Reflecting on her whirlwind year, Perlman, who on Wednesday was named a host and content creator for the recently rebranded NBC Sports Edge platform and PointsBet, the official sports betting partner of NBC Sports, said being laid off from a job she loved was a minor setback in the grand scheme of things.
“It sounds kind of crazy, but my show getting canceled and me losing work for a little bit was such a blessing in disguise because I really don’t know how I would’ve managed to be at home and be with Trey through a really tough time and also do a show,” Perlman said in a phone interview. “It would’ve been really hectic and difficult.”
Perlman, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., met Mancini in 2017, when she started as a digital host for MASN’s Orioles and Nationals coverage during his rookie year. They began dating shortly after she left MASN to join “The Daily Line” that August.
Less than six months into their relationship, Mancini underwent an endoscopy and colonoscopy in Florida after a couple of routine blood tests during spring training revealed his iron levels were low. Perlman was by Mancini’s side when he woke up from the procedure and the doctor told him they found a malignant tumor in his colon. He underwent surgery six days later.
Mancini, 28, whose parents are in Florida, lived with Perlman in her D.C. apartment and started chemotherapy treatments every other Monday in mid-April at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Perlman, 26, couldn’t accompany Mancini to most of his appointments because of coronavirus protocols, but she helped take care of him at home over the next six months.
“I can’t say enough about Sara and what she did for me then and what she continues to do for me,” Mancini, who missed the entire shortened 2020 season, recently told the Athletic. “I would think that just about any other person in the world would’ve maybe had a nervous breakdown at some point or complained or had a difficult time day-in, day-out.”
Perlman said Mancini was a “super easy” patient who rarely complained and was every bit as supportive of her during a difficult year.
“I remember the day I got the call that the show wasn’t coming back,” Perlman said. “He came in and gave me a big hug and said, ‘I promise, it’s fine. You’re going to get a job right away.’ He was so supportive of me and showed me the mind-set to be really positive and that everything was going to work out for the better.”
Eventually, it did. Around the same time Mancini finished his final treatment in September, Perlman’s agent contacted her with several freelance opportunities. Over the next few months, she co-hosted Fox Sports’s betting-focused program, “Talk the Line,” with Jason McIntyre and Geoff Schwartz and hosted Radio.com’s “Countdown to Kickoff” during the NFL playoffs.
Perlman said she was excited when NBC Sports offered her a position last month to help lead its push into the sports betting space. NBC Sports Edge was formerly known as Rotoworld, an established resource for fantasy sports information for nearly 20 years. As part of its rebrand, the site will feature more sports betting content, with Perlman among its first group of analysts. Perlman will also produce daily content for PointsBet, an Australia-based online sportsbook now available in six states.
For at least the next six months, Perlman will work remotely from Florida before relocating to Stamford, Conn. She was at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., on Sunday when Mancini received a standing ovation before his first spring training at-bat. He promptly singled, bringing her to tears.
On Monday, Tim Murray, Perlman’s former co-host on “The Daily Line” and host of a nightly show for the Vegas Stats & Information Network, tweeted a photo of a $20 bet he placed on Mancini to lead Major League Baseball in home runs this season. It would pay a cool $6,000.
“I texted Tim back and said, ‘Let’s freakin’ go!’ ” Perlman said with a laugh. “I showed Trey [on Monday] night, and he was cracking up. I said, ‘No pressure, but there’s some money riding on you now.’ I’m going to find some ways to put some bets on Trey. They’re underrating him. I’m definitely biased, but I think there’s a ton of value there.”
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