Honestly, this young man made his father proud


Jack McGlone plays shortstop for the Cardinals of the Towson Recreation Council's Farm League, where the players are between 6 and 8 years old. Jack's team had a playoff game Saturday morning against the Dodgers, managed by Gene Cunningham. The Cardinals, with their big bats, scored early and built on their lead throughout the game. The Dodgers tried valiantly to chip away at it.

As his opponents threatened to score in the fifth inning, with Dodgers at first and second and one out, young McGlone snatched a hard-hit grounder at short, reached for and appeared to tag the Dodger runner coming off second base, then stepped on the bag to force out the runner from first. Double play!

Or so we all thought.

As everyone cheered and his teammates started to run off the field, Jack McGlone did the right thing. "I never touched him!" he yelled, meaning he'd missed the tag. The umpire, who did not have a clear view of the play, deferred to the honesty of the Cardinal shortstop and ordered play resumed with two outs. A big hand went up for young Jack McGlone, the coach's son, who'd made his dad proud on Father's Day weekend. The rest of us felt pretty good about the whole thing, too.

Leadership lacking

The first time I went to Wagner's Point, the first two people I met had cancer. They'd stepped out of a bar to shake hands with Harry "Soft Shoes" McGuirk, then the state senator for the neighborhood. One of the men I'd met had just had a throat operation; the woman I met had been diagnosed with cancer, too. That was years ago, but cancer remains the most striking thing about Wagner's Point, an enclave of 96 rowhouses surrounded by heavy industry. The rates of leukemia, lung cancer and lymphoma are well above Baltimore's average, according to the city Health Department.

The people who live there want out, and they want the city to buy their houses for about four times their market values. The city sent Wagner's Point a short letter rejecting the idea late last week.

Maybe the price of the buyout is too high, but I'll tell you one thing: The city ought to do something. The mayor ought to meet with the Pointers again and assemble a team to help them find new housing in the city. He ought to step into that matter with passion and wisdom -- not just legal concerns -- to show he truly cares, especially about keeping institutions and people in the city.

That used to be a clearly stated, frequently expressed goal of the occupant of City Hall. It should be again.

The 11,000-member Bethel A.M.E. Church has been looking to build a large facility to serve its growing congregation, but it appears to be headed outside the city to do so. The ideal would have been for Bethel, anchored in Baltimore, to expand in a corner of the city, perhaps on the northwest side. Though the mayor showed the Rev. Frank M. Reid III, his stepbrother and Bethel's charismatic pastor, a few possible sites in the city, he didn't give the impression that he was on the case day and night. And now Bethel has its eye on land in Granite in southwestern Baltimore County. With so much at stake, you would have expected a little more gusto from Hizzoner.

Last year, a couple considering a rowhouse purchase in Otterbein were robbed in Federal Hill and announced they would buy a house in Baltimore County instead. A personal visit to that couple would have sent a valuable message: The robbery was practically an aberration for that part of town, and the city really welcomes new taxpaying residents to our reborn neighborhoods.

Too often, we get the sense from the present mayor that all he can think to do is shrug.

Is there only so much a mayor can do? Yes. But that does not mean that he should surrender to inevitabilities. When USF&G; decided a few years ago to pull out of its landmark downtown office tower, the mayor decided, early on, that the move was inevitable but made no effort to stop it. The very practical mayor might have been right. But he left the impression of a man sitting on his hands.

Taking offense

A loyal TJI reader, Arthur Sudler, took offense at an image I presented in this column Friday. Facetiously suggesting ways that hunters could instill fear in the resurgent black bears of western Maryland, I proposed killing one and hanging it from a tree with a note warning other bears the same could happen to them. Sudler believes this conveyed the image of a lynching of a black man; the use of it in a tongue-in-cheek column was inappropriate, and he was offended by it. Raising the painful image of lynchings was not my intention. I appreciate Sudler's remarks and welcome comment from readers who care about this column.

A four-star Mushu

I stack "Mulan" near the top of the Disney animated musical films of the last decade. Artistically, it's way up there; musically it's in the middle somewhere -- well behind "Beauty and The Beast" and "Lion King," but ahead of " Pocahontas" and "Aladdin." I never thought any character could top Robin Williams' genie in "Aladdin." That remains one of the top comedic performances of all time, period, paragraph.

But Eddie Murphy's Mushu in "Mulan" is four-star, over the top, da bomb. Who cares if the patois is out of character, or out of period for ancient China? My God, Robin Williams was doing his William F. Buckley Jr. imitation in the setting of a legendary Arabian night. Murphy's Mushu had me in stitches and the kids in giggles. Overall, the movie gets three stars from my tribe. It's a good story with a profound lesson, especially for little girls (though I think Mulan's efforts to emulate male comrade soldiers may have contributed to my 5-year-old daughter's spitting spree Friday afternoon). Tell you one thing: I had cravings for Chinese food and went directly to Panda King, Lutherville, for the luncheon lo mein right after the movie.

Pub Date: 6/22/98

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