Travis d’Arnaud, International Man Of Debuts

I recently noticed that Mets catcher Travis d’Arnaud has a card in each of the four Pro Debut sets to date.

And I also caught Topps in a major screw-up.  More on this below.

For those who aren’t familiar with Mr. d’Arnaud, last December he was involved in the trade that sent Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey from the Mets to the Blue Jays.  Three years and one day before that trade, he had been sent from the Phillies to the Jays as part of a trade for Roy Halladay.

2010 Topps Pro Debut Travis d'Arnaud

The cynical among us may ask how someone can “debut” 4 years in a row, but I shall not go there.
2011 Topps Pro Debut Travis d'Arnaud

I recently acquired the below 2012 card and realized that it uses the same photo as the above 2011 card, except the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays uniform is photoshopped to be a Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats uniform.
2012 Topps Pro Debut Travis d'Arnaud

The card below is a major screw-up by someone in the Topps art department… They photoshopped d’Arnaud into this year’s version of the Buffalo Bisons uniform, but the truth of the matter is that Travis has not played and can not play for the Bisons.
2013 Topps Pro Debut Travis d'Arnaud

Even though he’s played in AAA with two different organizations, the only AAA team d’Arnaud has played for is the Las Vegas 51’s… The 51’s were the Jays’ top affiliate in 2012, and they’re the Mets’ top affiliate now.  It would be truly amusing should the original photo feature a 51’s uniform, meaning that Topps could’ve been up-to-date by leaving it alone.

“Hey, Mets Fans… Are These Guys Boring You?”

“…Come and talk to us.  We’re from a different country.”

I wouldn’t put it past the Blue Jays to use a Zaphod Beeblebrox pickup line on the Mets faithful.  It occurred to me that, intentionally or not, they’re doing a lot to ensure that the interest of Mets fans ends up directed north of the border.  Think about it…

They’ve got the guy who rose to stardom, became a fan favorite and won a Cy Young with the Mets…
2012 Card #720 - R.A. Dickey Cy Young

They’ve got the guy who was an 4-time All-Star and also a favorite of many Mets fans…
2011 Sticker Jose Reyes

They’ve got the Mets’ 2012 starting catcher…

2011 Sticker Josh Thole

…and one of his backups…
2011 Topps Mike Nickeas

Their new AAA affiliate is the Buffalo Bisons, the Mets top farm team for the past 4 years…

2011 Topps Pro Debut Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Heck, even their manager is a former Met.

1987 Donruss John Gibbons

Their filthy Canadian schemes won’t work on me, though… Not as long as I’m also an Orioles fan.

Well, OK, maybe I’ll root for the Blue Jays, perhaps they can win the Wild Card while the O’s win the division.  But no matter who the Jays acquire, I’m never calling their home ballpark anything but the SkyDome.

Mets Monday: 2011 Pro Debut Matt den Dekker

Matt den Dekker was the Mets 5th round selection in the 2010 draft, and only got as far as AA Binghamton last year, but due partly to a round of injuries to Andres Torres and other center field candidates, den Dekker is getting a second look in major league camp.  I wish him all the luck in the world, and hope that he doesn’t get screwed up by the accelerated timetable… But it should be OK because the Mets would never rush a prospect who wasn’t ready.  Nope.  Nope, nope, nope.

Although I’m chasing the Pro Debut cards of Mets, Orioles and various players I’ve seen play in the minors, I’m kind of mixed about the set.  I didn’t get much of an opportunity to buy it last year since it’s Hobby-Only and my friendly neighborhood card shop only bought one box, which meant I bought a couple of packs, decided to go back for more and found they were sold out.

Both this set and Minor League Heritage tread a little too closely to Bowman territory, although I do appreciate the minor league uniforms more than seeing players in the uniforms of major league teams they may never play for.  One thing I’d like to see, for those of us who do not have every minor league affiliation memorized, is to have some sort of indication of the parent team on the front…   Keep that Idaho Falls Chukars logo, but have something on the card, preferably the front, to indicate that the Chukars are a Royals farm team.

One subtle thing I noticed last year with the multi-purpose 2011 Topps design was that in the colored circle around the logo, the regular Topps cards had (for example) “NEW YORK METS” on the top and bottom, the Pro Debut Cards would have “GCL METS” on the top and “OUTFIELD” on the bottom, and the football cards had “PITTSBURGH STEELERS” on the top and “AFC NORTH DIVISION” on the bottom.  That’s neither here nor there, but I figured I’d mention it while I’m thinking about it.