Yesterday was the official start of MLB Spring Training with pitchers and catchers reporting to their respective Arizona and Florida camps. After an interview made the rounds from a determined Lucas Giolito, the White Sox arrived at Camelback Ranch and got to work, including tweeting a video from Michael Kopech, who many Sox fans have long waited to see.
With the first Cactus League game for the Sox 10 days away, let’s look at some fun facts about their Spring home.
How the Teams Got There
The White Sox have held Spring Training in Arizona since 1998. After originally opening Arizona Spring ball at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, the Sox made the move to Camelback Ranch in 2008 to the newly constructed sports complex. The Sox were joined by the Los Angeles Dodgers, who made a much longer 33-hour move from the historic Dodgertown facility in Vero Beach, Florida. While the facility is owned by the city of Glendale, it is located along Camelback Road in Phoenix. The 141-acre facility includes over 118,000 feet of clubhouse space, which is about 20,824 Nick Madrigals.
The Dividing Lake
One of the neat things about the park is the 5-acre lake that acts as a natural border between the White Sox and Dodgers playing fields. The lake is stocked with fish and hosts multiple kinds of water birds. I call this lake the Phoenix Goose Island.
The facility features 13 different fields and 3 half-fields, including replica fields of Guaranteed Rate Field and Dodger Stadium. The Sox playing field has a life-size Frank Thomas bobblehead, while the Dodgers replica field has an orange grove outside of left field in case you’re looking to get rid of your scurvy.
The facility also offers postgame events. Kids can run the bases after Sunday games, and seniors can run the bases after Thursday games. No word yet on if TLR is allowed to stick around to participate in the Thursday runs.
The concessions feature Dodger Stadium and G-Rate Field mainstays Dodger dogs and Vienna Beef dogs, but the most unique item on the menu is the 18-inch slice of pizza. You can also hit up the tequila bar to do some 108ing in the 623.
The 1st game played at Camelback Ranch was on March 1st, 2009, a 3-2 White Sox win over the Dodgers. Mark Buehrle started on the hill for the Sox, throwing 2 scoreless innings. After going into the top of the 9th down 2-0, Gordon Beckham hit a solo homer to leadoff the inning, pinch hitting for Jermaine Dye. This was followed by a bases-loaded RBI force out from Brandon Allen and a fielder’s choice RBI from Michael Restovich.
The highest attended game at Camelback Ranch was on March 27th, 2010, a 3-1 win for the Dodgers against the Mariners. 13,583 people attended the game. Dodgers knuckleballer and former White Sox pitcher Charlie Haeger went 5 and 1/3 scoreless to earn the win.
2021 White Sox Spring Training
That’s just a little about Camelback Ranch, home of two World Series contenders for the 2021 season. Your Sox start play on the 28th against the Milwaukee Brewers to open up Cactus League play.