Best Place to See a Spring Training Game, New School - 2009
Picking your favorite spring training ballpark is like picking your favorite Beatle: Even if you're comfortable with your choice, you have to concede there are certain merits to the options you've passed up. Still, having been to every park in Arizona, we give the nod to Glendale's $100 million Camelback Ranch, home to the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers. As one of the brand-new Cactus League parks, it's got all the amenities of Chase Field in an intimate setting that mirrors the atmosphere in the best old-time ballparks. Parking is a cinch, the ushers aren't as Draconian about seat-sneaking as what you'll find at, say, Peoria Sports Complex, and the Chicago-style hot dogs are cheaper and tastier than the ones the Cubbies sell in Mesa. The architecture is what really sets this park apart, though: The copper-colored oxidized steel shell of the grandstand blends beautifully into the surrounding countryside, the gently sloping lawn unfolds gracefully inside the gate, and the Gabion stone retaining walls add a fresh modern touch. The overall atmosphere is still far from a finished product, and will come as the park is broken in, but it's already our favorite place to watch a game.