Former Cardinal Tyler O'Neill gets emotional in St. Louis return

The former Cardinal outfielder got emotional when speaking to reporters in his first game back in St. Louis.
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox v St. Louis Cardinals / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages

Tyler O'Neill's final few seasons in St. Louis weren't all that glamorous. He fell from being a top-7 MVP candidate to an average offensive player who butted heads with the coaching staff from time to time. O'Neill's final two seasons in St. Louis were speckled with injuries, and he wasn't able to return to his peak form while with the Cardinals.

O'Neill was traded this past offseason to Boston for a pair of minor-league pitching prospects. A change of scenery was necessary for both parties, and Boston got themselves a young corner outfielder with serious power potential. That trade and O'Neill's performance to start the season caused St. Louis fans to bemoan another "one that got away" in a trade by John Mozeliak.

While O'Neill has cooled off since his torrid start to the season, but he is still slashing .254/.365/.540 with 10 home runs and 16 RBIs for a wRC+ of 146. O'Neill's 31.8% K rate is the highest of his career, and he has even missed a few games due to injury this year just two months into the season. His success was a bit expected when playing in Fenway. Right-handed batters typically play well there offensively, and his plus defense would help take away runs from the Green Monster.

Tyler O'Neill returned to St. Louis for the first time since being traded, and he spoke highly of his time with the Cardinals.

"St. Louis is awesome. Just thinking about it all almost makes me a little emotional. Love the time I spent here. It was an awesome experience for me, and I'll never forget that run we went on in (2021). Hopefully it's a positive reception out there. I don't know how it's going to look."

Tyler O'Neill

O'Neill was welcomed back quite positively during Friday night's game. Fans gave him a rousing standing ovation, a common practice when alumni return to Busch Stadium. He is deserving of said response given his dedication to his craft and his stellar performance in 2021.

O'Neill is taking a bit of a different approach than his quotes during the offseason about his trade. When speaking with Foul Territory, O'Neill said that his dispute with former manager Oli Marmol left a bit of a gap in the relationship between the two.

At this point, it's refreshing to see Cardinal fans want Tyler to succeed. After a dispute with his manager and cryptic quotes by said leader, fans questioned O'Neill's commitment to the team. A response like one Friday night showed fans' appreciation and respect for the muscular outfielder.