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.’

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Reports: Terps Football set to hire Alabama Offensive Coordinator Mike Locksley as next Head Coach

COLLEGE PARK, MD — Late Tuesday night, Brett McMurphy reported that the University of Maryland football program is going to hire current Alabama Offensive Coordinator Mike Locksley to be their next head football coach. Locksley said the following:

Per reports, Locksley has signed a five-year deal with an option for an additional year with Maryland. He will earn roughly $2.5 million annually. Locksley will return to Maryland after a three -year stint with the Crimson Tide with his first year coming as an offensive assistant and his past two seasons as their offensive coordinator. Alabama’s offense ranks second in the country this season, averaging 47.9 points-per-game. They also rank seventh in yards-per-game as well. Locksley was recently awarded the Broyles Award handed out to the nation’s top assistant coach.

Locksley was a no-brainer type hire for a Terrapins program searching for the right man to lead it after the Jordan McNair scandal rocked College Park this summer. Interim Head Coach Matt Canada did a nice job this season keeping the Terps competitivie and the team together in what had to be the most trying football season of these young men’s lives.

But the issue with hanging onto Canada as the potential full-time head coach was that he was present during the entire McNair saga. And while he had nothing to do with the incident or its aftermath, the necessity to remove all parts of the program that were present at the time of the scandal outweighed Canada’s contributions to the program.

Locksley will return to Maryland for his third stint with the program. He started with the Terrapins in 1997 when he was the running backs coach and remained with the program from 1998-2002 in that same role.  He had stops at Florida as a running backs coach and running game coordinator as well as a run as offensive coordinator at Illinois from 2005-2008.

locksley

Mike Locksley has a great coaching background. Just don’t ask anyone at New Mexico where Locksley was 2-26 as Head Coach. Image Credit: One Bronco Nation

Locksley then became the head coach at New Mexico and his tenure there was rocky to say the least. While amassing a record of 2-26 in three seasons at the helm, there were also two minor scandals that clouded his tenure. In May 2009 a former administrative assistant accused Locksley of subjecting her to age and sexual discrimination but the claims were later withdrawn.

The second incident occurred in September 2009 when he was reprimanded for having an altercation with an assistant coach. Locksley was suspended without pay following the incident. He returned to Maryland in 2012 and was the OC and QB coach until 2015 when he became the interim head coach for Maryland’s last six games of the 2015 seasons compiling a record of 1-5.

Locksley is coming back to Maryland after a successful tenure as the Alabama OC. But why would Maryland want to bring in a head coach that has two prior incidents in his head coaching tenure and a 3-31 career record?

Locksley is Washington D.C. native and knows this Maryland football program very well. He knows the DMV area talent as well as anyone on the college football scene. He was heavily involved in the recruitment of recent DMV prep stars Stefon Diggs and Dwayne Haskins. The DMV area is one of the top 10 areas in the country for high school football recruiting and Locksley has continued his relationships with key players and coaches in this area throughout his tenure at Alabama.

The hire is earning rave reviews:

While there are no guarantees that Maryland picked the right guy to lead their football program moving forward, it seems as if the court of public opinion is confident that Locksley can get the Terps heading the right direction.

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