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

December 03, 2011 | Nestor Aparicio


here under his leadership and the “reign of offensive terror” of Cam Cameron and Joe Flacco, who have only been winners in purple.

Some in our Baltimore Ravens fanbase will never be satiated by the franchise but no one can ever question their commitment to doing EVERYTHING possible to win.

And if you ever take THAT for granted just walk across the parking lot to see what happens when a franchise is more focused on profit than winning. The Orioles’ every move smacks of shameless profiteering and their players and front office have systematically made every move possible to alienate fans by losing and disassociating themselves with the community right down to refusing to have “Baltimore” on the front of their road jerseys for years. And try to go get some Orioles’ autographs this month in Baltimore…or next month…or even at their FanFest, where they’ll charge you to be in the presence of the likes of Josh Bell or Brad Bergesen. And if you want to see their “training camp” you’ll need a plane ticket and hotel rooms in Sarasota.

Let’s give some long-overdue credit here: the Ravens are pretty freaking special. In almost every way they’ve managed to exceed every expectation since arriving off the boat from the Cuyahoga and drafting Jon Ogden and Ray Lewis on their first day of business as Baltimore’s football team.

(I would remind you that YOU wanted them to draft Lawrence Phillips on April 19, 1995 and that was the first time they made you angry – that is if you’ve been a fan that long.)

But the Ravens were a baby that was never supposed to be born. The NFL didn’t want a team in Baltimore. Then-Commissioner Paul Tagliabue wanted nothing to do with teams 38 miles apart and the sacking of the traditions of the Cleveland Browns in early 1996.

But in the 16 years since Art Modell gave Baltimore the ability to “Ball So Hard,” the Ravens haven’t made a lot of noise for bad decisions or policies that affected the fans beyond the purchase of PSLs back in 1998 when the Crab Cake opened downtown.

And now – after capturing your heart with almost two decades of unparalleled civic dedication – in 2011 the only thing they give a rat’s ass over there in Owings Mills about is WINNING. That’s it.

You might as well accept it and embrace it. You can bitch about the access, the autographs, the history, how much you loved going to Westminter, what a shame it is that Carroll County won’t have the August economic boon…whatever.

These days, John Harbaugh runs the show and he thinks it’s all a distraction.

And he’s probably right.

The chicks in bikinis. The kids screaming. The autograph hounds taking snapshots and posting some of the stuff for sale on Ebay faster than you can say “upload.” The hot days for the players. The crappy locker rooms

11 Comments For This Post

  1. John Says:

    It’s all excuses Nestor. It doesn’t matter where you train. If Billick had Flacco and Rice he would be just as successful as Harbaugh and if Harbs has Ron Johnson, Randy Hymes and Clarence Moore he would be fired and working in Philly holding Andy Reid’s lunch. The Steelers, Colts and Pats hold open training camps and they been to the last decade worth of Super Bowls. There is no excuse the Ravens can’t make that happen.

  2. Larry Bruggeman Says:

    This decision has nothing to do with money since the Ravens actually make money going to Westminster thru corporate sponsorships etc. It is about a control freak head coach who cares nothing at all about the young fans of the Ravens or any fan. His only concern is do I have absolute control over everything concerning this football team? He doesn’t care about the tradition of taking you children or grandchildren in my case to Ravens camp to get up close to the players they idolize. His kids only have to ask daddy and they get anything they want visa-a-via Ravens. I wonder How many 10 or 11 year olds that cannot go to training camp now will be Ravens fans when they are 24 or 25 and old enough to buy season tickets. I played football thru college and coached for 22 years and never saw any coach as paranoid as John Harbaugh. I had Baltimore Colt, USFL Stars, Baltimore Stallions, and now own 3 Ravens PSL’s and was looking forward to obtaining a 4th so I could leave each of my grandchildren a ticket in my will like my grandfather did with Colt tickets. Now I might sell them and take them on a crusie instead. Greed takes many forms not just money and it this case it was Harbaugh’s greed for power that has turned me off of Baltimore professional football after 56 years. Sad so sad

  3. Steve in Bel Air Says:


    When I first heard the Ravens were moving training camp, and the impact to Westminster, the first thought I had was “It’s not the Ravens’ responsibility to keep the town of Westminster in business.” I understand the business people and McDaniel being disappointed, but the decision makes perfect sense to me.

    I heard Ed Reed on another station last night, and he said he has been asking for this for years. He was not hiding how he felt, and I got the impression that a lot of guys felt the same way. He said he took his own bed to the Best Western. Some would say these guys are spoiled, but I think they want a quality football camp that makes them winners, and I’m ok with that.

  4. stan Says:

    who cares about training camp?the purpose of camp is to get ready for a 16 game 5 month season,not sign autographs.I’ve been out to Westminster once and i didnt enjoy the ride,the parking or the heat.I understand people who are pissed and all,but you’ll get over it as long as the team wins.The Ravens have always done right by the fans and this city and im sure they will do the right thing.The Ravens have grown their fan base by winning on and off the field but holding camp in Westminster wasnt benafical for the franchise or the players.people who say this is a money move have no clue what they talking about

  5. unitastoberry Says:

    Just keep winning. They can train anywhere they want. We want another Superbowl.

  6. Russ Says:

    If you fans think it sucks not having practices in Westminster for three weeks, just remember the years of not having football at all after the Colts left. Besides would you really want your team having practices at some lowly college or at a facility that is second to none in the NFL?

  7. Chad T Says:

    One question: would the “fan-owned” green bay packers move training camp to a plush, hoity-toity complex where no fans can see? No. I’m the biggest ravens fan out there, but you can’t just always give them a free pass because they are the ravens. They made a mistake here. It’s been 11 years since we won a Super Bowl, which isn’t yesterday anymore. And the team that just won it (and are the favorites this year and undefeated), are actually OWNED by the fans. Goes to show, you don’t have to be “all corporate” to be successful. Great points nester.
    E VERYONE: look for more details on ravens roost 115 in westminster’s ravens rally on dec. 17th. We are not giving up!

  8. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    Some traditions die hard and, no doubt, this one will,too. From 1953, when visits to Westminster became annual rituals for my Dad and me, through the same with my sons and in recent years, my grandchildren, I’ll miss it. But, everything changes and tempest fugits! My guess is that Bisciotti will find a way to placate the fans and assuage the hurt feelings because this organization has a history of doing the right thing. As for Cameron, win, lose or draw from here on in, I hope he’s not back next year……..

  9. slowboater Says:

    Just because “fanatics” are what pay the bills doesn’t necessarily equate to doing everything the fans want. If the owner thinks or supports what he feels, is the best for the team, I have no problem with that support.
    If you, as a fan, feel “slighted” by the move then that is your right. Just like it is the Ravens right to do what they think is best for the team.

  10. harry o'sullivan Says:

    Larry Bruggeman Says: I happen to agree with LARRY. Harbaugh givs us all that FAN P/R after the game about how important the Fans are. I always say.. put your money where your mouth is. Well, The Ravens just showed how much they care about US FANS. I have been going to Westminster since the days of Johnny Unitas… The Ravens Just killed another great Baltimore Football Tradition.

  11. Tom Says:

    It’s just as hot in Owings Mills as it is in Westminster.

    The lockout gave the team the excuse it needed to abandon what Bisciotti claimed was so important to him has a child. If I hadn’t already sold my season tickets for financial reasons, I’d consider doing so – because while I can take my kids to training camp, I couldn’t trust the boozed-up fans in my section not to watch their tongue.

    Still a fan, but as Nestor points out with the Orioles – it’s ALL about money – even for the Ravens at the end of the day.

    If it were about winning, are you telling me that Bouldin dropped that pass last year in Pitt that would have sent the Ravens to the Super Bowl because of where they held training camp that year?

    Not buying it for a second.

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