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Shanahan's sad story continues with shooting


Sad story continues

The latest Danny Shanahan incident -- what appears to have been a near-suicidal confrontation with police officers over the weekend -- came out of nowhere, like a sudden ball of fire up an abandoned mine shaft. Shanahan, the former cop, is like a character out of a Joseph Wambaugh novel, except the story never seems to end -- and the character is real.

I think of Shanahan and think of the pain he brought the Police Department, the city and a family more than a decade ago, after the death of Booker Lancaster in the summer of 1983. I think of the pathetic scene in Judge Walter Black's federal courtroom two years later, when Shanahan faced sentencing for his role in a bank robbery, and unloaded all his desperation. It shot out of him in short bursts: "I'm 30 years old, my life is ruined. ... I was put under a severe amount of pressure. I killed a man. A man died in my arms ... and because he was black and I was white ... and Billy Murphy and Kurt Schmoke, and everything ballooned on me. Here's a boy who went to Catholic high school, lettered in four sports, and suddenly he's on trial ... with a hundred thousand dollars in lawyer's fees ... and all this welled up. It was too much for me to handle. I'm a broken person, down on the ground and still being kicked, nowhere to go." He was a disgraced cop headed for jail, a man who would have to live with himself and the pain of memory, then try to move on, and hope for peace. It appears he has not found it yet.

Cops become cowboys

Ask Sykesville Police Chief Wallace P. "Mitch" Mitchell how to put an errant bull back to pasture; his reply: "Very carefully."

The chief was running radar on Route 32 during a recent morning rush hour when a passing motorist notified him that a longhorn bull was wandering along the highway. Confronted with several uniformed officers, the 800-pound bull became surprisingly cooperative. Police herded the bull back into the field through a hole in the fence, probably the point of its original escape.

Said Mitch: "The farmer has an electric fence and barbed wire, but he could beef up security more."

Angelos' story doesn't wash

I see by the papers where Peter Angelos finds it "a little fishy" that the San Francisco Giants quickly signed Jon Miller to a five-year deal to broadcast games out there. We're supposed to believe Miller never gave the Orioles a chance and had been plotting a departure for months.

As the 6-year-old boy who lives in my house says: "Yeah, right."

Mr. Pete's surprise that another team would readily grab Miller, the nation's best baseball broadcaster, tells you why he needs to find a corporate giant to sue. He really needs something -- and you'd think the state's suit against the tobacco industry would be sufficient -- to keep himself busy as a trial attorney. Because, Bobby Bo or no, it's clear Mr. Pete should let someone else run the Orioles. Maybe Mr. Pete should take up a hobby. I'll be glad to teach him how to jig for bass or catch crabs off the Potee Street bridge. I have a friend who is deep into Civil War re-enactments; maybe Mr. Pete would like to play Johnny Reb dress-up. It looks like fun.

Anything to keep himself busy during the off-season. And reduce stress. And save the rest of us.

Mr. Pete really blew this one.

He can call it "fishy," but the only thing that smells here is the Mr. Pete's complete miscalculation of the value of Miller. The big guy wasn't enough of a "homer"? He didn't "bleed orange and black"? Come on. Over the last 13 years, a lot of people followed the Orioles because of Miller, not in spite of him. If there's a more entertaining, knowledgeable and sharp-eyed broadcaster of baseball in America, I haven't heard him recently.

"He's a better announcer than Bob Costas," Mr. Pete told Sun columnist Michael Olesker. Angelos is right about that. But for all the wrong reasons, and I'll tell you what I mean. Anyone who heard Costas on NBC during the American League Championship Series knows that he gave himself away completely as a "homer" who bleeds pinstripes. No matter how you dress him up -- Mani sport coats, Tommy Hilfiger ties -- Costas' passion for the Yankees was obvious and, after one game, obnoxious. Joe Morgan saved those broadcasts.

Miller, by contrast, never gave himself away as a fan (or well-paid employee) of the Orioles during his and Morgan's excellent coverage of the playoff games with Cleveland on ESPN. I remarked about it at the time because it was so impressive. It's what we call professional, first class, smart. And no matter how you dress it up -- Hawaiian shirts from the Tall & Big Men's Store -- that's what you get from Miller on the radio, through good seasons and bad. Indeed, it's what makes him better than Bob Costas and all the rest.

As readers of this column know, we have been soliciting nominations for the Maryland Museum of Bad Ideas. If we ever build this museum, the Angelos decision to let Miller go -- to not sign him months ago to a long-term contract -- will be memorialized in bronze and given a prominent place in the lobby.

Pub Date: 11/06/96

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