Friday, March 13, 2015

Camelback Ranch

Large Bobblehead of Tommy Lasorda
I continue to be impressed with Cactus League ballparks. There has been a slew of rebuilds and renovations during the past decade and it makes for baseball in some pretty sweet confines. Camelback Ranch is one of the more unique ballparks in the league. The main buildings, that include both the Dodgers and White Sox offices and the main stadium office, are made of a sort of flagstone. They remind me of the buildings that one sees at the larger national parks. I wasn't really sure if I was at a baseball game or Yellowstone. This is also another ballpark with nicely done landscaping. Perhaps its most unique feature is the rest of the main structures not covered by flagstone. They are made of plate iron that has purposely rusted. Combine stone and rusted metal with the only stadium I have been to with yellow seats and you have a very original venue. Whoever designed it did a great job in ensuring you would not mistake this place for another baseball park, and they did so in a good way.

This was also the first day I caught a break from the intense Arizona sun. It was overcast and I even felt a few sprinkles, although it never really rained. It was pleasant for a change. Did I mention that this was the spring training home of the Los Angeles Dodgers? That means the main ballpark fare is the Dodger Dog. While it is a household name, it doesn’t mean that it is a great meal.

Bun-It was soft but split in two as soon as I opened it-3
Taste-the Farmer John frank taste the same in Phoenix as it does in Los Angeles; funky-3
Toppings-only relish and mustard-3
Price-$5.50 is sort of pricey for a Dodger Dog-4
Portability-nice foil wrapper-5
It Factor-the Dodger Dog is the mainstay of the lineup, but it is very famous-4.5

Location-kind of remote in the Glendale area-4
Access-a drive to venue but free parking-3.5
GA Ticket Price-$12 for a lawn seat is outrageous-3
Fans-far fewer than one would expect, but they were engaged-3.5
Ambiance-for as odd as it is for a baseball park it works really well and is a top of the line venue-5

The Dodger Dog is like Justin Bieber; very famous but also sucks. I know it is a Dodger game must have, but if they tore down Yankee Stadium then not all things in baseball are holy and untouchable. My advice to the Dodgers: strike a deal with Hebrew National for a tasty frank that will catapult your dog to new levels of tastiness. That’s free advice, and they don’t pay me to plug their dogs.
DogBallparkTotal Dog/Game
Portability5GA Ticket Price3
It Factor4.5Fans3.5
Despite the dog scoring poorly with a 46.5, I would put a game at Camelback Ranch near the top of my Cactus League “must see” list. It is such a different and pleasant park you can overlook the negatives. Just eat before you come.

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