It is still technically winter, but Spring has sprung within our hearts. Pitchers and catchers report to Phoenix, Arizona today and Wednesday will begin their Spring Training workouts and practice. Our ace, Clayton Kershaw, has already thrown a bullpen session on Saturday in Arizona. Some other positional players have already made the trip, and the rest will report on the 27th with the first full squad workouts held on Tuesday, February 28th. The Chicago White Sox’s pitchers and catchers will report to duty tomorrow. Everyone should be reporting healthy aside from Blake Hawksworth who is recovering from elbow surgery.
Instead of the palm trees of Los Angeles, Camelback Ranch is nestled within the cactus of the desert. I’m still getting used to the idea that the Dodgers’ Spring Training home is not in Vero Beach, Florida any longer. This is the fourth year the Grand Canyon State has welcomed the Dodgers and the White Sox for their pre-season preparations.
The 31-game Spring schedule at Camelback Ranch begins on Monday, March 5th when the Dodgers and White Sox face each other at 1:05 pm. Baseball will be played every day through April 2nd.
Camelback Ranch opened on March 1, 2009 when the Dodgers and White Sox played the home opener. The White Sox won with a score of 3-2.
The $100 million Camelback Ranch encompasses 141 acres, and is the biggest facility in the Cactus League. The facility not only contains state-of-the-art playing fields, but also walking trails, an orange grove which includes some transplanted trees from Dodgertown Vero Beach, water fountains, and a 1,300 foot, 5-acre carp-stocked lake and river system that separates the two teams’ facilities and provides irrigation for the fields and landscaping. The baseball wonderland has 13 full baseball fields and 3 half fields. CB-R has the largest capacity in the Cactus League. There are 13,000 caramel-colored seats which include 3,000 lawn seats, 12 luxury suites, and a party deck. Two of the 12 practice fields are replicas of the home fields of the Dodgers (Dodger Stadium) and White Sox (U.S. Cellular Field) complete with identical dimensions.
Camelback Ranch got its moniker from the land it was built upon which long held that name (although there was never actually a ranch). Before baseball was played there, the land was primarily used to grow Brussels sprouts and broccoli.
Designed by the Dallas-based architecture firm HKS, Camelback Ranch is built as a campus setting and has contemporary southwestern desert architecture. Real stone veneer was used in construction of many of the buildings. The facades of the buildings are painted brown, and the interior retaining walls are interestingly made of wire mesh filled with stones known as Gabion walls. The playing field is sunken 12 feet below grade while the grandstand is elevated 12 feet above grade allowing for unobstructed views.
There is less than two weeks until the first Spring game!
You can check out the Camelback Ranch official website where ticket information and special promotions can be found.