, confidently assuring him that he’d be back. Mid-May, that happened, and he’s — apart from a few rough games here and there — been phenomenal. There were times, as with any normal human being, where Joe was discouraged and almost ready to give up. “He called me at times where he said, ‘I’ve got a degree. I can go do something and support my family doing other things. I’m not sure this is what…’ and I said Joe, take a step back.

“Think about it, you’ve got a lot invested in this so far. You’ve put a lot into it, and you’re good enough. You just need to refocus and keep believing, because we believe in you, we’re supporting you, we’ll do whatever you want us to do. Keep fighting, keep struggling because you’re good enough, and you belong. (If) you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll show that. And I think last year, he proved that he was good enough and that he belonged, and he proved it to himself more than anything. We already knew. He had to prove to himself that he was good enough, and he did. This year he’s just taken off.”

Take off he has. Joe has pitched in 35 games so far, and in 32 of them, he’s held his opponents scoreless. That is a 91.4% scoreless outing percentage — tops in the National League among players on active rosters with 20 or more appearances. But, despite his stellar first half, there was still some doubt as to whether he’d be selected. After all, he’s a middle reliever. With so few relievers chosen each year, those spots typically go to closers or, occasionally, setup men.

Hearing the News

The suspense ended slightly before noon Sunday. Lovullo called a clubhouse meeting to announce to the team that Joe had made it. His teammates love him, so it was no surprise to hear the clubhouse explode in celebratory yells, applause, and hugs.

Shortly afterwards, Joe facetimed his wife, Ella, with the news. “He facetimed me,” she beamed. “I was getting the girls ready. He told me we’re gonna have to change our All-Star Break plans and head to L.A. I got tearful. It was very overwhelming.”

In a case of tremendously fortunate timing, David and Trenace — Joe’s mother — were in town from Virginia to watch Joe play. When they heard the news, they were, according to Trenace, “Ecstatic. We were very thankful that this opportunity came his way. Joseph (is a) hardworking young man, good father. Good husband. He’s been a good kid. We haven’t had any problems.”

David also said that he felt ecstatic, adding, “I gotta tell you, I was so hopeful, almost to a point where if they don’t pick him, they’re crazy. Because of his numbers this year…he’s been so good. So anyway, I was very pleased and very ecstatic. My phone started blowing up when it was announced East Coast time. So everybody back home has been blowing my phone up. And it’s been fun to text back and forth. Anyway, we’re just thrilled for him because he’s worked so hard for this.”

Change in Vacation Plans

Joe and Ella were going to take a vacation to San Diego — where the Diamondbacks will conclude their first half Sunday — over the All-Star Break. But Ella had no problem changing the travel destination to Los Angeles. “Definitely not,” she chuckled. “I’d do anything for him,” she said with a huge grin.

Not many pitchers who were sent to Triple-A at the age of 30 would have even been on a major league roster a year later, let alone been an All-Star. But Joe didn’t give up, and it has paid off more abundantly than anyone could have imagined. Ella described Joe’s attitude and his career with one word: perseverance. “He’s stayed positive and has always worked hard. It’s just unbelievable. Unbelievable.”

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Players/managers mentioned:

Joe Mantiply, Torey Lovullo