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  • Writer's pictureMeg Minard

Camelback Ranch – Glendale Desert Dogs

Photos by Meg Minard and Steve Ohnsman, Stadium Journey

Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.29

Camelback Ranch 10712 W. Camelback Road Phoenix, AZ 85037

Year Opened: 2009

Capacity: 13,583


Desert Dogs in a Great Park

The Glendale Desert Dogs are a part of the Arizona Fall League, a yearly instructional league that features baseball’s top prospects every October and November. The Desert Dogs play their games at beautiful Camelback Ranch, which was built as the spring training home for the LA Dodgers and Chicago White Sox in 2009. During the summer, the rookie league AZL Dodgers play at the facility.

Camelback is a great looking ballpark; the entire facility is a fantastic place to walk around. On the grounds, you’ll find a 5-acre lake and river system, fantastic landscaping, and easy-to-walk trails to take you around the area.

Major league prospects from the White Sox, Guardians, Dodgers, Brewers, and Twins round out the Desert Dogs’ roster this 2022 season. The major league affiliates change throughout the years. The Desert Dogs have won six league championships.

Food & Beverage 2

Only one concession stand is open, and that’s enough for attendance at a Desert Dog game. Bottled water and small snacks or sandwiches are allowed in the stadium this year (2022).

The food choices are dismal: A Dodger dog ($6.25), cheese and pepperoni pizza slices ($6.50 and $7), and nachos (6.25). Snacks include a pretzel ($5.25), popcorn ($4), and Twizzlers ($3).

Soft drinks are 20 oz bottled Pepsi products ($5.25), 20 oz bottled water ($4), and coffee ($3.25). Alcohol choices are 16 oz cans of domestic beers (Michelob Ultra $10.50, Bud, Bud and Coors Light $9.50), Truly Selzer ($10.50), and wine ($8.50).

I don’t recommend anything except maybe the Twizzlers if you need a snack. Eat before or after attending a game here, or bring your own bottle of water and snacks and food.

Atmosphere 4

Seating at Camelback Ranch extends all the way down the baselines. For day games, the shade covers the first base side first, while the third base side is in the sun most of the game. The seats are a golden color, which blends in well with the copper-colored support structures and earthtone stonework. They’re comfortably wide and are mostly staggered, so you’re not sitting directly behind another fan’s head. That’s generally not a problem for Desert Dog games because of low attendance. The seating area does not have cup holders.

Fans enter at the top of the concourse and then walk down to the seating areas. Plenty of handicapped and wheelchair-accessible seating is available on the top row of the concourse.

The batter’s eye is pleasantly landscaped with full trees surrounding the area. The scoreboard is easy to read, though it only shows the line score this 2022 season. Balls, strikes, and outs indicators are yellow dots, while the runs per inning are blue. Those colors are a striking and refreshing contrast.

The music volume is hit or miss depending on who is broadcasting the audio for the game. At most games, the music is pleasantly-played at a low-key level so you can talk with your neighbors. Some games, the music is played just way too loud to have conversations between innings. That’s a real shame for a Fall League experience.

Neighborhood 3

Camelback Ranch is located in a very residential area. No choices for lunch, dinner, and other entertainment are available within walking distance.

Three miles away is the Westgate Entertainment District. It has many restaurants, all of which are very different from each other in price and menu. A lot of different shops and boutiques, a movie theater, a pottery painting studio, arcades, and breweries are part of the amenities in the district.

Places in the district for a pre-game meal or drink include Yard House, State 48 Funk House Brewery, Fat Tuesdays, and McFaddens. Be sure to check their website for happy hour specials; some of the restaurants do not include a happy hour on event days or weekends. First Watch (breakfast/lunch), Manna Korean BBQ, Opa Life (Greek), and Salt Tacos y Tequila are just a few other worthwhile places to eat.

I always enjoy Yard House, which has a fabulous beer selection and good food; this one has outdoor seating for those comfortable fall Arizona days and evenings.

Many chain hotels are in and around the Westgate Entertainment District, about three miles from Camelback Ranch. The two closest to the ballpark are a Comfort Inn & Suites and a Holiday Inn.

Other nearby sports to see during the Fall League season include the Arizona Cardinals (next door to the Westgate Entertainment District). The two other Fall League teams in the West Valley are the Peoria Javelinas and the Surprise Saguaros. And, if looking to go downtown Phoenix, sports fans can usually catch a Suns game when in town.

Fans 3

The fans in attendance are what one would consider baseball purists – fans who attend for the game itself and not all the extras that occur in minor and major league parks throughout North America. Attendance has increased for Fall League games over the years; it is not as sparse as it once was.

The Desert Dogs averaged around 360 – 380 fans per game in 2022. This is comparable to other West Valley Fall League teams.

Access 3

Getting to the stadium is most conveniently done by vehicle (unless you’re a nearby neighbor and can walk). Valley Metro does provide bus service. The stop is 1.1 miles from the stadium, so there’s still some walking involved if taking public transportation.

The stadium is 2 ½ miles west of the Loop 101 Agua Fria Fwy on Camelback Rd. Only the gate behind home plate is open for Fall League games. Plenty of free parking is available close to that entrance.

The stadium offers benches to sit and wait for gates to open or late arriving friends. It has a huge, clean, artfully landscaped plaza area outside the home plate entrance for fans to gather.

If you have a clear sports stadium bag, getting through security in 2022 is a breeze (unlike in 2021 when they turned people away even with clear 12” x 6” x 12” bags). We’ll see what happens in future seasons.

Restrooms are clean and have an extraordinary number of stalls (at least the ladies’ room).

Walking around the stadium and concourse is wide open, making it quite an enjoyable place to stroll.

Return on Investment 4

As with everything else, ticket and food prices have increased. Single game tickets are $10 (seniors 55+ are $8). Kids under 12 get in free. If you live in the area or are planning on attending 12 or more games, a season pass is a less expensive way to go. A single admission season pass is $125; a double admission pass is $150.

Attending a baseball game on a warm fall day or evening for the game and in this beautiful ballpark is worth the price.

Extras 4

A small merchandise stand is just to the right when entering the stadium. Printed starting lineups and rosters are available there too.

New this 2022 season, MLB is experimenting with some changes to help the pace of play speed up (increase). Bigger bases (18” vs 15”), two infielders must be on each side of second base when a pitch is thrown (shift is gone), and a pitch timer (15 sec or 20 sec when runners are on base). It’s quite fascinating to watch these new practices in play.

The stadium operations have already placed plaques above the Dodgers bull pen in left field honoring both Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin (long-time Dodgers broadcasters).

Final Thoughts

Camelback Ranch is the prettiest Fall League stadium in the West Valley. There’s something just so nice just sitting and chatting with strangers and other baseball fans who have the love of the game in a quiet, non-obtrusive environment.

For additional information on the Arizona Fall League, please review A Fan’s Guide to Arizona Fall League.

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