|Capacity||8,000 (6,500 fixed seats, 1,500 berm seating)|
|Dimensions||335L, 408LC, 405C, 408RC, 335R|
|Local Airport||Palm Beach International Airport|
|Ticket Prices||To be announced|
|Tickets on Sale||Dec. 9, noon|
|Ticket Line||888/632-NATS (6287)|
|Ticket Web Site||nationals.com|
|Address||5444 Haverhill Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33407|
|Directions||The ballpark is located at the corner of 45th Street and Haverhill Road, between Florida’s Turnpike and I-95. From Orlando: Take either the Turnpike or I-95 South. From the Turnpike, take Exit 107 onto State Highway 710 East; from there take a right onto Haverhill Road. From I-95 South, take Exit 74 onto 45th Street; from there head west to Haverhill Road and the ballpark. From Miami: Take either the Turnpike or I-95 North. From the Turnpike: Head north until you hit Exit 99, State Highway 704, then turn a left on Haverhill Road. From I-95 North, take Exit 74 onto 45th Street; from there head west to Haverhill Road and the ballpark.|
Washington Nationals Spring Training
Things are still shiny and new at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, where the Nationals will embark on their third spring at the West Palm Beach facility.
The goal, according to the project’s design team, has The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches offering an immersive spring-training experience, one that takes fans through training fields and workout facilities before they even set foot in the ballpark. This is a definite design trend in recent years at spring-training facilities. A visit to Salt River Fields is immersive; you are very likely to be exposed to players and training fields on your way to your seat, building expectations for game action. The same goes for Camelback Ranch-Glendale or Sloan Park. In Florida, some training facilities push the total experience — like the experience at Hammond Stadium and the CenturyLink Sports Complex unveiled in the past two years. But at an older facility, like Disney World’s Champion Stadium or even Joker Marchant Stadium at Tiger Town, the practice fields may be physically close but not within the fan experience.
There is a great baseball tradition in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach County. The Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos once trained out of West Palm Beach Municipal Stadium, and there are plenty of other traditional public spaces in the area, like traditional golf-court clubhouses or beachside resorts that popped up once the railroad connected Florida to the East Coast. The decision was made to eschew a more ornate design like Spanish Mediterranean and go for a more streamlined look.
Because of the high water table – this is Florida, after all – it wasn’t possible to go down very far, so the decision was made to go up, in a very subtle manner, which led to a concourse level some 14 feet above the parking-lot and playing-field levels. As fans are moving through the training fields and to the ballpark’s front entrance, they’re gently moving up in elevation and traversing bridges before they reach a promontory that looks upon the plaza and a lake.
Speaking of the plaza: It certainly is a signature item in the ballpark design, a place for fans to gather and meet both before and after the game. It’s some 34,000 square feet on all levels, offering an inviting entrance to the ballpark on the third-base side.
Once inside, fans see a seating bowl, a 360-degree concourse 20 feet wide and both team clubhouses. It will not be a huge ballpark, with 6,400 fixed seats and room for 1,000 more on the outfield berm. Nor is it a ballpark with an undue emphasis on premium seating: there will be six suites (three on each side of press box) as well as covered party decks down each line. The suites are not traditional suites: the windows will open to the playing field, giving them a more Florida feel.
Many fan will judge this ballpark by its shade. With third base running due north, the sun will be at the back to fans behind home plate. By the time a game is a third over the vast majority of the seats will be in the shade thanks to a large canopy installed over the grandstand. The design is light and airy.
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 Washington Nationals trained in Viera from 2004 through 2016. Space Coast Stadium is shown below.
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches opened in 2017 as the spring training home of the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.
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