Looks like the Baltimore Ravens really are intent on moving the line of scrimmage for fandom. Their creep into the Nation’s Capital continues later this week, with a minor league baseball appearance by draftee Tyrod Taylor.
Ravens Coach John Harbaugh, remember, all but boasted at the end of last season that his organization was going to expand its fanbase. That expansion, Harbaugh made clear, was going to be highlighted by a D.C. takeover.
Here’s the coach outlining The Harbaugh Plan:
I love the Baltimore Raven fans. We’re reaching out and trying to get more. We’re trying to take control of this whole area. We’ll take over Washington DC while we’re at it. And head up into Pennsylvania and grab all those fans, and over to West Virginia and Virginia. Come on and be a Baltimore Raven fan because this is an exciting organization and exciting football team.
Others within Steve Bisciotti‘s organization seem to be following up on the coach’s pledge, too.
Soon after Harbaugh spoke, Raven RB Ray Rice was throwing his birthday party at the Lux Lounge in downtown D.C.
Then in April’s draft, the Ravens used two picks on local (as in the D.C. market) favorites: University of Maryland wide receiver Torrey Smith in the second round, and Virginia Tech QB Taylor in the sixth.
Taylor, particularly, looked like he could have been a good pickup for the Redskins. Tech fans are loyal to their own to the point of obnoxiousness, and, well, this offseason, it’s clear the Skins are in need of not only a quarterback but some marketable bodies.
But while Mike Shanahan and Bruce Allen were moving heaven and earth to stockpile seventh-round choices, the Ravens’ Ozzie (not Smith) Newsome snagged Taylor for Baltimore, a team with a far clearer depth chart in the backfield with young franchise QB Joe Flacco.
And now, lockout notwithstanding, it looks like Taylor has been enlisted as a soldier in the Fight for Old D.C.
Taylor is the featured guest at Thursday night’s Bowie Baysox game, scheduled to throw out the first pitch and stick around to sign autographs all night.
On paper, Bowie shouldn’t be a swing city. Google Maps says the Baysox home field is 12 miles from the Redskins’ FedExField (which has hosted Virginia Tech games in the past to exploit the Hokies’ massive D.C. following) and a whopping 34 miles from the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, which has not hosted Virginia Tech games.
But the Ravens clearly feel Bowie’s in play. And I gotta think the fact they’re dangling a Hokie ain’t an accident.