Dan Rodricks

Dan Rodricks: A galling developer, a dutiful mechanic, Maryland tomatoes and other stuff nobody asked about | COMMENTARY

Tomatoes on sale recently at Baltimore's Sunday farmers market.

Nobody asked me, but here’s a prime example of obnoxious gall: Amid disputes, a developer gets permission to demolish the Morris Mechanic Theatre in the heart of downtown Baltimore, leaving a large hole in the ground for seven years, then says he won’t redevelop the site into residential towers, as originally planned, unless he gets a 25-year tax break from the city. Great.

Nobody asked me, but we totally take for granted the ground crews who keep us flying from city to city, day after day. So props to the unidentified Southwest Airlines mechanic who found a “missing part” to our Boeing 727-800 on Friday night at the airport formerly known as Friendship International. Our flight was delayed, but no complaint here. Personally, I prefer to fly on an aircraft with all its parts.


Nobody asked me, but DLA Piper, the multinational law firm with Baltimore roots, deserves props for two decisions — to move its offices back to downtown Baltimore after more than 20 years in Baltimore County and, in light of Russia’s horrific invasion of Ukraine, to close down its offices in Moscow and St. Petersburg after 17.

Nobody asked me, but people who demand “more transparency” from the FBI’s investigation of Donald Trump’s hoarding of top-secret documents at Mar-a-Lago — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan among them — have no clue about how federal investigations go. The feds tell us almost nothing until it’s time to tell us something, especially so in espionage cases.


And Republicans who say the Mar-a-Lago cache is no big deal have no big credibility. They’ve dismissed all of Trump’s wrongdoing to this point, so there’s no reason to expect anything else from them.

Nobody asked me, but more guns do not make us safer. Doesn’t everyone in America realize that by now? Studies by firearms policy experts at the Johns Hopkins University show that. In recent years, we’ve set records in gun sales and gun-related deaths. Consider two states: Maryland and Oklahoma. The latter, with a population roughly two-thirds of Maryland’s, has a much higher rate of firearms deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Oklahoma is also one of the gun-nuttiest states in the country; the Rand Corporation estimates that half of Oklahoma households have a gun. There’s no waiting period for buying a gun in the Sooner State and no need for a permit to carry one if you’re 21 or older. Of course, Maryland has far more restrictions on firearms. But the horrendous Supreme Court decision in June on a New York law means the Maryland State Police will no longer use the “good and substantial reason” standard for issuing a permit to someone who wants to carry a concealed handgun. The state will now have to issue those permits to just about anyone 18 or older who wants one. Certain criteria must still be met: You can’t have been convicted of a crime that carried a sentence of one year or more; you can’t be addicted to drugs or alcohol, or known to be violent. But who feels safer today?

Nobody asked me, but, in a busy cellphone store, it always helps to hear an employee say, “Just a few minutes please, one of us will be right with you.” I know everyone is stressed and overworked, but trust me — a few little words like that beats totally ignoring the person with the credit card.

Nobody asked me, but, based on my market surveys and over-the-fence conversations, the summer of 2022 appears to have been an epic one for the growing of Maryland tomatoes.

This one is from reader and theatergoer Ed Lott: “Nobody asked me, but why can’t the city of Baltimore clean up trash on Eutaw Street near the Hippodrome on Saturday before the shows, matinee and evening? Where’s the pride in the city?”

Nobody asked me, but once you’ve had the charcoal-roasted Peruvian chicken from the rotisserie at Chicken Rico, it’s hard to look at any other roasted chicken anywhere — under the heat lamps at Giant or in your own oven — without being overcome with a sense of longing.

Nobody asked me, but I declare “Better Call Saul” the best drama on television over the last 20 years; the recent series finale was perfection. Co-creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould are 21st century Shakespeares. Bob Odenkirk’s Saul was great, but Rhea Seehorn’s Kim even greater.

Five unsolicited comments about the Orioles:


Nobody asked me, but, when I hear some national sports journalist express surprise and say, “Nobody saw the Orioles coming this season,” I feel like saying, “Speak for yourself, you toad.”

Brandon Hyde should be a serious contender for American League Manager of the Year. Or at least a Geico commercial.

If I were Terrin Vavra’s agent, I’d suggest that the young Oriole change his first name to something more baseballesque: Joey, for instance. Try it: Joey Vavra. Rolls off the lips.

If for some unforeseeable reason the baseball thing doesn’t work out, Jorge Mateo could be a wide receiver for the Ravens.

That moment on Aug. 25 when rookie Kyle Stowers, with two strikes and two outs, hit his first major league home run to tie a game that the Orioles walked off in extra innings was magical, rising to the duende-ish. When Stowers first showed up with his blond surfer-boy locks, he reminded me of Sunshine’s arrival in “Remember The Titans.” In the movie, as I recall, things went pretty well after that.