(Busch Stadium) The homecomings continue for the second consecutive series, as Stephen Piscotty becomes the latest former St. Louis Cardinal to return and face his original team.
“We came in the same way I remember coming in,” Piscotty said. “It’s pretty weird, I’ll be honest, but it’s fun.”
Accompanied by family, Piscotty enjoyed an off-day around town yesterday playing golf, enjoying seafood at Peacemaker Lobster and Crab, and then Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard for dessert. The full contingent will be at the ballpark for tonight’s game.
“It’s kind of their old stomping grounds too,” Piscotty said.
The Cardinals traded Piscotty to Oakland on December 14, 2017 in exchange for then minor leaguer Yairo Munoz and infield prospect Max Schrock. One of the mitigating factors in the trade was to allow for Stephen to return to the Bay area to be close to his mother, Gretchen, who was battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“That trade meant the world,” Piscotty said. “Going through kind of what we did as a family, I couldn’t imagine being 2000 miles away from that. I felt like the trade in itself was unique and hopefully sets a precedent for in the future, you don’t hope that things happen but if they do maybe teams can weigh that into consideration. I felt incredibly grateful to both organizations. It just meant the world to me and my family, especially to my mom.
“It wasn’t easy. I talked about it, it was bittersweet because my mom loved coming here. She loved to watch me and this was kind of all I knew as a professional, so it was a little bittersweet. But the value of being home, you just couldn’t put a number on that. It was really important.”
Despite the emotions from off the field, Piscotty put up career highs in doubles (41), home runs (27), runs batted in (88), and extra base hits (68) in 151 games with Oakland last year.
“I think every deal you make, you reflect on but at the time there were a lot of moving parts going on—not only in his personal life but just with our club,” Cardinals Team President John Mozeliak said the ‘what if’ of the deal. “I would say this, it’s always best when you don’t have to make trades. It’s always best when you can keep players that come through your system, but unfortunately the type of business we’re in, it doesn’t always happen.”
Cardinal fans continued to show their support for Piscotty after the trade, especially after Gretchen lost the battle with her disease in May of last year.
“That was really special. Obviously, it’s talked about all throughout the country–this fan base is really special,” Piscotty said. “I felt their love on the West coast and I felt like they were following me and I was following them as well. Just really, really special. To have the love from both organizations, it’s really humbling. I’m just very thankful for it.”
“I don’t know, I’m just going to kind of go into and see what happens,” Piscotty said. “I’m just excited to be here, be in this ballpark and see these guys. All these familiar faces, it’s pretty special. I’ve been looking forward to this trip for a while.”
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com