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


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


  1. 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. 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. Nes,

    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. 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. 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?

  6. 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!

  7. 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……..

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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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