Today's card has the only player from the 2016 Topps Series One Cubs team set that is no longer with the team (now that Chris Coghlan is back). Three time All-Star Starlin Castro was the reigning longest tenured Cub until he was traded to the New York Yankees in December 2015.
|2016 Topps #212 Starlin Castro|
Castro's card is also the only horizontally oriented one in the Series One Cubs team set. Everybody knows what a fan I am of those types of cards, however, this one doesn't wow me. I'm ok with the design in general but here, the cloudy corners are a distraction from an otherwise nice photo and the name plate covers the sliding opponent. I definitely prefer the parallels to the base cards for this set design. Using a nice honeycomb design to differentiate the colored parallels instead of the smoky/cloudy corners is a definite improvement.
I am intrigued by the play though. It appears that Castro is in the midst of turning a double play but you don't often see a head first slide by the lead runner. With the runner that close, Castro firmly on the ground with the ball still in hand, did he successfully turn two? Or is this not a DP and there's more to the play than meets the eye? Enquiring minds want to know!
A possible clue to finding the source photo is the baserunner's name on the back of his helmet, Belt. That would be Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants. I did see the Cubs play the Giants last August at Wrigley Field, but with the giant Yahoo! billboard/sign in the background, this definitely isn't the Friendly Confines.
|Photo by Ezra Shaw|
This was actually one of the easier source photos to find with so much information already known. In fact, over at Getty Images, the search "2015 Starlin Castro Brandon Belt" only yielded two results with the only other option taken just a split second later in this sequence.
According to the caption:
"SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 26: Starlin Castro #13 of the Chicago Cubs turns a double play as Brandon Belt #9 of the San Francisco Giants slides into second base on a ball hit by Buster Posey #28 in the third inning at AT&T Park on August 26, 2015 in San Francisco, California."That's much more specific than the blurb from last week's Miguel Montero photo. We have the date of the game, the inning and it lets us know that it was indeed a double play. The only important (to me) information left out was the final score.
So after heading over to Baseball Reference, I see from the box score that like the Montero card, this was a loss for the Cubs. This one by the score of 4-2. That makes it 0-2 in the record books and 0-2 on me attending the game featured.
But wait, there's more! With the specific play known, I did a little digging and found the video. You do have to sit through a short ad, but it truly was a highlight reel twin killing started by Addison Russell.
I'm not sure how to imbed the video so here's the link to it.
Even though Castro played far more games at shortstop in 2015, by this point in the season, he had been supplanted by the rookie Russell and slid over to second base. Surprisingly, Topps got that little detail right and has Castro listed as a second baseman on the card.
After watching the double play video, I got caught in one of those internet black holes and watched several more videos on the MLB website. I know I watched a lot of games last year after subscribing to the MLB.TV service, but a play from this game was instantly recognizable. Take a look at Kyle Schwarber's infield double. Yeah, you read that right, an infield double. Schwarber would eventually come around to score on a Kris Bryant single. Respect 90 folks, or in this case 180.