Although the Dodgers sold the rights to Vero Beach as an affiliate for the 2007 and beyond season to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, they still had a home base for Spring Training till their new home in Arizona, that is a twin facility shared with the Chicago White Sox could be finished.
Spring Training is rapidly approaching and Dodger owner Frank McCourt, and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf, have taken a tour or two of the new facilities.
Both men believe it will be the crown jewel of minor league baseball. So much so that the Dodgers have announced now that they have spent more then the White Sox for their portion of the land. This according to the Dodgers will not only be a Spring Training facility for the Dodgers, but also a year round rehabilitation center for players.
Players living in the greater Phoenix area will be able to come in for off season workouts. Although there is still much work to be done Craig Callan, the Dodgers' vice president of spring-training and minor league facilities, said "all the work should be done by the time pitchers and catchers report for work outs on Valentines Day February 14th."
Unfortunately do to a still slumping economy the facility is still known as Camelback Ranch and without an official name from a sponsor as companies aren't exactly eager to purchase naming rights in the depressed economy.
The Dodgers for the most part, have stated that they wanted to be closer to there fans. The have built in amenities similar to Vero that should make things wide open so that fan and player alike can be assessable to each other, as to make it a real experience.
In what should be a five hour drive or one hour flight from Los Angeles, has almost come to fruition in the sunny Arizona desert. Many a Dodger fan who has waited their entire life but never got a chance to go to Dodger Town in Vero Beach, can now take in a spring training game in person.
Fans who chose to can take part in the right of passage by going to Camelback Ranch and witnessing the Dodgers Spring Training. Camelback Ranch will also become a multi-use facility, available to host concerts, sporting events, and corporate outings, in addition to Spring Training baseball according to the Dodgers.
Eventually the facility will include residential, restaurant and retail development, a four star hotel and an eighteen hole golf course. Although both teams are now said to also be working on additions that will feature walking trails, landscaped grounds, and an orange grove. There will also be two ponds and a fully stocked lake between the Dodgers and White Sox facilities according to the Dodgers web cite.
The first Cactus League game at the facility is scheduled for March 1, between, the Dodgers and White Sox. The Dodgers say the seating for regular games on the berm will be $8, baseline reserved $18, bullpen patio $20, and all the way up via the different areas to $90 for the "Home Plate Club," all exclusive seating.
Premier games you may be higher depending on were your sitting. So if you payed $90 for home plate, you'll be paying $100 now for home plate, and if you payed $8 for berm, you'll now be paying $10.
Of course the March 1st home opener for the Dodgers is a can't miss for any true blue Dodger fan as it's a rematch of sorts of the 1959 World Series! The Dodgers will also play in later games that month against such teams as, the Asian qualifier for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the Chicago Cubs on St. Patrick's Day March 17th, and one of two possible night games against the Seattle Mariners on March 24th, Kansas City on the 20th, and finally a March 30th game against the Oakland Athletics.
The main ball park is said to be the largest in all of the Cactus League play, seating 3,000 lawn seats, 12 luxury suites, a party deck, and a unique center field rotunda entrance. The new facility for both clubs is all about the fan in all of us, and top of the line.
In an earlier statement when talking about the new facilities Mr. McCourt was quoted as saying "the name conjured up the pioneering spirit of the Dodgers, who headed west in 1958 from the team's former Brooklyn home. The spring training move to Arizona completes that journey." Lets hope so, as for every Dodger fan out there, this should be a can't miss chance.
Goooood morning Camelback Ranch
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