I have definitely come full circle as a writer/Dodger fan, and now that journey is complete. I can now say that I have done just about everything. (except watching the Dodgers in the world series, so almost everything, but I digress) I had yet to visit spring training at the beautiful Camelback Ranch, and I can now cross one off the bucket list.
I sit here with my Dad who has traveled across stateliness with me to watch a Baseball game that doesn’t count. Is that not the ultimate zenith of fandom? Traveling over six hours to watch a meaningless Baseball game? Yet here we are and loving every second of it. I can see a lot of the little boy in my father as his face lights up while walking into the Dodger clubhouse. A truly wonderful sight is to see your father acting like a teenager on prom night. That’s what Dodger Baseball does to us. Screw my Dad’s hockey allegiances, he still loves Baseball. He just now openly admits it. Although he still loves his Canadiens.
If you’ve never been out here to Camelback Ranch in the quiet suburbs of Glendale Arizona I suggest you do it. Initially I disliked the move from the legendary Vero Beach at Dodger town, but now I understand why. This facility is nice, and brand spanking new, with all of the modern amenities. The field is beautiful, and the ballpark is pretty spacious for s spring training field. Don’t tell anyone I said this, but the press box over here is also a hell of a lot nicer, and bigger than at Dodger Stadium. (Seriously you never heard that from me).
We had heard when we pulled up that Matt Kemp was working out in one of the back fields. We missed that, after walking around aimlessly for a while, but having a good time checking everything out. We were able to check out some batting practice for a bit. We saw the catchers taking some cuts in the cage. A.J. Ellis, Tim Federowicz, and non-roster guy Miguel Olivo took their hacks as we watched from a distance. There were more practices, and workouts going on at the other fields.
We looked around the Dodger clubhouse, checked out the media room, and got kicked out of the workout room. All in a day’s work as a writer/blogger living his dream.
There is more good news coming out of Camelback this morning. Zack Greinke is getting closer and closer to getting back to game action after recovering from a strained calf. Ditto for Matt Kemp as well as he battles back from various injuries. We should get some more answers from manager Don Mattingly after the game is over.
My Dad is still smiling like a kid in a candy store as we watch from the press box. I think that’s what Baseball and the Dodgers are all about. It’s about family, fathers and sons, and brothers and sisters. It’s about generations, and passing your love affair with Dodger Baseball down to your children.
I think it’s a lot like the late great Roy Campanella once said, you gotta have a lot of little boy in you to play this game. I think that goes the same for the writers, and fans. Now if we could just work on getting the Dodgers into the World Series, then I can check off the biggest, most important item off my bucket list.
(More pictures to come later)