Spring Training with Stuart: Camelback Ranch
The first couple days were spent on the east side of the Phoenix side, so to get some momentum for a couple of people who would drive back to the Los Angeles area after the game, it made sense to catch two-thirds of a game on the west side of town and beat the rush out of Arizona. We’ve been to Camelback Ranch before, and I may even have written about it before, but for those that love their Spring Training, it’s never a bad thing to go and get some fresh material. One of my least favorite things about Camelback Ranch is getting there, because when you exit the 101 loop, I feel like I wait for ten minutes at the worst multi-way stop signal in Arizona.
Once you get past the signal of doom, the trek there is pretty easy, and the parking at the stadium was free, so that’s a big plus for people wondering where to go. My wife, not someone who feels the need to get to a ballgame early, influenced our arrival time at the stadium, so we got there about a half hour before gametime.
The lighting is a little poor on this shot, but it was also overcast that day, and the game really wasn’t all that very well attended by Dodger fans. I don’t expect a lot of Cleveland Indians fans to be out in large crowds for Spring Training due to the proximity of Ohio to Arizona, but it made for less heckling directed at me in my Giants gear, so I’m not going to complain.
Our seats were really close, and that’s a great feeling if you’re going to spend $40 on a couple of tickets. This does mean though, that you have to pay attention during the game, because a line drive to you could very well end you if you’re preferring tweeting to scouting.
This kind of makes this game look like a well-attended Arizona Fall League game, and you can see the press boxes near the back of the picture. You might also be able to notice in these shots that these seats do NOT have cupholders! Tsk tsk!
My wife got these “Island noodles from Hawaii” that I saw were sold at each ballpark I was at, as was the lemonade, and gelato/italian ice that was everywhere as well. Those noodles reminded me of some very salty chow mein and would not recommend you eating them. Blugh. I did get to dine on some chicken tenders and fries which were averagely delicious, and when you’re hungry, you will be fine with that. Camelback also has Dodger Dogs, in case you miss Dodger Stadium. There was also a New Era Caps kiosk near one of the dugout shops for those that need a fitted cap, but it comes out to $45, so if you can find a deal elsewhere, I recommend you do that. The kiosks were selling caps from multiple teams, not just the Dodgers.
Upgraded our seats early because there was a really annoying person next to me, and I was tired of listening to her talk. These seats were so much better, and when you have three rows of free space in front, and behind you, I feel like I’m that much more immersed in Spring Training ball, and I love that.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know I got to meet one of the few celebrities on the Cleveland Indians, as I just caught him signing pictures for a guy, and I asked him if he would take a picture with me. Jason Giambi was very pleasant and obliged, I wished him best of luck, he thanked me, and my wife and I were on our way back home.
In terms of what I think about this stadium, it’s a good one, and one I probably like more than Scottsdale, although the lawn areas are equally uninspiring, in my opinion. The feeling of Scottsdale Stadium and Camelback Ranch are different, but if I were to watch a game behind the plate at both, I have a feeling I’d prefer Camelback for reasons I can’t quite explain yet. Camelback/The Chicago White Sox is also doing some things right in that through the White Sox Live program, they will show live feed of Spring Training games going on there, and it’s not advertised on MLB.tv. Check out this place if you get a chance, and take a walking tour around the whole facility, as you can see on the Google Maps (type in Camelback Ranch – Glendale, 10710 West Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ to Google Maps to find), there’s plenty to look at, especially when there are teams practicing some baseball.