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