|Washington Nationals Florida Spring
Training SPACE COAST STADIUM
Tickets on Sale
To be announced.
Stadium Parkway, Melbourne.
the north, take I-95 to Exit 195 (Fiske Boulevard),
take a left on Fiske Boulevard and follow it around
to Space Coast Stadium. From the south, take I-95
to Exit 191 (Wickham Road), take a left on Wickham
Road and follow it until Lake Andrew Drive. Take
a right on Lake Andrew Drive and follow it to Stadium
Parkway. Take a right on Stadium Parkway. Space
Coast Stadium will be on your left. (There are plenty
of signs pointing the way to the ballpark.).
There's no mistaking Space Coast Stadium as you
approach it from the north or the south. Looming over the
Florida landscape, the stadium seems like a spaceship that's
landing in the middle of nowhere. It sits above the flat
Florida landscape, shining brightly with its white exterior
and silver grandstand.
the ballpark won't be in the middle of nowhere for much
long, as the nearby Viera development continues to grow
at a brisk pace (it was slow going heading north of the
ballpark to the freeway, as construction vehicles clogged
the roads) and other major retail expansion occurs (several
big-box retailers recently signed agreements to build new
stores south of the ballpark along the freeway) throughout
the Space Coast thanks its location between Orlando and
Cocoa. Space Coast Stadium was originally built to be the
spring-training home of the Florida Marlins, which explains
the teal-colored seats throughout the ballpark. (Technically,
the Marlins still hold a lease on the stadium and are subleasing
it to the Nationals for spring training.) Past the color
of the seats, however, there's a definitely space theme
to the ballpark in an homage to nearby Kennedy Space Center.
When a Nationals player hits a home run, smoke spews from
a baseball rising above the scoreboard like a rocket lifting
off to space. The stadium signage is designed to look futuristic
as well; contrast all the futurism with one of the few hand-operated
scoreboards in spring training.
Of course, until the nearby area grows
enough, Space Coast Stadium is overkill for the Brevard
County Manatees (although the team did have a crowd of 5,000+
this season), so it must also be judged as a suitable spring-training
facility. At first glance you'd assume that this ballpark
is in the middle of nowhere. Not quite: despite the appearances,
the ballpark is only a mile or two from I-95 and about an
hour from Orlando via the Bee Line Highway. The ballpark
is also about 10 miles from Cocoa Beach, which features
a slew of hotels along the waterfront and near the freeway.
If you're headed to spring training, a trip to Space Coast
Stadium isn't a chore at all; you could easily take in two
games by combining a visit to Space Coast Stadium with another
game at Cracker Jack Stadium (the spring-training home of
the Washington Nationals), or Osceola County Stadium (the
spring-training home of the Houston Astros). In these situations,
it makes sense to stay in the greater Orlando area, as the
Florida freeway system makes it easy to drive between these
If you go to spring-training games,
try and sit on the first-base side of the grandstand: your
view will be good and you'll avoid staring in the sun. Avoid
the left-field bleachers in the day: you'll be hot and staring
into the sun.
Spring Training History
The Montreal Expos held spring training
in the following locations: West Palm Beach (1968-1972);
Daytona Beach (1973-1980); West Palm Beach (1981-1997);
Jupiter (1998-2002); Viera (2003-2004).
The Montreal Expos during a spring-training game
at Jackie Robinson Ballpark, Daytona Beach.
Space Coast Stadium was built in 1994
to be the spring-training home of the Florida Marlins. When
Jeffrey Loria bought the Marlins and sold the Montreal Expos
to Major League Baseball, part of the agreement was that
the Marlins would shift spring-training headquarters to
Jupiter, while the Expos would move spring training from
Jupiter to Melbourne.