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Noah Syndergaard Jersey

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The New York Mets are at a crossroads. On the one hand, they won 86 games in 2019 and could try to contend in 2020. On the other hand, they finished in third place in the National League East and might opt for a full-scale reload.

If they choose the latter, they should dangle right-hander Noah Syndergaard. He’s 27 years old, posted a 3.60 FIP with 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings in a career-high 197.2 frames in 2019 and is controllable through 2021.

Most importantly, he’d net a gaggle of prospects for the Mets, who have the No. 22 farm system in the game by Bleacher Report’s estimation.

With that in mind, let’s examine a half-dozen suitors who’d benefit from Syndergaard’s services and possess the requisite pieces to make a deal happen.

The Los Angeles Angels posted the worst starting pitcher ERA (5.64) in the American League. They also employed Mike Trout, the best baseball player on the planet, and finished a distant fourth in the AL West.

The Halos have worked to rebuild their once-fallow farm system, but they need to go all-in on an elite arm before Trout’s historic prime expires.

They could throw money at the problem and sign a free-agent ace such as Southern California native Gerrit Cole. Or, they could save cash and expend prospects in a high-level trade.

It could include 20-year-old outfielder Jo Adell, who posted an .834 OPS while ascending to Triple-A, as well as a high-ceiling arm such as hard-throwing 21-year-old Jose Soriano.

That would be a steep cost, but it’d be worth it to bring Thor to Anaheim.

Whether or not they come back from a 2-0 deficit to win the World Series, the Houston Astros are in a win-now window.

They could lose Cole to free agency and should brace for a decline from Justin Verlander, who’s entering his age-37 season.’s Jon Morosi reported that “some within the Astros organization are intrigued by the possibility of acquiring Syndergaard,” who is a Texas native.

In exchange, the Astros could offer 22-year-old outfielder Kyle Tucker, who is blocked on the short-term depth chart by the trio of Michael Brantley, George Springer and Josh Reddick, as well as powerful rookie Yordan Alvarez.

Toss in a projectable hurler such as 22-year-old righty Bryan Abreu, and you could have a match.

New York Yankees starting pitchers finished 15th with a 4.51 ERA in 2019. Later, the club was dumped in the ALCS.

If they’re serious about raising their 28th championship banner next season, the Yanks need to strengthen their starting corps.

Assuming the Mets are willing to deal with their in-state counterparts, the Yankees could offer 20-year-old righty Deivi Garcia and 21-year-old outfielder Estevan Florial.

It would significantly ding their farm system, but Syndergaard in pinstripes might be too enticing to resist.

The San Diego Padres finished 18th with a 4.60 ERA despite playing in a pitchers’ park. If they hope to leapfrog the San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks and challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West, they need to up their game.

As’s Jon Morosi reported in July, San Diego “has been looking for [a] veteran starter since the offseason” and “have inquired” about Syndergaard.

Translation: There’s mutual interest.

It might mean giving up 22-year-old middle infielder Luis Urias, who is a potential second baseman of the future, plus a pitcher such as 19-year-old right-hander Luis Patino.

If so, the Friars would be surrendering a lot. But they’d be gaining as much or more in return.

Justin Wilson Jersey

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A man who made his fortune from his twin talents for cooking and comedy, Justin Wilson rose to fame with his humorous stories of life in Louisiana’s Cajun country, as well as demonstrating how to cook the hearty dishes associated with Cajun culture. Wilson was born in Roseland, Louisiana on April 24, 1914. His father, Harry D. Wilson, was Louisiana’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry from 1916 to 1948, and was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives. Justin’s mother, Olivette Mintern Toadvin, was a pianist and composer who was also an expert cook, from whom Justin learned his way around a kitchen. Olivette was also of Cajun heritage, unlike her husband who was Welsh, and Justin would often refer to himself as a “half-bleed Cajun.”

Justin originally pursued a career as a safety engineer, and when he spoke to audiences about safety procedures, he discovered many listeners found him too dry. Having frequently traveled through Bayou country, Wilson began telling humorous anecdotes about Cajuns and their lifestyle to put himself and his audiences at ease. In time, Wilson was attracting larger audiences for his comedy than for his safety lectures, and he became a successful humorist in the South and Southwest with his exaggerated Cajun accent and familiar catch phrase, “I Gawr-on-tee!” While some criticized Wilson for his sometimes unflattering portrait of Cajun life — author Trent Angers wrote of Wilson, “To hear him you’d think all Cajuns are barely literate and not very bright” — others cited him as helping to spread the word about Cajun food and heritage when they were little known outside the South.

In 1960, Wilson released his first comedy album, The Humorous World of Justin Wilson, which was issued by Ember Records and promptly reissued in 1961 by Tower Records, a subsidiary of Capitol Records. Between 1961 and 1985, Wilson would release 28 comedy albums, including ten for Tower, and another ten for the Louisiana-based label Paula Records. Wilson also received nationwide exposure with appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Hollywood Squares, and Late Night with David Letterman.

In 1965, Wilson published his first cookbook, fittingly titled The Justin Wilson Cook Book, and he would publish six more cookbooks between 1979 and 1998. Wilson first took his epicurean skills to the airwaves in 1971, with a cooking show commissioned by Mississippi Educational Television in which he told jokes while demonstrating how to prepare Cajun specialties. Wilson gained a new audience in the 1980s when another series, Louisiana Cookin’, began airing nationwide on PBS. In the ’90s, his shows from the ’70s gained a new life when they were rebroadcast coast to coast under the title Justin Wilson: Looking Back, sometimes with new segments offering healthier options for some ingredients. On September 5, 2001, Wilson died in Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the age of 87.

Tomas Nido Jersey

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Coming into the 2019 season one of the biggest questions for the Mets was at the catcher position. There were lots of options, most of them tried and mediocre. The plan of staying with d’Arnaud and Plawecki one more time seemed unappealing at best.
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There were several free agent catchers available at various price points. The top option was Yasmani Grandal and the Mets offered him a reasonable contract which he rejected for a higher one year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.

The next best option was Wilson Ramos, an injury prone offense-first catcher coming off a career year with the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets offered Ramos a two-year contract for $19 million assuming the Mets buy out his option for 2021.

As we know Ramos has had a below average (for him) offensive year measured by OPS+ (95) compared to his career OPS+ of 103. Still good for a catcher but with his defensive shortcomings not great especially for a team that relies on a sometimes dominant starting rotation to play its best.

The Mets traded Plawecki for Walker Lockett and tendered d’Arnaud a contract. Many people (including me) expected him to be jettisoned due to his slow recovery from Tommy John surgery and his general offensive unreliability. That money could have been better used in any number of ways.

In Spring Training the Mets had Ramos penciled in as the starting catcher with a competition for the backup spot between Travis d’Arnaud and Devin Mesoraco.

Through a series of semi-predictable happenings and Metsian decision-making d’Arnaud “won” the job, Mesoraco decided to go on strike (framing at its finest), and somehow Tomas Nido ended up as the backup catcher to open the season until d’Arnaud was d’ArYes.

d’Arnaud was sent on a rehab assignment on April 4 and activated on April 7 with Nido being sent down to Syracuse. On April 28 the Mets DFA’d d’Arnaud and recalled Nido.

Nido has been the backup since that day starting 25 games at catcher.

Tomas Nido is a better defensive catcher than Wilson Ramos. We all know this. How much better though?

Check out this list from Baseball Prospectus ranking catchers by FRAA_ADJ. Please see this explanation for those of you who are not familiar with this overall catching statistic.

And this for Blocking Runs.

And this one for Framing Runs.

And this one for Throwing Runs.

Switching to Baseball-Reference, Ramos costs the Mets -11 Rdrs/yr while Nido saves 10 Rdrs/yr. Using a statistic like that eliminates the effect of Ramos catching more innings. That difference of 21 runs is worth 2-3 extra wins according to various theories of the relationship between runs and wins.

This nifty chart from Fangraphs gives a clear (i.e. non-technical) idea of the defensive quality of Ramos and Nido.

Not to mention that both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard prefer throwing to Nido even though his offense is below average (OPS+ 70).

J. D. Davis Jersey

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The New York Mets acquired J.D. Davis and minor leaguer infielder Cody Bohanek from the Houston Astros this past offseason in exchange for minor league outfielder Ross Adolph, infielder Luis Santana, and catcher Scott Manea. Many believed the Mets gave up too much for Davis at the time of the trade since he was still unproven and hadn’t hit at the major league level. Boy, things have changed.

Now in early Septemeber, Davis is a huge reason the Mets are still in a playoff hunt. There is no denying he has worked out for the best this year for the Mets. What about everyone else in this deal?
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The guy that probably gets talked about the least in the trade is Cody Bohanek. Bohanek was the other player the Mets acquired from the Astros and gets shadowed because Davis was the headline. Bohanek is a 24-year-old infielder who reached AAA ball with the Astros last year. This year he has split time between A+ and AA ball in the Mets system.

This year Bohanek has played in 107 games in the minors, accumulating 328 at-bats and has hit .226, with a .340 OBP, and a .329 slugging percentage. He has 5 home runs, 24 RBI, and 12 stolen bases while being caught 11 times. He also has 115 strikeouts, which is an average of at least one a game.

Bohanek is clearly not a great hitter with a .226 average, but he does get on base at a decent clip at .340, over a hundred points higher than his batting average which is good. If he can bring his average up just a bit and keep his OBP around the 100 points higher than his average like he has, that would be great.

He does seem to have a little bit of speed since he has stolen 12 bases despite getting caught 11 times. If he can work on his baserunning he could be a sneaky stolen base guy. He is 24 so he does have time to grow and get better.

One of the guys that we sent to Houston is 22-year-old outfielder Ross Adolph. Adolph played A- ball last year with the Mets and has split time this between A ball and A+ ball in the Astros system this season.
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Adolph has played in 114 games this year between A and A+ ball. He has had 382 at-bats and has hit a combined .228, with a .357 OBP, and a .366 slugging percentage. He has 7 home runs, 40 RBI, along with 6 triples and 11 stolen bases in 20 attempts. Adolph has also struck out 142 times which is more than once a game.

Adolph has very limited time in the minors and is still very young so it is hard to see what he can truly be. He did have very good statistics in college and A ball last year with the Mets. He shows signs of decent power and speed with pretty good XBH hit numbers and stolen bases. At still such a young age, Adolph has a lot of time to develop.

Another one of the players sent to Houston in the trade is 20-year-old infielder Luis Santana. Santana spent last season in Rookie ball with the Mets. This year he has split time between Single-A and Double-A in the Astros system.

Santana has played in 70 games this year and has accumulated 222 at-bats this season between the two leagues and has slashed .257, 337, .329. He has collected 2 long balls and 17 RBI with 4 stolen bases in 6 attempts. Santana has only struck out 33 times which is good for about one every other game.

In somewhat limited time in the minors at such a young age Santana has shown some good signs. He has good bat-to-ball skills with limited strikeouts, which is great at a young age and a decent batting average. At such a young age it is hard to see what Santana will be like in a few years, but he does have good aspects of his game at a very young age which is a good sign.

The last player sent to the Astros in the trade is 23-year-old catcher Scott Manea. He spent last season in A ball for the Mets. This season he has played in A+ ball for the Astros.

This season in the Astros organization Manea has appeared in 102 games with 328 at-bats and has hit .235, .347, .387. He has also smacked 12 home runs, 49 RBI, and 12 doubles. He has struck out 83 times which is just under 1 a game for the season.

Manea is hitting right where his career average for AVG, OBP, and SLG has been in the minors so he stayed consistent in his few years playing. He has developed more power over the last 2 years with 12 home runs in each season and never hitting more than 1 in his previous seasons. Manea could develop into a decent hitting catcher, his average is a little low, but he gets on base and has a little bit of pop which is good for a guy behind the plate.

Luis Guillorme Jersey

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After an offseason in which the Mets added several veteran middle infielders on minor league contracts to their Triple-A roster, it was unclear if there would be any room for Luis Guillorme at the big league level in 2019. Guillorme entered spring training coming off of a 2018 season in which he performed well with Triple-A Las Vegas – posting a 114 wRC+ with a batting line of .304/.380/.417 in 281 plate appearances in the Pacific Coast League – and earned a promotion to the big leagues to make his big league debut in the middle of May. He spent the rest of the season bouncing back and forth between Triple-A Las Vegas and the big league club, serving as an emergency fill-in around the infield and covering for various injuries. He ended up logging 74 plate appearances across 35 games for the Mets in 2018, and generally looked over-matched offensively against big league pitching, posting just a 52 wRC+ with a paltry .209/.284/.239 batting line. While he struggled mightily with the bat during his first taste of big league action, Guillorme played characteristically good defense across the infield, although he did not play a single inning at shortstop out of deference to Amed Rosario.

As a result of his early struggles, the Mets opted to add several veteran middle infielders on minor league contracts to their organization. The team brought former Met farmhand Dilson Herrera, old friend Ruben Tejada, Danny Espinosa, and Adeiny Hechavarria into the organization to serve as infield depth and to compete with Guillorme for a utility role on the back end of the active roster. If Luis Guillorme was going to spend significant time in the big leagues in 2019, he was going to have to beat out these veterans and earn his place on the field with his play with the Triple-A Syracuse Mets first.

For the most part, Guillorme did just that, spending a good portion of the season with the big league club, and performing significantly better at both the minor and major league levels than he did during the 2018 season. Spring training injuries to Todd Frazier and Jed Lowrie cleared a spot for Guillorme to break camp with the team on the active roster to start the season. Guillorme received sporadic playing time throughout the season’s first few weeks, and spent the majority of the first half of the season bouncing back and forth between Triple-A and the big leagues, much like he had in 2018. Guillorme generally struggled offensively with the big league club during his sparse chances to play during the first half, posting a -10 wRC+ with a batting line of .182/.143/.325 in 22 plate appearances scattered across 14 games. He ended up being optioned back to Syracuse on April 26, and spent the majority of the rest of the first half, with the exception of a few small stints with the big league team, in the minor leagues.

While he struggled to get going offensively at the major league level, Guillorme thrived on both sides of the ball with Triple-A Syracuse this season. Guillorme appeared in 69 games and hit .307/.412/.452 with a 128 wRC+ in 278 plate appearances for the Syracuse Mets between stints with the big league club in 2019. Perhaps most encouragingly, Guillorme hit a career high seven home runs in Triple-A while walking almost as often as he struck out. Guillorme’s characteristically superb defense carried over to the International League, despite logging time all over the infield.

In total, Guillorme hit .300 or better for the second straight season in Triple-A, while also getting on base more and hitting for more power than he did in his first season at the Triple-A level.

Guillorme’s performance in Triple-A put him in line for a return to the big league club in early August, when Robinson Cano was placed on the injured list with a torn hamstring. The Mets signed Joe Panik later in the week, and designated Adeiny Hechavarria for assignment, which created a more lasting role for Guillorme on the big league roster as the team’s only bench player capable of playing shortstop. While his playing time remained sporadic, Guillorme’s return to the big leagues went significantly better than his earlier stints had gone. Guillorme hit .282/.378/.462 with a 127 wRC+ in 47 plate appearances from his return to the big leagues on August 5 through the end of the season, and contributed with a few timely hits to help the Mets win during their blistering August.

Among these hits was Guillorme’s first major league home run, which came at the perfect time. On August 10, Guillorme came in to pinch hit for Juan Lagares against Fernando Rodney with the Mets trailing the Nationals 3-2. Guillorme worked the count full against Rodney, before pulling a fastball on the inner half over the right field fence to tie the game. The Mets went on to take the lead later in the inning, and defeated the Nationals 4-3, putting them just a half game behind the Nats for a wild card spot.

Guillorme continued to perform when called upon down the stretch, and ended up posting an 87 wRC+ with a batting line of .246/.324/.361 in 70 plate appearances across 45 games at the big league level in 2019. While he was still a below average hitter, he managed to improve significantly upon his similarly small-sample offensive performance from 2018. In addition to improving his batting average and on-base percentage by nearly 40 points, Guillorme managed to add some power to his game, adding four doubles to go with the first homer of his career, and helping him improve his isolated slugging percentage to .115 from the anemic .030 ISO he put up in 2018.

All of this bodes well for Guillorme’s big league prospects heading into 2020 and beyond. Given his defensive acumen across the infield, and ability to play an above-average shortstop at the big league level, Guillorme doesn’t have to hit much to have a long career as a utility infielder on the periphery of a team’s 25 man roster. If he can maintain his offensive gains from 2019 into the future, and continue to hit within shouting distance of a league average batting line, Guillorme should continue to prove that he belongs in the big leagues moving forward, just like he did in 2019.

Sam Haggerty Jersey

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On September 1, MLB rosters expanded from 25 to 40 players. The New York Mets took advantage of this by promotion a few men and activating others from the IL. One of the less expected transactions included the big league promotion for Sam Haggerty.

The 25-year-old utility man played all over the field this year down on the farm. He also spent time with the Brooklyn Cyclones, Binghamton Rumble Ponies, and Syracuse Mets. He hit at each level. Maybe more importantly for his promotion, Haggerty found ways to get on base.

The majority of his season was spent in Double-A with the Rumble Ponies where he hit .259 but impressed with a .370 OBP. Haggerty also managed to swipe 19 bases in 68 games played.
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A light-hitter, Haggerty has played second base more than anywhere during his professional career.

However, this year he also saw his share of time in center fielder where he could undoubtedly be far more valuable to the Mets when considering how many other second base options they do have.

Haggerty is one of two players the Mets acquired this winter in the Kevin Plawecki trade with the Cleveland Indians. The other, Walker Lockett, has already taken the mound several times for New York. The results haven’t been too favorable, but there is a chance he becomes a decent relief arm. Unlike many others we’ve seen toe the rubber for the Mets in recent seasons, Lockett is at least youngish.

Expectations for Haggerty shouldn’t get too high. He is, after all, a former 24th round draft pick who was one of two players traded for a career backup catcher with below-average offensive and defensive traits. For him to reach this big leagues at all is a victory.

Interestingly, one of the guys many suspected we would see the Mets promote has opted out of his deal with the team. Dilson Herrera chose to opt-out from his deal with the team for the second time this season. I understand why. Even after hitting 24 home runs this year in Triple-A, the club never called him up.

Haggerty can undoubtedly provide the Mets with a few things they’re missing. He’s a center field option who can run. Playing time will be scarce. This September is his opportunity to make the most of any pinch-running opportunities or defensive replacement substitutions he may be involved in.

As Moonlight Graham or the Mets’ Joe Hietpas know, you may only get a single inning of action.

Amed Rosario Jersey

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Amed Rosario has shown some good signs in his short major league career for the New York Mets. In his two and a half years playing he has shown great speed, decent power, the ability to hit for average, and a solid glove at times.

This past season was Rosario’s best to date in his parts of three seasons. He had career highs in just about every positive offense category, played good defense for most of the season, and took a huge step forward in his overall game.

This past season Rosario had career highs in batting average .287, on-base percentage .323, slugging .432, OPS .755, home-runs with 15, RBI with 72, walks with 31, doubles with 30, hits with 177, and games played with 157. This was all also at the young age of twenty-three years old. In addition to his strong season, he also had strong finishes in both this year’s season and in 2018 which is great to see.
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Arguably Rosario’s biggest step forward this season was in his defense though. He has been very inconsistent in the big leagues so far after being talked highly of for his defense in the minor leagues.

The first half of the season this year was a bit of an adventure as Rosario struggled to make routine plays. Talks of moving him to center field were starting to rumble due to his poor defense. By the end of the year, those talks were long gone as Rosario shined brightly the second half with his glove.

The first half of the 2019 season was quite frustrating for Rosario as he had his worst defense stretch in the majors.

From Opening Day through May 7th, Rosario already had ten errors on the season. In about a month and a half, Rosario had already committed more than half of the errors he would have at the end of the year. In a two day span between St Louis and Philadelphia he even had four combined errors. The rest of May to the end of the season Rosario only had seven errors which are not bad by any means.

Rosario will have some competition for the All-Star game at shortstop as some of the best are in the National League. The three players to make it this year were Javier Báez, Paul DeJong, and Trevor Story. It is not unrealistic to see Rosario jump one of these players in 2020 especially with Báez playing a lot of second base and potentially making the team there.

If Rosario can continue his much-improved defense into next season along with another strong offensive year, we can expect him to suit up for the All-Star game. He will have some competition with a few strong shortstops in the National League, but he can definitely squeak in if he gets off to a hot start.

It is not unrealistic for Rosario to get out of the gates hot either considering his strong finish this season on both sides of the game. As long as he builds off his strong year this year he should be able to hang with the best and we will see him in the All-Star game as a result.

Will we see Rosario in the All-Star game in 2020? I believe so.

Dominic Smith Jersey

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They turn up in the most unexpected of places – dusty basements, forgotten archives, garage sales. A previously unknown Charlie Chaplin silent film was bought on eBay in England for £3.20 ($5.80). In rural Canada bulldozers uncovered more than 500 silent film reels during a building project.

A United States Library of Congress report published in 2013 found that 75 per cent of silent feature films made in the US between 1912 and 1929 had been lost. The medium is particularly vulnerable to depletion as nitrate film stock is highly flammable, susceptible to decay and the industry did not make a habit of preserving negatives and prints. Stories have been silently eroded – those of the films themselves, but also those that form our cinematic and cultural history.

Australian American novelist Dominic Smith, 47, read that same report. The startlingly bleak statistic triggered the memory of a note he had scribbled many years earlier about Auguste and Louis Lumiere, the pioneering French brothers who invented the Cinematograph, a film camera and projector, in the twilight of the 19th Century.

Smith enjoys contemporary movies, but silent films had always seemed to him hokey, full of melodrama and slapstick, with the action distractingly accelerated. He wasn’t drawn to the medium – at least at the start – but to the question: what was it like for audiences to experience film for the very first time?

And so we meet Claude Ballard, an 85-year-old committed mushroom forager whose best days are long gone, like the decrepit Knickerbocker Hotel in Hollywood where we find him living in 1962 at the start of Smith’s wonderful new novel, The Electric Hotel.

Claude was once a star of the silent film industry and is now doomed to die in relative obscurity just like D.W Griffith, the American master moviemaker behind the epic The Birth of a Nation in 1915, and from whom parts of his character are derived. But a PhD student eager to discuss Claude’s first silent feature, his “lost masterpiece”, has the former filmmaker opening his apartment, the decor still stuck in the1930s and revealing suitcases full of his old reels.

The novel follows Claude’s rise from working as a concession agent for the Lumiere brothers, introducing the world (including Australians) to silent film, to his disastrous attempt to create his own cinematic tour de force, the cutting edge but scandalous The Electric Hotel.
The Electric Hotel is Dominic Smith’s fifth novel.

The Electric Hotel is Dominic Smith’s fifth novel.

The title of Claude’s intended triumph is drawn from a real eight-minute silent film – lost and then recovered – by Spanish director Segundo de Chomon. Chomon’s 1908 stop animation film is a humorous story about electricity running amok in a hotel in Spain, while Claude’s creation is a dark melodrama, centered on a consumptive widow, that foreshadows the psychological horror films to emerge in later years.

Claude’s grand ambition is supported by a filmmaking family – the legendary actress and his sometimes lover, Sabine Montrose, producer and moneyman Hal Bender, whose father was murdered by loan sharks, and runaway Australian stuntman Chip Spalding. The foursome form an early studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey, a precursor to Hollywood. They all come from broken backgrounds and are moths drawn to the illusions created by film.

Inventor Thomas Edison is a menacing figure throughout the novel as he attempts to dominate the industry with patents and eradicate his competition, including Claude, through lawsuits. It’s an epic tale that spans 1895 to 1962, with an electric pace fuelled by Smith’s insight and humour.

“I am interested in the history of narrative storytelling and film is definitely part of that. But there’s a kind of dotted line back to silent films where suddenly it went dark,” Smith says, on the phone from Seattle, where he moved recently after living for nearly two decades in Austin, Texas with his wife and two daughters.

Warren Spahn Jersey

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A star on a pitching mound and a hero on the battlefields, Warren Spahn excelled in two far different uniforms. Arguably the greatest southpaw pitcher in big league history, whose 363 triumphs makes him the all-time winningest left-handed hurler in the game, he used his mound mastery to gain admittance into the national pastime’s most exclusive club – the National Baseball Hall of Fame – in 1973.

But fellow Hall of Famer Stan Musial had his doubts as to whether Spahn, a major league pitcher until his mid-40s, would ever be honored in Cooperstown, New York, once half-jokingly stating, “I don’t think Spahn will ever get into the Hall of Fame. He’ll never stop pitching.”

Spahn made his big league debut with the Boston Braves in 1942, the same year he would join the Army. Over the next four years he would participate in the Battle of the Bulge and the taking of the bridge at Remagen. A true war hero, he was awarded a Purple Heart for shrapnel wound and a battlefield commission.

Spahn, who returned to the Braves soon after his discharge in 1946, would go 21-10 in 1947, the first of 13 seasons in which Spahn, famous for his fluid, high-kicking pitching motion, won at least 20 games, a major league record for a left-handed pitcher.

In addition to his fastball, Spahn also developed a number of off-speed pitches, all thrown with the same windup. “A pitcher needs two pitches – one they’re looking for and one to cross them up,” Spahn was fond of saying.

With the Braves franchise move to Milwaukee prior to the 1953 season, Spahn continued his excellence and the team soon responded by winning pennants in 1957 and 1958. Playing the Yankees in both World Series, Spahn helped Milwaukee capture the 1957 championship, the same year he won his lone Cy Young Award.

As Spahn, who often said, “Hitting is timing. Pitching is upsetting timing,” grew older, his pitching seemed to improve. He won at least 20 games every year from 1956 to 1961, led the league in complete games every year from 1957 to 1963, and in 1963, at age 42, won 23, lost only seven, and compiled a 2.60 earned run average.

In maybe his most memorable pitching performance, Spahn faced off with the Giants’ Juan Marichal on July 3, 1963, each hurler pitching shutout ball until Willie Mays hit a home run in the bottom of the 16th inning to give San Francisco the 1-0 victory.

In 21 big league seasons (1942, 1946-65), Spahn, a 13-time All-Star, compiled a 363-245 record, started 665 games, completed 382, struck out 2,583 batters, and finished with a 3.09 ERA.

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Baseball America first introduced Tim Teufel to readers when he appeared on the cover of the Aug. 1, 1983 issue. Teufel was late into an extraordinary season at Triple-A Toledo in the Twins organization.

Teufel earned International League player of the year honors that season when he batted .323/.437/.577 with 27 home runs and 100 RBIs. That performance merited a September callup, leading to an 11-year big league career that included a World Series championship with the 1986 Mets.

More than three decades later, Teufel has established himself as a baseball lifer. He has scouted, coached and managed. He currently serves as the Mets’ roving minor league infield instructor and club ambassador.

“It’s provided a good living,” Teufel said. “It’s provided an opportunity to provide for my family. It’s been a good venture.”

He and his wife of 36 years, Valerie, have four grown children and reside during the offseason in Florida. He said there was no way to envision a lifetime in baseball when he was coming out of Clemson as a second-round pick in 1980.

After three seasons with the Twins, Teufel was dealt to the Mets prior to the 1986 season. In New York he became part of a second base platoon with lefthanded-hitting Wally Backman. Teufel’s pinch-hit grand slam won a game during the regular season, and he homered in a Game Five loss to the Red Sox in the World Series.

Those Mets teams in the mid- to late 1980s were personified by a grittiness and hard-nosed style of baseball. No incident better represented how the Mets played than Teufel’s 1989 on-field scuffle with Reds flamethrowing reliever Rob Dibble. The normally mild-mannered Teufel charged the mound and landed a punch after being hit by a pitch, and the video of the incident is worth finding on YouTube.

Teufel spent his final three seasons in the big leagues with the Padres and concluded his career with a batting line of .254/.336/.404. Then he got out of baseball for five years to spend more time with his growing children. He also dabbled in venture capital financing.

The Mets first hired Teufel in 1998 as a scout.

“I knew that wasn’t the love I had for the game, sitting there watching games and writing down reports,” Teufel said of scouting. “That wasn’t really what I wanted to do. It wasn’t my passion. So I thought, ‘Let me try coaching,’ and coaching seemed to fit the bill.”

He first served as a roving instructor and later managed at every level in the Mets’ system before being named the big league club’s third-base coach in 2011. He returned to the World Series in 2015 in that capacity, though the Mets lost to the Royals.

“Those are two milestones,” Teufel said of both playing and coaching in the World Series. “Those are things you dream about doing. As a player, you want to play and win one, then as a coach you want to coach and win one. It’s one of those things, you enjoy trying to be the best at both.”

Spoken like a baseball lifer.