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  • Lloyd Brown

Camelback Ranch – Chicago White Sox Spring Training


Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Camelback Ranch 10710 W Camelback Rd Phoenix, AZ 85037

Chicago White Sox Spring Training website

Camelback Ranch website


Year Opened: 2009

Capacity: 13,000

 

The Chicago West Sox

Camelback Ranch is the largest spring training facility in the Cactus League and is the second newest facility after the Chicago Cubs Sloan Park. The main stadium opened in 2009 and has a capacity of 13,000 (10,000 fixed seats and room for 3,000 on the outfield berms). It features 12 suites, a party deck, and several outfield terraces for groups and parties. The newest amenities are an extended sun shade along the first base stands and a new 30’ X 50’ HD video board in sunshade field. The White Sox and the LA Dodgers share the Camelback Ranch facility during spring training.

Food & Beverage 4

As you would suspect, the concessions at Camelback Ranch are a mix of baseball standards, southwestern cuisine and regional favorites from the host teams’ areas. The broad menu includes hot dogs ($6), hamburgers ($8), chicken tenders ($11), peanuts ($5), nachos ($6), popcorn ($5), and cracker jacks ($4.50). Chicago-related offerings include Vienna beef Chicago Dogs ($7.50) and Ditka Sausages ($12).

It is extremely important to stay hydrated in the hot and arid climate of Arizona. Beverages available at Camelback Ranch include bottled water ($5), Pepsi brand sodas ($5), fruit drinks ($6)the right-center,,,Sunscreenand beer and other alcoholic beverages: domestic beers ($10), margaritas ($12) and wine ($8).

Sun screen is also available at both concession stands and the team stores in case you forget to bring it with you.

Atmosphere 4

Camelback Ranch differs from its Cactus League brethren in that it truly embraces the Arizona landscapes in its design. The stadium and surrounding facilities truly blend in with nature in an eco-friendly way. The stadium itself is very low profile, as the field is sunk 12 feet below grade and the seating is 12 feet above grade. The materials used in the stadium include stone native to the area, stucco, and earth tones for its metallic surfaces to mimic the surrounding terrain. Even the seats are caramel colored to blend in with nature.


The areas outside of the stadium are equally park-like. More than 5,000 plants and trees dot the property, including an orange grove. Several nature trails dot the property, taking you to the various practice fields that are on-site. The Dodger and White Sox facilities are separated by a lake filled with fish. This lake serves as both a cooling zone from the hot Arizona sun and a water source to irrigate the many grass fields on site.

A day at Camelback Ranch is truly a day in the park, both in the ballpark sense and in the natural connotation. It is a very relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy a ball game.

Neighborhood 4

While Camelback Ranch is a large facility it is somewhat isolated from services such as restaurants, shops, and lodging. The “neighborhood” when referencing Camelback Ranch can be found just on the other side of the Highway 101 interchange. The Glendale Sports and Entertainment District offers a wide variety of options for visitors to the area. It includes more than 26 restaurants, including Culver’s Butter Burgers and Frozen Custard, as well as McFadden’s.


Glendale is also home to two professional sports franchises, the Arizona Cardinals and the Arizona Coyotes. There are many lodging options available including the Comfort Suites Glendale and the Wyndham Garden Hotel Glendale.


Fans 4

You will see a wide spectrum of fans at Camelback Ranch games, or at any Cactus League games for that matter. First, you will see many locals who are spending their retirement years in the greater Phoenix area. Sun City is located just a few miles from the Camelback complex. They may originally have hailed from one of the cities involved in the game or have no rooting interest and simply love the game. White Sox fans gravitate towards the 1st baseline, while Dodgers fans typically sit along the 3rd baseline due to the designation of a dugout for each of the partnering teams.

A second set of fans will come from the home base of the teams involved and they are checking out the prospects for their team for the season to follow. This is the primary reason the White Sox moved closer to their fan base in Chicago.

Another portion of the crowd is a combination of families from multiple generations. You will see many grandparents bringing their grandchildren to a game. Pre-season baseball is famous for being the easiest time to get a player’s autograph and Camelback Ranch’s design makes it very easy for that to happen.


The best thing about fans at spring training time is that the vibe is very relaxed and there is not a great deal of competitiveness in the stands. Everyone understands that teams are basically getting the veterans into shape and prospects are getting evaluated in this period. A game result or team record is not necessarily indicative of the team’s performance once the regular season starts. This makes the fan experience very enjoyable at Camelback Ranch

Access 4

Camelback Ranch is one of the most accessible facilities in the Cactus League. Its location at the intersection of the very wide West Camelback Road and Highway 101 makes it very easy to reach by car or public transportation. It features several parking lots which surround the stadium; this allows you to park as close as possible to where your seats are. There are two main entry points, with one in center field and one in the home plate area.

Upon entering the stadium, the concourse is at grade level, which is very easy for the large number of seniors who attend the games to navigate. Concession stands and restrooms are plentiful. The berms in the outfield are on a very gradual slope, making it easy for fans to reach their seat.

Cooling stations and shaded areas dot the stadium to protect fans from the hot Arizona sun.

Return on Investment 3

Camelback Ranch games command one of the highest ticket prices in the Cactus League. They range from $10 for a seat on the berm up to $45 for a seat in the home plate area. Concessions are also above average in cost compared to other stadiums. Parking at Camelback is free. There are many hotels at the West Camelback / Highway 101 interchange at various price points.

Extras 4

The White Sox kept the original name of the property as it was a working ranch at the base of the Camelback mountains. The White Sox share the Camelback Ranch facilities with the LA Dodgers. Both teams also use the facility as the base for their Arizona League teams.

Two other professional sports franchises are located just across Highway 101 from Camelback Ranch. Gila River Arena is home to the Arizona Coyotes of the NHL and the University of Phoenix Stadium hosts the NFL Arizona Cardinals. When the Dodgers are hosting a game, Dodger Dogs are served at the concession stands. White Sox games feature Vienna beef Chicago Dogs.

Final Thoughts

The White Sox bring one of the larger fan bases to the Cactus League games. Their training base at Camelback Ranch is one of the largest of the Arizona-based teams.



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