Random Rantings from RawhideBlue. My tour of Camelback Ranch Glendale AZ.
CBR 3/10/10 10AM. My mission soon began upon arrival at the hallowed path the ’08-’09 NL West Champions would stroll down towards another day of Spring Training. Now less than four weeks till Opening Day! Sweet. As advertised, Camelback Ranch is beautiful. I waited with the 20-30 early birds to watch the team stroll out. Sometimes one by one. Sometimes a group of several. There goes Manny Mota on his three-wheel bike! I found myself not even being able to say, "Hey!" Just kind of stunned by being right in the action. A lady next to me spoke Spanish to Raffy, Padilla, Mota and De Jesus. They all acknowledged the native tongue and made a point to respond. I guess I better learn more Spanish.
"Good Morning Matt Kemp
!" I say to the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger ’09 winner, "Good morning y’all," says Kemp. Yes, Baseball Heaven.
Watching the infield run drills was wonderful. I don’t guess I’ve ever seen MLB practice except batting practice at Dodger Stadium. Being up close watching through the fence- no comparison to what a great experience that is.
Watching Bills and Kershaw throw in the bullpen was sweet. Pitchers running drills... Cool. How many pitchers can you name below?
Watching Kemp and Ethier take batting practice was impressive. BTW Ethier was "on" the most. By on I mean he took most pitches to the wall. I know it’s BP but few others were able to hit like that. Kemp was almost in the zone but not like Ethier.
Garrett Anderson was impressive in BP. Wow! Giles not so much. He looked like he was struggling. Blake and Ausmus stayed longer with Donny for BP. I guess it was more because they didn't play today. I waited with the autograph vultures and got Troncoso to sign a ball and Casey to sign a hat for my daughter. I felt kind of let down that I didn’t run from one Dodger to the next shoving my pen in their face but thought I’ll just enjoy them walking by and make a plan for next year.
Next was the game we tied against the Diamondbacks
. I almost pinched myself because Tommy was there in uniform. Seriously, I know. Holy Lasorda! Tommy and Andre had a lengthy conversation right in from of me(I was sitting behind the dugout) I got some pictures- ok a lot! Wonder what they talked about? Practice? Hitting? Strategy? Pasta?
There was a moment of silence for Willie Davis. Nice. So, I set behind the Dodgers
dugout next to two gentlemen who grew up on the East Coast. One of them said he went to one of the last games at Ebbetts field before the Dodgers moved! What? First Lasorda is in uniform in front of me then these guys are telling me about Ebbetts Field? Pinch me! Of course this gentlemen still isn't over the move from Brooklyn and is now relegated to being a Mets
fan. Sorry Joe. On both accounts…
I was witness to Ethier’s 1st Spring Training Home Run and Kemp’s triple. I found out later there was some mixup with the batting order.. ummm… who cares.
Padilla pitched well. Ortiz was good. Weaver and Gagne were mediocre and Miller well, it’s Spring training. I still couldn’t help take too many pictures of Cagne on the mound. Camelback was a great experience. Eric Stephen already wrote a great article on Camelback and it was a great resource for this adventure. I just wanted to add some other tidbits and hope somehow you appreciate this fans feelings that it is indescribable to be so close and sometimes personal with the players. Standing next to Casey while he autographed my daughter’s pink Dodger hat, saying hello to Casey’s dad as they strolled by(they were there visiting their boy). "I don’t look anything like him do I" Casey’s dad says. Of course he does, and without the beard there is no doubt. Saying "Good Morning" to Matt Kemp. Seeing Tommy in uniform. Numerous small moments that all roll into one grand experience.
By the way, I did go to the game the day before against the Rockies
. But talking about a 12-0 shutout would just tend to be a downer on an otherwise great experience. I did get to see Loney play just about the entire game and several at-bats for Manny. For that game I was about 9 rows behind the on deck area. It was also cool seeing Kuroda, Broxton, Sherril pitching. Haeger? Sorry Charlie. Doesn’t look good. I was impressed with Jamey and Reed. I know.
"Excuse me gents! Bison Crossing!!
I would say CBR is a must for a Dodger fan. I’m going back next year and taking my family. I figure my wife can speak Spanish to the latin players and get their attention then both my daughter and I can split up with the rest of the autograph vultures and double our chances of getting a plethora of signatures.
One last highlight(for me anyways). On my 8 hour trip home I had to stop on I-10 at the inspection station. The lady asked , "Did you come from a game?" I still had my Dodgers windbreaker and hat on. "Of course," I said I was at Spring Training in Phoenix for the Dodgers. "Were you playing?" she asked. "No, but at least I look like I do right?" "Yes." Well at least I could dream… My experience was then complete.
Ticket Price $40.00. Parking Free. Watching the Bison slide head first into Third Base a few feet in front of me... Priceless.
"Hey Manny? Ronnie? Where are you? You told me you weren't getting on the plane! Es no muy bien!"