Once upon a time in a place called “The Land of Pleasant Living,” there was a professional basketball team. And this basketball team was proudly named the Baltimore Bullets because of their fantastic power and amazing speed.

The Bullets played with Cavaliers, Hawks and even Supersonics. The Bullets were pretty good as they were perennial playoff contenders. They had many loyal fans who loved them unconditionally. If the Bullets won or lost, the fans still loved them.

But one day, out of nowhere, to a place not too far away, the Bullets decided to pull up their roots and skip town. They didn’t love their fans anymore. They were more in love with making as much money as possible. So they moved, and never came back.

The people of Baltimore who loved their Bullets had to learn that love and loyalty don’t really matter.

And the people of Baltimore were sad.

The Bullets were so hungry for more money, they kept changing their name, from the Baltimore Bullets to the Capitol Bullets. And then to the Washington Bullets and finally the Washington Wizards because they didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. (Which we all know is a bunch of disgusting stuff.)

But the people of Baltimore were happy because they still had their Colts and their Orioles. For a few years, everything in Baltimore was swell … until a grumpy, nasty, selfish, old man named Bob Irsay decided he also wanted more money. So without telling anyone, in the middle of a cold, snowy night, the grumpy, nasty, selfish, old man moved the Colts to Indianapolis.

And everyone in Baltimore was sad.

Ironically, even with lots of money, the grumpy, nasty, selfish, old man was still a grumpy, nasty, selfish, old man. So he lived the rest of his sorry life as a grumpy, nasty, selfish old man.

And the people of Baltimore finally put the grumpy, nasty, selfish, old man and his Colts behind them, because they knew they were lucky that they still had the Orioles.

And everything in Baltimore was swell. Everyone loved the Orioles.

But once again, greed set in and someone named Edward Bennett Williams cried and cried and cried, threatening to move the Orioles out of Baltimore if he didn’t get what his spoiled tuches wanted. The people of Baltimore were sad, but this time they jumped all over their sleeping elected officials and said, “If you want to keep your jobs, don’t let the Orioles leave Baltimore!”

And the elected officials woke up and saved the day by building the Orioles the best baseball stadium in the entire galaxy. And the elected officials were able to stay elected.

The people of Baltimore thought they had heard it all and were done being sad – but no way, Jose! Along came the Stronach Group empire from another galaxy and they said, “You made a nice place for the Orioles to fly in AND you even built another nice place for Ravens to fly in. So we want a nice place where our horses can run fast and faster in, so we can take as much money as possible from people who really can’t afford to lose it.’

And once again, the people of Baltimore were sad.

Then, the leaders of the Stronach empire lied right through their teeth and said, “Don’t worry, we won’t go away! So go to your bank, empty it with everything you’ve got and give it all to us. If you don’t, we’ll take Mr. Ed and never come back!”

So the moral of the story is, if we don’t remember what happened to the Bullets, you can kiss the Preakness goodbye.

A former businessman with an extensive background in community service, Charlie Levine is founder and executive director of the Team Up For 1 Foundation, a nonprofit that connects children with challenges to the experience of team sports. He is also former executive director of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

Also see: Pimlico’s Murky Future Hovers over this Weekend’s Preakness





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