Ravens training camp vacating Westminster: It’s just business of Hardball

December 03, 2011 | Nestor Aparicio


In the most recent example of how the world has changed in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens have finally done something that’s completely rankled the feathers of the majority of purple birds in their immense fan base.

But, really, it’s not hard to anger the locals who certainly will be once-again calling for the firing of Cam Cameron on Sunday night if the 8-3 Ravens lose in Cleveland to the lowly Browns.

Our fans are emotional because they feel like the Ravens are part of their family in Baltimore.

And expectations are always high in Baltimore. Sometimes almost too high. And that extends to the “off the field” expectations from a franchise that has been among the most fan-friendly in American sports since coming from Cleveland in 1995 amidst cries of carpetbagging, lack of civic concern for Northern Ohio and shameless profiteering by Arthur B. Modell.

This moving of training camp from Westminster to Owings Mills won’t be fully understood by many in the Ravens’ fan base, who will incorrectly call this a “money move” in some way or deem it to smack of arrogance by a team that has won over the hearts of the purple metropolis since 1996 with some of the most fan-friendly policies and practices in modern sports.

The Ravens ran things differently for years until the firing of Brian Billick four years ago and the hiring of John Harbaugh changed the tone of the organization.

Under Billick and Modell the corporate mantra was “transparency” and “we do this for the fans.”

Under Harbaugh and Bisciotti, the mantra has been internal paranoia and “W.I.N.”, which translates to “What’s Important Now.”

And that always means “winning” in 2011.

And to win on the field, Coach Hardball thinks the fans and the traditions of Westminster are not as significant as a training camp that is sanitized, orderly and football-focused. The Ravens also have built a castle in Owings Mills that was made for the express purpose of winning football games and preparing football players for maximum productivity and full focus.

The Ravens are in the “business” of winning. Period.

John Harbaugh was brought in to win. Period.

My partner here at WNST.net is a guy named Brian Billick. He did more in his first month in the community than Harbaugh has done in four years but you know what Harbaugh has that my man Billick doesn’t have?

Harbaugh is now going on four consecutive Festivus – or is it Fu-stivus? – appearances and what now feels like a birthright of perennial Januarys