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Ravens add splash of purple to Westminster for playoffs

Baltimore RavensFootballMarketingIndianapolis ColtsCory ReddingRay Lewis

Not everyone can be like Westminster Mayor Kevin Utz, who can satisfy his craving for Ravens purple with a visit to the "Ravens Room" in his married daughter's home on William Avenue.

Those who may not need a room featuring Ravens photos on the walls, autographed helmets and a football signed by Ray Lewis need only to walk around town this week.

To add a little fuel to the fire for the team's first-round wild card playoff game at M&T Bank Stadium against the Indianapolis Colts, the Ravens again painted the bird head and "TEAM" mantra in purple and black in approximately 30 locations in Carroll County, including several in downtown Westminster.

"Westminster always has a place in the Ravens' heart and we always strive to include them in all that we do," said Heather Harness, the Ravens marketing and advertising manager.

Harness said the team that painted the stencils in the Westminster area was one of 16 groups of three to five people that mobilized to paint the Ravens' logo and "TEAM" at more than 300 locations throughout the Baltimore metro area.

"We're always honored when the Ravens want to come back," Utz said this week before the team's fifth consecutive appearance in the playoffs. "We always have the home team spirit."

That spirit was tested, he admitted, when the team decided to end the long-standing tradition of holding summer training camp in Westminster.

"It was a shame," he said. "The city was just getting into it. The businesses were just getting into it. It kind of bummed everybody out."

"I cried," said Sarah Redding, manager at Johannson's Dining House on Main Street. "But I understood the business aspect of it, why they were doing it.

"Time heals all wounds," said Redding, who has a Ravens jersey with "Redding" for former defensive lineman Cory Redding in her wardrobe. "We get to see them in different communities. They're in the area. They're still making appearances. It's just not like seeing them three weeks in a row (during the summer)."

Redding said her position at Johannson's provides an ideal setting to show off her Ravens apparel.

"Every Friday is Purple Friday," she said.

And while she was happy to see a Ravens stencil outside the restaurant, she'd said she be happy to see it all year long and not just for the playoffs.

"I want the Ravens bird on the water tower at McDaniel College," she said.

That passion for the team in purple is easy to find throughout the town.

Cal Bloom said he was surprised, but happy, to see a Ravens stencil outside his barber shop on Main Street.

He can recall the days cutting the hair of Baltimore Colts such as legendary Hall of Fame quarterback John Unitas and defensive tackle Billy Ray Smith, who lived in the area.

"I was a Colts fan until they left," he said. "After that, I really didn't root for anybody, except maybe the (Canadian Football League Baltimore) Stallions."

Bloom said he shares a season-ticket with his friend Jack Buchheister, a former high school football teammate at Westminster.

"At one point, I could say I played for the best and worst football teams Westminster ever had," said Bloom of the 9-0-1 team of his junior year and 0-9-1 team of his senior year.

Bloom said he will be out of town and won't be attending the Ravens game on Sunday. Last year, he said, he was out of the country and was awakened at 4:30 a.m. by a phone call from a friend back home giving him the playoff report.

Utz said knows where he'll be for the 1 p.m. contest. He'll be at his daughter's house, watching the game with her family and some other invited guests in a room made for Ravens fans.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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