It’s called Camelback Ranch, but it could just as well be called Camelot. The new Dodger/White Sox spring training facility in Glendale, Ariz. is truly a sight to behold.

Perhaps you have heard reports of the 13 practice fields, the 10,000 capacity stadium, the manmade ponds and waterfalls. Maybe you even heard something about mild weather, blue skies and rolling hills in the background. Still, nothing can prepare you for the many splendors to be experienced at this baseball oasis, this desert flower called Camelback.

In the first place, the weather really is gorgeous, hovering around the mid-70s with gentle desert breezes. The stadium itself has some of the best sightlines I have ever seen. One can casually circle the field and watch the game the entire time.

Grassy knolls behind the outfield and at the corners are filled with jolly picknickers, laughing children and young lovers. Even the concession workers seem to be delighted to be there. Many of them have a view of the field, a detail that seems planned.

As for the Dodgers, they have made themselves right at home and look as elegant as ever in their starched whites under the bright Arizona sky. There is a lazy, languid vibe in the morning air. They appear as delicate as dancers while stretching, which they do compulsively.  

All this belies a seething determination, which becomes clear by game time. Exhibition game or not, this team wants to win. No fielding play, no pitch, no swing of the bat is done half-ass.

Picture Juan Pierre racing down a fly ball risking life and limb as he smashes into a pole. He shakes it off. See shortstop Rafael Furcal, a man who underwent back surgery last year, go deep in the hole to flag down a ground ball. He jumps, turns and nails the runner at first. All in a day’s work.

Whatever changes have occurred with the Dodgers, the passion for winning remains the same.

Spring Training games continue through April 1. Check the Renaissance Phoenix-Glendale Hotel for rates at For more information, visit