The AL Cy Young Award candidate reminisced on his background and his time as a Mountaineer in recent interview
Alek Manoah is off to a fantastic start to his Major League Baseball career.
The former Mountaineer All-American is 17-4 with an impressive 2.93 ERA through his first 33 starts in the big leagues.
He is also getting major consideration for the AL Cy Young Award.
Manoah recently joined former MLB Network host Chris Rose, who is now part of the popular Jomboy Media outlet, on the latest episode of The Chris Rose Rotation.
While Manoah wouldn’t fully commit to the likelihood that he will become an American League all-star this summer, there was plenty of other good tidbits about himself and his career that he did share.
Manoah the Meditator
The big right-hander can be one of the fiercest competitors when he’s on the mound. When he’s off the field, though, he tries to stay as calm and positive-thinking as possible.
One way he does that is through meditation. His current meditation spot? A float tank.
“It’s like a big tank filled with like salt water. And then you get kind of just get in there and literally float on the salt water,” Manoah told Rose. “And then you kind of just let your body just completely relax. And then when you get out of there, it literally feels like you slept 24 hours straight.”
Manoah spends up to an hour in this pitch-black, enclosed environment aimed at keeping him calm.
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Manoah the Masher
The same guy who is making a living and making a name for himself on the pitcher’s mound originally thought his ticket to The Show was with his bat.
Manoah described himself as a hitter with more “gap-to-gap power than over-the-fence power.”
He added that he collected more singles and doubles in high school, where he hit for a .492 average as a junior.
His goal was to be a two-way player at WVU, which he tried to do for two seasons.
Manoah the Mountaineer
The South Dade Senior High School product had a total of 20 at-bats during his college career. His lone collegiate hit came during his sophomore year in 2018.
He put down the bat after that. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Manoah described his introduction to West Virginia, and his new home for three years, in this way:
“Well, I kind of knew going into it it was going to be a really big culture shock. And I thought that was going to be good for me,” Manoah told Rose. “Getting to West Virginia was kind of like more [calm]. The people there were a lot nicer [than in Miami].”
While Manoah can still name you his favorite downtown destinations in Morgantown, it was the people that were on his mind during his sit-down with Rose.
“The people there are amazing. A blue-collar state. Everybody just works hard and loves their Mountaineers,” he said.
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Manoah strikes out Miggy
“Me and my brother, we always just wanted to do whatever we could do to get to the big leagues,” Manoah said. “Growing up, we always dreamed of … Like I dreamed of being Barry Bonds, and like Sammy Sosa, and Miguel Cabrera, and Justin Verlander.”
Born just outside of Miami in the late 1990s, Manoah’s formative years coincided with Miguel Cabrera’s five-year stint with the Florida Marlins.
Fast forward to 2021, Manoah was about to make the 14th start of his big league career.
Who was in the batter’s box? One of his boyhood idols.
“I stood right next to the rubber, and I kind of just looked at him, and looked at me and kind of gave me just a head nod. I gave him a head nod, and kind of a little smile,” Manoah told Rose. “Kind of took that first little initial moment. Kind of just enjoyed it, and then I was like the only thing that’s going to make this story cooler is if I give up a home run to him or I strike him out. So, we went with the strikeout.”
In fact, Manoah struck his idol out three times that day, part of an eight-strikeout performance in a no-decision.
“I wasn’t trying to,” Manoah said with a laugh. “I was. But I wasn’t.”
Click here to watch all of the interview with Manoah, as he further discusses his career.