For those of you fans of the Baltimore Ravens who head out to Westminster this summer for Training Camp, don't expect to score any player autographs unless you bring a kid with you. The Ravens are instituting a new policy only allowing kids under the age of 15 to get onto the field after practice for player signatures. Furthermore, they have to sign up and get special wristbands and only then will they be allowed one autograph per person. In addition, autograph sessions will only take place after the morning practices, not the afternoon ones, as players have other obligations in their training camp regimen.
Sounds like a bit of a complicated way to go about this, but if you have been out there and seen the mass of humanity that literally engulfs the players you might understand the team's dilemma. Kids who are just interested in the thrill of the player giving them the attention to sign for them are pushed out of the way by the big "kids" who sometimes have ulterior motives when requesting signatures on their items.
Personally, I just don't get the "selling autographs" thing, as the greatest thrill for me had always been having the item personally addressed to me, thereby making it pretty worthless on the open market, which was never an issue with me. However, there are truly innocent adults that just want the signatures on items that now will have to find another way to get them.
Click on the 'Jump' to see the team's official press release.
July 13, 2010
For Immediate Release
NEW AUTOGRAPH POLICY AT ‘RAVENS TRAINING CAMP, CONNECTED BY VERIZON’
The Ravens will institute a new autograph policy at training camp, which begins at McDaniel College on July 27, the first day practices are open to the public.
(Rookies and selected veterans report to "Ravens Training Camp, Connected by Verizon" on Monday, July 26, and this group practices twice each on July 27 and 28. Veterans report on July 28, and the first full-team practices open to the public will take place on July 30. There is an "Administrative Day" on July 29 that is not open to the public or media.)
Players will sign autographs for children only after all morning practices. Autographs will not be available following afternoon practices.
Safety is the key factor for the change. "We have considered changing the way we do autograph signings for a few years," team president Dick Cass said. "Our crowds for the morning practices have become so large that we’ve had safety situations with people pushing each other to try and get closer to the players. Often times, children would be put in difficult positions with the rush for autographs, especially from our most popular players."
Many NFL teams select a few players each day to sign a limited number of autographs in a designated area. "We want to keep the spontaneity and closeness we have with our fans who come to training camp," Cass added. "The connectivity we have with our fans at camp is important to us and a Ravens’ tradition. We know that every person who comes to camp and wants an autograph cannot get one because of the players’ schedules. Under our new system, more children will have the opportunity, and that’s important to us."
Children ages 6 through 15 will be allowed on the field after each morning practice. Children must wear a Ravens-issued wristband to enter the autograph area. There will be a tent adjacent to the fields where wristbands will be issued. Children can bring one item to be autographed, and adults will not be allowed to enter the autograph area.
Please note that two-thirds of the team has a post-practice football activity after every morning session. One-third of the team is required to lift weights. Another third is required to attend "Back School," which is a core workout usually done outside. The other third is available to sign autographs. Team schedules are subject to change, and not every child is guaranteed an autograph.