There’s still time to catch the Dodgers at their new, fan-friendly Spring Training home.
The low-profile stands offer great views and a good tanning opportunity.
By JORDAN IKEDA
RAFU STAFF WRITER
PHOENIX.–It used to be that fans of
the Los Angeles Dodgers would need to
hop a plane and travel three times zones
away to catch their favorite players suit
up in blue during February and March.
While Vero Beach is a beautiful place
to play, the majority of Dodgers fans living
in Los Angeles weren’t ever able to
share in the experience of spring training:
The afternoon games. The sunshine. The
blue skies. The leisurely pace. The closeness
to the stars. The simplicity of batting
practice. Yes, in the words of Allen Iverson,
we’re talking about “practice.”
Thanks to the vision of owner Frank
McCourt, Dodgers spring training has
moved back west, a lot closer to home.
About nine miles northwest of downtown
Phoenix, Ariz. located just west of
Loop 101, Camelback Ranch – Glendale
Spring Training Facility opened its gates
two months ago.
The 141-acre complex that the Dodgers
will share with the Chicago White
Sox has 13 full baseball fields—including
replicas of U.S. Cellular Field and
Dodger Stadium—three half-fields and
more than 118,000 square feet of clubhouse
A man-made lake runs down the center
of the complex separating it into two
facilities, one for the Dodgers, the other
for the White Sox, and creates a parklike
atmosphere while also serving as an
irrigation source for all the fields.
Phoenix in August is perhaps the
closest to hell’s temperature on the
face of the planet, but in February and
March? The skies are bright blue, the
air much crisper than smog-infested
Los Angeles. On many days, it’s slightly
breezy, others even a tad bit cold. But
most everyday is filled with sunshine
and 70-degree weather.
With the idyllic weather, the pristinely
cut grass, the crisp white uniforms
and the sun shimmering off the lake,
Camelback Ranch – Glendale stands as
a vibrantly green oasis that both distinguishes
itself as well as blends in with
In a word, the facility is gorgeous.
“I think it’s great,” Los Angeles resident
Steve Lin, who was attending his
first spring training game, told the Rafu
Shimpo. “It’s a great atmosphere. Great
for Dodgers fans.”
The main stadium offers the largest
seating capacity in the Cactus League—
10,000 fixed seats, 3,000 berm (grass)
seats, eight full suites, four mini-suites,
one suite-level party deck and a series of
outfield terraces that create party areas.
In addition, with most of the Cactus
League stadiums less than a one-hour
drive apart, teams and fans can travel
from site to site much more easily,
making a trip out to see not only the
Dodgers, but any of the other 14 big
This proximity also greatly benefits
the future of the Dodgers organization.
The team’s player development staff
will be able to evaluate minor league
players at early-morning workouts and
simulated games, and then travel to the
Major League games during the early
And while Camelback Ranch Glendale
will make developing future Dodgers a
year-round endeavor, the new complex
will also function as an entertainment
mecca for the surrounding city.
The lake is stocked with 6,000 small
carp opening up the possibility of local
fishing events. The facility is also highly
conducive for baseball camps, concerts,
and festivals. And the long stretches of
pathways are great for runs and walks.
And for those who feel the history
of Dodgers in Florida will be forgotten,
put your minds at ease. Various pieces
of memorabilia collected over the years
at Vero Beach are being brought over to
Camelback Ranch – Glendale including
streets signs bearing the names of Hall of
Famers Jackie Robinson, Sandy Koufax,
Tommy LaSorda and Vin Skully.
In addition, an orange grove, with
some of the trees brought over from Vero
Beach, has been planted on the site and
will bloom during March.
In fact, the whole point of moving the
Dodgers spring training to Phoenix was
to create a state-of-the-art complex that
caters to players and fans alike.
At Camelback Ranch – Glendale,
young men will grow into real ball
players. Real ball players will hone and
refine their skills under sound coaching.
Managers will prepare for the grind of
a 162 game season and find out which
players will be suiting up for the team.
Fans will be able to eat Dodger dogs,
crack open a beer, sit back and watch
their favorite players in Santa Monicatype
weather. Kids will have the opportunity
to get John Hancocks of Hiroki
Kuroda, James Loney, Russell Martin,
and of course, Manny Ramirez.
And really, that’s what spring training
is all about. That, and practice of
The Dodgers play at Camelback
Ranch through April 1, with the White
Sox continuing through April 4. For
information and tickets, visit camelbackranchbaseball.
com or call (623)