Carroll County Times

Bird at Play: Bring MLS to Baltimore

One of my greatest days of being a sports fan, and there are many highlights to what I've been blessed to witness in the world of sports, happened on May 19, 1973.

My grandfather arranged to have us take a bus with a group to the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. My first horse race that I can remember was the middle leg of one of the greatest runs by the greatest horse of all time, Secretariat, en route to his Triple Crown victory.

What made it more special that day was that through this same group I had the opportunity to meet, shake hands with, and get an autograph from the greatest quarterback of all time, Johnny Unitas. This would be my first of many trips to the infield at the Preakness Stakes but one that I will treasure for the rest of my life. And not just because I can't quite remember the other ones.

The group that included me as their guest on such a wonderful sports day was then known as the Colts Corral. This concept of the local fan club has carried on their tradition of support and charity through the organization now known as the Ravens Roost. They are not just fans to provide support for the Baltimore Colts or Ravens, they are a group of people that do a tremendous amount of charity work, a chance to give back to the community that gives us so much in the way of entertainment.

That's the same concept we had in mind with the development of the "LORDS" of Baltimore - the Leaders Of Regional Development of Soccer - through the support of our hometown team, the Baltimore Bohemians. Their season begins in less than a month, ironically Preakness Saturday, and we look to pattern our level of support around the most successful fan bases in Major League Soccer - those of Philadelphia, Seattle and Portland - with the goal of attracting the attention of the MLS leaders.

We have many things we'd like to do with the concept of the "LORDS" to help in the development of soccer, but we also know that we need to keep our focus laser sharp on our main goal through this program, the Kicking It with Bird & Mook radio show, and our work behind the scenes, and that is to bring a professional soccer franchise to Baltimore. Our motto is "Let's Go Pro" and we will create every opportunity to demonstrate to the MLS that they need to be here in Baltimore.

To do that, we need the help of every soccer fan to rally behind this concept and make it out to some games, participate in fundraising events, and become a true supporter of all things Baltimore soccer. It's time we "put our money where our mouth is," so to speak, and demand attention from the MLS. I encourage you to look online for videos on the supporters of the teams mentioned above and commit to bringing the same level of fanatical support here to our community.

Time to get on the Boh Bus.

Won't you do your part to help us build this franchise? One day it may be the highlight of your grandkid's day.