So I have been kicking myself ever since 2008, when the Dodgers left Florida and began having Spring Training in Arizona. I had heard that seeing the games in the small stadiums was great, but just never pulled the trigger on going – until last week (thanks to a late Christmas present from my awesome wife). And, man, I am so glad I made the almost 4 hour drive from the Coachella Valley to Glendale.
Here are some reasons why:
At Face value, tickets to games go for $10 to $24. We shopped around a bit and then grabbed tickets to a Thursday afternoon game on Vivid Seats for $4 a piece – and these were not outfield grass seats. This was our view:
Not bad at all for four bucks (plus a few extra dollars on fees) and the parking was free.
Pro tip: almost every seat is in the sun. If you are looking for shade, get seats on the first base side in the top half of the stadium. We ended up moving there after a couple of innings to get out of the sun’s rays. The view was still awesome.
Camelback Ranch is a chill stadium and offers up a variety of craft beers (every concession stand has a different beer to choose from), some decent food, and the environment is much more relaxed than seeing those games that count in Dodger Stadium.
And, as long as you are cool about it, you can even head up close before the game and maybe even between innings and snap a few photos, like these taken by my wife:
The complex serves as the Spring Training home for both the Dodgers and the White Sox. It is quite extensive. Be sure to take a walk around, because it is beautiful and has some cool photo ops.
Players are accessible
This is the really cool thing about Spring Training. If you go, get there a few hours early to watch the players practice and, when they are done, sign a few autographs for their fans. Here’s manager Dave Roberts greeting fans and signing some items, which he must have done for at least 10 minutes while I was there.
Spring Training also gives you a chance to not only see veterans like Clayton Kershaw and Adrian Gonzalez, but also is a nice preview of prospects like Cody Bellinger and Alex Verdugo before they make it to the show.
It’s not that bad of a drive
Barring any accidents or construction, you can get from the Palm Springs area to Glendale in about 3 1/2 hours. If you were headed to Dodger Stadium, you might spend that same amount of time just trying to get off the Stadium Way offramp.
Give yourself a little extra time and grab a taco or burrito at Albertacos in Blythe on the way.
A couple other things:
- Hotels can be expensive during Spring Training. The wife and I stayed in a casita 5 minutes out of downtown Phoenix through Airbnb for $60.
- Grab breakfast at Matt’s Big Breakfast in Phoenix
- If you like craft beer, head to The Whining Pig. It doesn’t look like much, but man oh man, what a beer selection and the prices are cheap.
- If you like BBQ, go to Little Miss BBQ.
- The stadium allows you to bring in your own food and snacks, though be sure to read the rules so you do it correctly.
- Have fun. It’s a blast!