Podcast Episode 28: ‘Astroball’ author Ben Reiter lays out blueprint for how Elias & Mejdal will rebuild the Orioles

Image Credit: Eutaw Street Report 

Welcome to Episode 28 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

The guys spend the first 45 minutes of the show talking all things Ravens. First, Jake, Nolan, and Ian revisit Baltimore’s 26-16 win over the Falcons from this past Sunday (3:30). You’ll also hear an extended Ravens quarterback debate (9:20) as our team has differing opinions on whether Lamar Jackson or a healthy Joe Flacco should lead the Ravens offense to (hopefully) the team’s first playoff berth in four years. As we do every week, we’ll go over Who’s Trending (30:49) and some things to watch for on Sunday as the Ravens enter Arrowhead Stadium for a 1:00 pm tilt with the #1 seed in the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs (39:39).

71TL+MlkkTLUp next, we welcome in our special guest for Episode 28 – Ben Reiter, author of Astroball: The New Way To Win It All (45:44). There’s no one better to tell Orioles fans everything they want to know about Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal than Reiter, who’s written a book detailing the processes Elias and Mejdal implemented to rebuild the Astros under Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow. Along with going over the storyline of Astroball, Reiter gives specific examples of how Elias and Mejdal used analytics. Reiter also provides some insight into how these same techniques will be used to rebuild the Orioles. It’s a must-listen interview for all Orioles fans eager to see what Elias and his team can do.

After Reiter’s call-in, Nolan and Ian jump back in, reacting to the Milwaukee Brewers decision to non-tender former Oriole fan-favorite Jonathan Schoop (1:05:18). Don’t worry, the gang also talked about Caleb Joseph and Tim Beckham being non-tendered by the Orioles too.

With the Maryland men’s basketball team off to a hot 7-1 start, the next part of the show takes a look at Mark Turgeon’s 2017-18 team (1:14:00). With the Terps making the Top 25 last week, the guys lay out their season projections for a talented, young Maryland team.

To wrap up the show, we dive into our weekly numbers segment, taking a look at the best Baltimore sports athletes to wear the number 28 (1:25:22).

You can find the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloudiTunes, and Google Play. Please leave us a review on iTunes, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode. Thank you for listening!

The Charm City Bird Watch Podcast is brought to you by Seven Sports Bar & Grille. For a limited time only on behalf on Charm City Bird Watch, you can receive a 10% discount off any entree dish when you tell your server or bartender the promo code Charm City.’

Advertisements

Maryland cracks top-25 in latest AP poll

On Monday afternoon the Associated Press released their NCAA men’s basketball poll for week four of the 2018-29 season. After winning their first six games of the season, the Maryland Terrapins find themselves ranked No. 24 in the nation. This is the first time since February of 2017 that the Terps have been in the AP top-25.

This early emergence in the top-25 may come as a surprise considering what happened in the offseason. Mark Turgeon was able to recruit another strong class but losing starters like Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson to the NBA draft was a huge loss. Even after retaining key players like Anthony Cowan and Bruno Fernando, voters and media personalities struggled to pin down Maryland. Some had them finishing toward the top of the conference while others failed to see how they could build any momentum with such a young core. However, it appears many are starting to become convinced that this young Terps squad can make some noise this year.

Having Maryland in the top 25 will also be great for the upcoming ACC / Big Ten challenge as the Terps prepare to host Virginia on Wednesday November 28. The Cavaliers are currently ranked No. 4 in the AP poll and are coming off the heels of a nice 53-46 win over No. 25 Wisconsin.

This Wednesday’s nationally televised game will surely be a good one as Virginia receives their first big road test and the Terps will get their first chance for a resume win. The importance of this matchup cannot be stressed enough. The Big Ten currently has seven teams in the AP top-25 but Maryland may only get the chance to host a ranked team one or two more times this season.

The last time these two teams met was in December of 2014. The Terps knocked off the Cavilers in their final ACC home game earlier that year but Virginia would get it’s revenge on Maryland by taking them down in the ACC / Big Ten challenge. Almost four years later, there is still no love lost between these former conference foes.

Image credit: Patrick Semansky / AP

Fernando feasts on Scarlet Knights, helps Terps hold on for 61-51 win

Last Saturday Maryland pulled out their gold uniforms for their matchup against Northwestern. The result was a dominate 73-57 win, so why not do the same this week? The Terps decided to don the Gold once again and the result was another win. This time Maryland took down a basement dwelling Rutgers team 61-51.

Bruno Fernando was the clear leader for the Terps in this one, finishing with 18 points and a career high 16 rebounds. The freshman even scored the first three pointer of his career on a wide open look in the second half.

After their victory over Northwestern last week I said that this Maryland team has looked different as of late. Not only do I think that stands after this one, but I think it’s clear that the team has made major adjustments down the stretch. Unfortunately, these changes are coming a little too late as the Terps will have to win out just to get to .500 in the conference.

The Terps have found success in recent games by spreading the ball around and trusting each other on offense. We all know that the team is shorthanded because of injuries but you have no choice but to trust the guys you have at this point because you can’t win with the same two players shooting the ball 17-20 times a game.

This trust has resulted in a well-balanced offensive attack that features consistent scoring from all five starters and a couple of bench players, depending on the game. This was on full display right at the beginning of the game when the Terps took a 10-0 lead. Maryland took just four minutes to jump out to this lead and their first five baskets were scored by a five different players.

Anthony Cowan also had a standout night and really got a chance to run the Terps offense while taking a backseat when it came to shooting. The sophomore still put up 14 points but only shot the ball ten times. Instead, Cowan was able to help the Terps with six assists and five steals.

As the first half progressed the Terps continued to pass the ball well but more importantly, they protected the ball. Maryland went 11 minutes without a turnover and finished the first half with just two. Rutgers, on the other hand, coughed up the ball seven times. All of this was a recipe for a 31-19 Maryland lead at the half.

For a majority of the second half it looked like the Terps were going to run the Scarlet Knights off the court. Maryland started the second half with another 10-0 run and even had a 24 point lead at one point. However, with the clock approaching five minutes to play, Rutgers didn’t roll over and made things interesting with a 10-0 run of their own to cut the deficit to just nine.

In the end Maryland would close out the game like any good team does. They held the ball and trusted themselves to make the necessary baskets even with a dwindling shot clock. Rutgers maintained a high level of energy through the final minuets but the comeback was shutdown once Maryland got to the free throw line.

The Terps will have a quick turnaround as they prepare to play Northwestern again on Monday night. The Wildcats are coming off of one of the worst second half performances in Big Ten history. Playing without Bryant McIntosh, Northwestern scored just 11 points in the second half, allowing the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans to erase a 27 point defect and win the game 65-60.

The Terps handled their business when they hosted Northwestern last weekend but we all know how bad they are away from home. You can only hope that this devastating loss rattles the Wildcats and impacts them on a short turnaround.

Image credit: Nick Wass / Associated Press