Ravens training camp decision makes sense … but it still hurts a little

December 02, 2011 | Drew Forrester


by hoping beyond hope he could convince the powers-that-be to go back to Westminster.

And sources say the club is very aware and already working hard on a plan to give the fans at least three opportunities to watch a Ravens practice or participate in some sort of team event next August.  Expect those open-to-the-public gatherings to be held at McDaniel, Stevenson University and downtown at M&T Bank Stadium.  One of those events could even be a controlled scrimmage against either the Redskins or Eagles, in fact.

Until those plans are published and we see exactly what the Ravens plan on doing for their fan-base next August, I’ll withhold criticizing them.  I’ve been around the organization enough to know they’ll take the fans into account and do more than enough to satisfy them with a variety of different opportunities next August.

If it comes to pass that they DON’T fulfill their obligation to keep the fans involved during training camp, I’ll clip their wings accordingly.

But I’m sure they’ll make good on their promise to keep the fans happy.

In the meantime, this is all a reasonable decision on their part, made even more simple by the fact that the new CBA effectively eliminates two-a-day-practices and calls for less contact than in previous years.  Why take your entire operation to Westminster for a 2 hour and 45 minute practice session each day?  That’s yet another reason why Owings Mills makes sense now.

For an organization concerned more about winning than anything – including making money – this was the right move.  A team source tells me it probably costs the club roughly $250,000 in “profit” by staying at Owings Mills and not going to McDaniel, but in the end, winning and having the team ready won out over money.

That’s the way it should be, frankly.

I know another team in town that would take the $250,000 first, and wonder how they can win later.

Now, it’s up to the Ravens to make sure they keep the fans involved next August.

If they do that, all’s well that ends well.

13 Comments For This Post

  1. eric Says:

    It makes NO sense. It reeks of the same arrogance the O’s had in the mid 90’s drawing 3.5 mil fans and saying “Hey we can afford to irritate people” by not having promotional giveaways and coming up with Gestapo tactics dealing with the media. The Ravens bent over backwards to get fans when they moved here and now that they are a behemoth they are telling us to take a flying leap and if we don’t like it there are plenty of fans ready to take your tickets. Very surprising attittude by an organization that normally does everything right on and off the field. (DF: Bizarre take, but not surprising. You must not be reading or listening very carefully, only (over) reacting. They’ve said “we’re going to come out with a plan to make sure the fans know we care about them”. And as I wrote, I’ll take them at their word on that until I see otherwise. The Ravens have been successful for the better part of a decade or so…they’ve had plenty of opportunities to become “high and mighty” and they’ve never done it. This is absolutely the right thing for them to do, as long as they come up with opportunities for the fans to still see the team up close and personal.)

  2. clifclav Says:

    I always thought training camp was a stupid and anachronistic holdover from days when guys were getting fat and out of shape in the off season and they needed to be whipped into shape and locked down at night.

    It makes little sense to have a multi-million dollar, state of the art facility for training, planning and physical therapy and then leave that facility in the most important month of the year. (The month before the season starts!)

    Stay at Owings Mills, have four or five free, open practices around town and get ready for the season in the best place you can.

    Good decision.

  3. jpetrosino Says:

    It’s an inconvience for 10-20 people in the Raven’s organization so it’s better to inconvience/dissappoint 100,000 raven fans who go out of their way to the practices each year.

    How about spending money on modernizing McDaniel college with the realization you will have a tighter bond with your fans for years andd years to come in order to ensure the sell out crowds of 70,000 screaming fans plus merchandise….Sounds like they are taking advice from Angelos, let’s hope the Ravens don’t screw this up like the Orioles…(i.e. it’s expensive to be cheap). (DF: No, Joe. It’s a pain the butt for EVERYONE in the organization. Not 10-20. And let’s wait and see what options they offer the fans for coming out and meeting and seeing the players next summer. Shouldn’t we do that first?)

  4. Joe Says:

    Did I read this correctly that the Ravens will lose $250,000.00 by moving training camp to its own facility? I don’t understand how that is. Mike Preston suggested that the Ravens lost money by holding training camp in Westminster. I trust your analysis more than his. Please explain how they lose money by this move. Thank you.

  5. David F Says:

    There is no way to replicate what fans got at McDaniel by having a couple of mass group outings at M&T Bank Stadium. I understand the need to win but winning at all costs and possibly costing fans a chance to go see the Ravens in a more intimate setting is just setting up for failure the first time the Ravens have an off year. I think the Ravens made a mistake by just looking at the bottom line. (DF: Which bottom line? The financial bottom line? Did you read the piece I wrote? They LOSE money by going to Owings Mills. What’s the other bottom line? Winning. If that’s what you mean, you’re right, they’re choosing Owings Mills over McDaniel because of winning and because of the CBA and because no one in the organization except the owner wants training camp in Westminster.)

  6. Virg Says:

    You’re right – it is ALL about winning. This team could NEVER win a Super Bowl while having camp at Westminster. Oh…wait a minute…never mind. The comparisons to the Orioles are 100% appropriate in this case. This comes down to not caring what the fans think, as long as 73,000+ are at the stadium on Sundays. They just better keep winning if they are going to treat the fans like this. Just ask the Orioles.

  7. steve Says:

    look, I get it….obviously folks don’t understand “the new NFL”…the players ‘gave back’ a bunch of money and in return ‘got back’ alot of time in the form of fewer off season work outs, mini’s and reduced training camp

    people need to understand that while it was nice to visit McDaniel for a practice in the summer (I did on several occasions w/my grandson), “that NFL” no longer exists…

    I’m sure the Ravens will make every effort to work a few “fan friendly” experiences into the program this summer….they have proved time and time again to me they do it the right way–I’ll allow them the opportunity to work that out before I even begin to compare them to the Orioles…for those that have, seriously—think about that for just a second…Steve, Ozzie&Co are in a different stratosphere as compared to the boys in Orange

  8. John Says:

    Steve Bisciotti should have had the stones to say no when it hit his desk. He should have told his football people to stop with the excuses and make it happen. His chief competitors the Pittsburgh Steelers train at a college 40 miles away and it sucks to admit but they been pretty successful.

  9. Joe Says:

    Drew, if this were the Os doing this, you and Nestor would be all over this like flys over s–t. The Ravens are looking at the bottom line, pure and simple, and to Hell with the fans!! In the beginning, Westminster served the Ravens objective of expanding their fanbase and packing their newly constructed stadium. This all sounds a little Snyderesque to me, so how ’bout treating this the same way you would if it was the Orioles pulling this stuff. (DF: I’m amazed at how many people don’t get it. You being one of them. The Ravens are LOSING money by going to Owings Mills, the Orioles would only make a decision like this if they MADE money. Next, they’re NOT saying “to hell with the fans” – yet. They’re saying, “Give us a couple of months to get our plan together and we’ll show you how we plan on making this up to you.” Do you not get that? When spring rolls around, they’ll roll out a program designed to allow the fans access to the team in the off-season. Some of that will be controlled by the CBA, not the Ravens. So let’s see what that plan is, first, before we make a horse’s ass out of ourselves by writing stupid stuff like…”If this were the Orioles”)

  10. barnyard Says:

    Drew, It makes little difference to me where they train but it does to a lot of the fans. I hope the organization can enlist some sort of program where fans could watch the Ravens practice. The once or even twice open house @ M&t stadium is ok but not enough. The fans are important, at least I would like to believe they are driven by the fans & not just the T.V.revenues.

  11. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    Actually, it hurts….alot! The tradition started for me with my Dad back in 1953 and continued with my sons and for the past few years with my grandchildren. It was an opportunity for a community to “bond” with it’s team and visa versa. That the decision was based on the “bottom line” in addition to logistics is indicative of the world in which we live today. I have no doubt that Bisciotti will find a way to assuage the sense of loss with an alternate plan. But, it’s just another reminder that the “good old days” are……long gone!

  12. Coachviper Says:

    I don’t like it but will I stop rooting for the purple and black? No. Will I stop wearing my Flacco or Rice or Lewis jersey and purple camo pants? No. Will I take down my Ravens flag? No. It’s just business. Don’t ever forget that sports is a business and the “model” has changed. If the model changes again and having a camp away from the Castle make business sense, management will be smart enough to see that and will change again. Get over it!

  13. Justafan Says:

    Perhaps if the Ravens could make arrangements with Stevenson University to conduct some of the scrimmages in their new football stadium, fans would still be able to attend some of the training camp sessions. The college’s athletic facilities are practically next door to the Ravens training facility and may be a viable alternative if the logistics can be worked out.

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