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Scenes from Spring Training: Camelback Ranch is pretty darn impressive

Mar 3, 2011, 1:23 PM EDT

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Camelback Ranch is a nice joint.  As far as player facilities and overall handsomeness of the place, it may be the best in the entire Cactus League.

Like the Dbacks and Rockies place out at Salt River, Camelback has large buildings behind the left and right field walls for the Dodgers and White Sox, respectively. Inside of each building is everything a training baseball team could want, from meeting rooms to training rooms to a comfortable and well-appointed clubhouse.  The chairs may not be quite as cushy as those in which the Rockies and Dbacks sit, but like I said last week, that may not be an altogether bad thing.

The game doesn’t start for a couple hours so who knows how that rolls yet — and I’m partial to the older, cozy joints for actual in-game experience anyway — but you can’t deny the sheer beauty of this ballpark.  My wife works in the architecture/design industry and this place looks a lot like the covers of the highbrow trade magazines floating around her office. Frank Lloyd Wright-meets-HOK-meets-that nice resort you stayed at in Sedona that year.

But rather than stay in the main part of the park and gawk I strolled over to White Sox Central to see what’s going down. You’ve heard my descriptions of these places all week, so I’ll skew photo tour:

That’s a sorta rare sight: an outfielder — Alejandro De Aza — working out with pitchers Chris Sale and Freddy Dolsi. Usually the pitchers and position players stay pretty separate. Separate lockers, separate stretching groups and everything.

That’s Lucas Harrell getting his pitching in.  I sat and watched him a long damn time. There’s nothing more enjoyable for me than to watch a pitcher throw up close. It’s just satisfying on so many levels. Speaking of throwing, this was overheard a few feet over:

Coach 1: Wait, wasn’t Burls supposed to throw? [meaning Mark Buehrle].

Coach 2: I thought so too, but he came out wearing basketball shoes this morning.

Coach 1: Huh. Guess he ain’t throwin’ this mornin’.

This was fun:

There are approximately 467 workout fields at this joint, but for some reason the Dodgers and White Sox were working out on the same one for a while this morning.  Talking to a guy with the Diamondbacks the other day he said that they see Rockies players so seldomly that he tends to forget they share a home with them.

I probably wasn’t supposed to take this picture — no photos inside the building, the sign says — but I couldn’t resist. The Sox have a long hallway with GIGANTIC photos all up and down it. Photos from the 2005 World Series, Buehrle’s perfecto, and just about anything else you can imagine.  The one in the foreground is a photo of Kenny Williams presenting Obama with a Sox jersey.

This was cool too. It hangs on the wall as you enter the White Sox team offices.  Though I sorta wish it was out someplace in the ballpark.  I bet if you polled 100 fans that only a couple would be able to tell you anything about Charlie Lau, and that’s kind of a shame.  Coaches are probably the most invisible men in baseball history.

Game time — my last game down here this year — is 1PM Mountain time.  I’m gonna go wander.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 3, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Nice photo tour! You should start working with lighting and effects to get all artsy and stuff. Hipstery black and whites, shots of the clouds from the outfield, close-ups of the stitching on a glove, wandering invisible horned toads, etc. You know, super important stuff.

  2. sportsdrenched - Mar 3, 2011 at 2:23 PM

    Camelback Ranch sounds like the name of an “Adult Entertainment” establishment off an exit on I80 in Nebraska patronized by over the road truckers.

    But other than that. Nice pictures.

  3. Craig Calcaterra - Mar 3, 2011 at 2:27 PM

    Camelbackly goodness:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camelback_Mountain

  4. fuggles7 - Mar 3, 2011 at 3:04 PM

    Craig.. Are you sure they won’t let you stay another week or two? Your spring training trips are my favourite blogs of the year!

  5. Davidw7 - Mar 4, 2011 at 3:40 AM

    I echo Fuggles7 comment.

    Your Spring Trip so far has been great. Great instalments daily!

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