In what he’s described as a “bittersweet” last couple of days, hearing himself introduced as “former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder” brought a small chuckle from Stephen Piscotty.
“That does sound weird,” he said.
Officially traded on Thursday afternoon from St. Louis to Oakland, Piscotty shared he kept an eye on the Winter Meetings and was in regular contact with his agent about the potential of being moved, especially as the rumors of the Cardinals acquiring Marcell Ozuna heated up.
“It’s definitely been a bit of a roller coaster,” said Piscotty. “Deeper into the meetings, it looked like Oakland was pretty interested. When Ozuna went through, then it was kind of green-lighted so I was following along. It was a good place to end up. Sad to leave for sure, but to get traded–that’s the one place I’d most like to be, so it worked out.”
Growing up in nearby Pleasanton, CA, Piscotty rooted for the A’s as a boy and now gets to play for his hometown team. But drafted by St. Louis in 2012, the Cardinals are the only organization he’s played for–and one he cared about enough to sign a six-year contract extension with before the start of this past season.
As he had done at the end of the season, Stephen reiterated his position of not wanting to be traded.
“Definition of bittersweet and that’s just the truth,” said Piscotty. “I was definitely looking forward to having a rebound season and kind of show what I could do. I was hoping for that opportunity but it didn’t work out that way, but where I landed is a great spot. A great opportunity with a young club and I’m looking forward to that as well.”
While there has been a great deal of excitement over the acquisition of Ozuna, there has also been an impressive outpouring of well-wishes for Piscotty and his family–particularly from Cardinals fans on social media.
“It means, yeah–it means a lot and kind of get a little teary-eyed sometimes thinking about because it was such a fun ride, I’m really going to miss it,” said Piscotty. “I know this opportunity ahead is right for me, right for me, hopefully right for the Oakland A’s, but the fans–they’re behind me and we feel the love. The way they’ve treated me, my family, and the support they’ve given through all these challenging times, it’s hard to put into words and I just can’t thank them enough.”
Those challenging times centered around Gretchen Piscotty, Stephen’s mother, who was diagnosed with ALS this past May.
“Yeah, it’s going to be just a 20-minute drive down the road so that will be pretty neat,” smiled Piscotty. “It gives me a lot of comfort and peace of mind knowing that they’ll be in the stands often.”
photo credit: Bill Greenblatt/UPI