Too soon to celebrate blue crab revival

A Rodricks roundup: O’s woes, Oprah’s hair and stellar service at BWI

April 18, 2010|By Dan Rodricks

Nobody asked me, but someone — and it might as well be me — ought to tell Martin O'Malley to curb his enthusiasm over the blue crabs making a comeback. It's great that the count is the best in more than a decade, but the Chesapeake Bay is still a mess, and the last thing we need is a governor crowing about a resurgent resource. Next thing you know, there's a battle with watermen over extending the season and increasing the catch. When something's in abundance, the human instinct is to fully exploit it. Been there, done that.

•Like everyone in the Baltimore-Washington television viewing audience, I've been watching those Krystal Koons commercials for years — tall, thin woman with blond hair pitching cars. And for years, her voice has been dubbed. At least, that's how it looks to me. Her lips move like Clutch Cargo's. Some day (and today might be the day) I'm going to find out why.

•I have a suggestion for all my fellow Orioles fans, who are suffering: Don't watch until I say it's OK again. Really. I'll get back to you.

Mike Ricigliano draws the daily Orioles Bird cartoon for the Baltimore Sun. This season, Ricig might forget how to make a bird smile.

•Props to Quinn Cotter, a Gilman School junior who's written a book about something with which he's quite familiar — youth sports. "Playing Time: What Kids Really Think About Kids' Sports," is an easy read full of good advice for parents and coaches: how to make practice fun, how to prepare a boy or girl for a tryout, how to keep kids from burning out and losing interest in sports.

This is a mature young writer with a future in the profession, if his dream of being a major league pitcher doesn't work out.

There's only one thing about Quinn's book that bugs me — his dream is to pitch for the New York Yankees.

Then again, Quinn would have been four the last time the Orioles were in the playoffs.

•Nobody asked me, but looking back on those old photographs of Richard Sher and Oprah on WJZ's "People Are Talking," I didn't have to read Kitty Kelley's unauthorized bio to see why the future television diva had to leave Baltimore: This town wasn't big enough for all that hair.

Fondly remembered is Mr. Sher's ever-changing hair color in the years after that. He even had what Picasso had — a blue period.

•Here's something on my to-do list for 2010: get to the races at Fair Hill on May 29 — not so much for the horses but the Jack Russells. That's right, the little dogs. They race, too. I'll be there, and I'll be taking action. Stop by my tailgate. I'll be grilling sausage and peppers.

Also at Fair Hill next month: the 50th Anniversary Colonial Highland Gathering, with, among other events, "Highland heptathlon heavy athletics" — feats of manly strength, men of big chests heaving stuff and grunting. Some of the heaving requires competitors to be not only strong but accurate, although this caution from the program guide would indicate the possibility of an occasional wild pitch: "In the interest of safety the Hammer Throw competition will be held at the lower part of the athletic area. No spectators will be allowed in the adjacent bleachers."

•I guess I'm happy for the fellow who landed a huge rainbow in the Patapsco River just after the spring trout season opened last month. The fish weighed 10.5 pounds. It was 28 inches long, with a girth of 17.5 inches. I'm sure it was a thrill for the angler who got to take that fish home for dinner. But just remember: That trout was raised in a hatchery, delivered just a few days before it was caught to a river that has been so degraded over the last three centuries that it cannot sustain wild trout but for a few cool days in spring. If more of the guys who enjoy catching their limit of stocked trout — and an occasional monster — would support river restoration efforts, they might be able to enjoy that kind of fishing all year, not just for a few days each spring.

•At a time when there seems to be a charge for everything, including carry-on bags, Mr. John P. O'Hagan found something that approached the extraordinary when he returned to Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport after a two-day trip: "I took the Park Fast Blue shuttle to get to my car. I got in the car, drove to the pay window, paid my bill, and then was directed by two employees to pull over, where they then washed my car of the pollen that had accumulated during my trip. The wash was not a simple hosing. Using suds and a brush, they gave it a thorough cleaning at no cost. Things like that generally don't happen in today's world."

•Herman Heyn, Baltimore's street corner astronomer and vigilant citizen, did some calculations and came up with this bit of perspective: The city's projected $121 million budget shortfall, which is causing layoffs and tax increases to fill, is roughly equal to about 90 minutes out of the U.S. defense budget. Mr. Heyn suggests President Obama skim $121 million out of the military treasury for Baltimore. "They won't miss it for a moment!"

Dan Rodricks' column appears Thursdays and Sundays in print and online, and Tuesdays online-only. He is host of the Midday talk show on WYPR-FM. E-mail: dan.rodricks@baltsun.com.

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