Dan Rodricks: More opining nobody asked for, starting in left field at Oriole Park | COMMENTARY

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Construction crews have changed the dimensions of left field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. (Barbara Haddock Taylor/Baltimore Sun)

Nobody asked me, but the new left field wall at Oriole Park is going to need a name. When the alteration is complete, the wall will be 26 1/2 feet deeper, at 384 feet from home plate, and about 13 feet high. That’s only about a third as high as Fenway’s Green Monster. But a 13-foot wall in a big, strange nook of left field has great potential for high drama. In fact, the wall could become notorious, and notorious will deserve a name. Please send suggestions, O’s fans, after you get a look at the thing.

Nobody asked me, but a pause in the state gas tax looks like a bailout for Marylanders who continue to drive meh-mileage, mammoth SUVs and pickup trucks while living 25 to 40 miles from work. They knew what they were getting into when they made those choices. Prices of crude are fixed in a global market; if there’s a price increase, consumers should bear the cost. Bailing out drivers of gas guzzlers just continues a broad addiction to fossil fuels.


Nobody asked me, but this would be a good time for the Maryland Transit Administration to promote bus ridership and the real-time tracking of buses. That technology has been available for a few years now — I use the Transit app to check on buses — and it’s a huge improvement. People who stopped taking buses because they found them unreliable might want to give it another try.

Nobody asked me, but Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot has the right idea about what the state should do with its historically huge budget surplus of $7.5 billion — give $2,000 each to the state’s low-income families. Franchot is running for governor, so he has to score points when he can, but that doesn’t make him wrong. So let’s have the state send “economic impact checks” to those who really need it. But to determine true need this time, the state should use the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) index, identified by United Way as households of the working poor caught in the stressful gap between income and the real cost of living. ALICE provides a full measure of the financial hardship around us, and, as a result, there are a lot more ALICE families in Maryland — some 40% of all households, according to United Way — than those the federal government acknowledges or than Franchot had in mind. But it sounds like the money is there.


Nobody asked me, but the Nature’s Promise organic honey sold at Giant, imported from Brazil, is excellent. I’m just going to leave that there.

Prediction: Even before it opens March 27, “Guarding the Art,” the unique exhibit of works selected by the security officers of the Baltimore Museum of Art, will be an art-world sensation. It probably already is.

Nobody asked me, but it looks like Marylanders made some good bets on the Super Bowl. I say that because the casinos’ take from sports betting dropped significantly in February, to $893,710, leaving the state’s take at just $134,628, based on the 15% tax. Sports betting commenced in December, and Maryland’s total sports betting handle through February was $74,609,410; the take for the casinos was $8,316,361 and total revenue to the state for public education was $1,248,026. That’s a long way from what the Department of Legislative Services estimated — $20 million annually to the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future Fund — but March Madness is expected to be a big book and wagering is bound to pick up with the football season and the start of online betting.

Nobody asked me, but I wouldn’t give 10 rubles for the everybody-does-it defense of Marilyn Mosby’s financial dealings and mortgage applications, the subject of the federal charges against her. I don’t know that Mosby plans to go with everybody does it, but if she does, it won’t work. She’s not “everybody,” she’s the Baltimore state’s attorney, and, of course, the criminal defendants her staff prosecutes do not get to say, “Everybody does it.”

Nobody asked for it, but here’s a civic-minded thought of the devious sort: Remember how former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh had the city’s four Confederate monuments removed in the middle of the night? Mayor Brandon Scott should do the same with Harborplace — and chance the consequences!

Nobody asked me, but I don’t waste time wondering why Tucker Carlson uses his show on Fox to defend the Russian criminal, Vladimir Putin, and to talk trash about Ukraine. I do question, however, why more than 3 million Americans watch, and essentially support, his Kremlinesque propaganda.

Nobody asked me, but the exodus of hundreds of companies from Russia because of its senseless invasion of Ukraine is impressive, and it’s worth noting that DLA Piper, the multinational law firm with Baltimore roots, is among them. Piper has offices in more than 40 countries and 28 locations in the U.S., including Baltimore. It evolved from mergers involving Piper Rudnick of Baltimore (formerly Piper & Marbury). The firm served clients in Russia for 17 years before issuing this statement Monday: “In light of Russia’s actions in Ukraine and the resulting humanitarian crisis, and our consequent decision not to act for clients connected to the Russian state, we have concluded that maintaining a presence in Russia is not aligned with our values and therefore no longer viable. … We stand with the people of Ukraine and all those affected by this tragedy.”