Marcell Ozuna, the new St. Louis Cardinals outfielder, met the local fans for the first time Sunday at the team’s annual Winter Warm-Up event and relayed a story that will surely endear him to Cardinals fans for years to come.
And it might earn him some boos the next time he’s in Oakland.
As you might recall, Ozuna’s trade from the Miami Marlins to St. Louis was held in a bit of limbo during the Winter Meetings before it finally became official on both sides. Ozuna — who hit .312 with 37 homers and 124 RBIs last season — was just happy he landed in St. Louis and not the first place to which he thought he was getting traded to.
Here’s Ozuna, via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:
“The first thing I heard [was] they were going to trade me to the Oakland A’s,” Ozuna said. “I said, ‘God, please, leave me over here.’ Then I heard they traded me to the Cardinals, and I said, ‘OK, thanks.'”
Ouch! What? No love for Rickey Henderson?
While the Oakland A’s haven’t been very good in recent years and their stadium is pretty much the worst in MLB, living and playing in the Bay Area isn’t bad. Still, St. Louis is a better fit for Ozuna and it gives him a chance to play more competitive baseball this year.
That’s another reason Ozuna says he’s happy to be in St. Louis. Check this quote, passed on from Jose de Jesus Ortiz’s column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“I’m happy to play for them because now you play for a reason,” Ozuna said. “You play for a good team that (goes) to the playoffs and those kinds of things. That team fights every time to make the playoffs, and I like it.”
In case you’re wondering: The A’s and Cardinals don’t play each other this season.
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