Is the World Series over yet?
I am watching this year's Fall Classic because it is baseball and I am a baseball fan. As a Cardinals fan it's a little hard to watch and openly cheer for the Cubby Bears. At the same time, the Indians have to be one of my least favorite professional teams. Long back story. Sure, some long-time baseball franchise is going to end a long-time championship drought, but the end of the series simply means that the off-season will begin.
The 2016 baseball season has been one of the longest in recent memory. Not only did my Cardinals miss the playoffs for the first time since 2010, but my Durham Bulls also missed the playoffs for the second year in a row after making the playoffs seven times during an eight year stretch starting in 2007. I have been spoiled.
While the Bulls have little control over their roster, being at the whim of the Tampa Rays, I am most excited about seeing what the Cardinals can do to re-make their roster. Several veteran players are likely to play elsewhere in 2017 including Matt Holliday, Brandon Moss, and Jaime Garcia. It also would not surprise me if the team also moved on from players like Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta.
It should be a busy offseason, or else I am going to be spending the 2017 baseball season in some sort of therapy group with a bunch of Brewers and Reds fans.
One player that I can hang my hat on when looking back at 2016 was Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez. C-Mart continues to improve as a starting pitcher and has quietly become one of the better starting pitchers in the National League. He had a higher WAR and ERA+ than Jake Arrieta? Get out of here.
The Cardinals card collector in me feels like Carlos is ready to become the next anchor of the franchise. During my lifetime I have been lucky enough to see that torch get passed from players like Ozzie Smith, Mark McGwire, and Albert Pujols, all the way down to some of the more recent Cardinals squads which have had much more of a whole team feel. What does this all mean?
It means that we are going to find some cool cards of Carlos Martinez this off-season and hope that the Cardinals find where their owner has hidden his wallet so that he can get something a little bit more long-term in terms of a contract.
In the meantime, here are my first two cool C-Mart cards post-2016 season, both autographs out of the newest version of Triple Threads...
First up is this ordinary, in terms of Triple Threads cards, jersey relic with an autograph. It's serial numbered out of 50 too, which has to be one of the higher print runs I have seen on an autograph out of this product. I feel like most of the time the high number is 36. I'd go research it, but I am not that interested in finding out the exact answer. Triple Threads uses a lot of sticker autographs, one of my biggest knocks against the cards, but Topps did a good job of blending the sticker in with the gold background.
I also like the coloration of the card with the gold trim, green edges, and dark background. The color scheme could look like a Christmas card with the red from the Cardinals uni, but the green and red are nice on opposite sides of the card....
As much as I like the other card, this one is easily my favorite between the two. What do you think about when you see a Triple Threads autograph? Cards like this. The concept hasn't changed much from past years, the design is similar too, but these cards just look really good.