Nationals officially leaving Viera for West Palm Beach


After more than a year of planning and negotiations, the Washington Nationals are finally leaving their Spring Training facilities in Viera, Fla. for a new facility in Palm Beach County.

According to MASN’s Chris Johnson, the Nationals signed a 30-year deal to remain in Florida and play at a new spring training facility in West Palm Beach. The team will share the new facility with the Houston Astros, who have been working with the Nationals throughout the process.

The deal was announced by Florida Governor Rick Scott, who is glad that both the Astros and the Nationals will remain in Florida for years to come.

"“Florida is proud to be the home of fifteen spring training teams, and we are excited to announce that the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros have chosen to stay in Florida for the next 30 years,” Scott said in a statement. “Spring Training has helped to bring Florida families together, create jobs in our communities, and drive tourists to our state. Florida is undoubtedly the best state for baseball, and we look forward to many more years of Spring Training attracting visitors and creating opportunities for Florida families.”"

The move to West Palm Beach ends a year-long search for a new Spring Training facility for the Nationals. The team has been in Viera since 2005 and their lease at Space Coast Stadium ends after the 2017 season. The news is also huge for the Astros, who have been playing in Kissimmee, Fla. for nearly 30 years.

A move to a new Spring Training site will be beneficial for both teams as it will allow the Astros to finally move to a new facility and it will allow the Nationals to move closer to many of the teams it plays in the Grapefruit League, such as the Mets, Cardinals and Marlins.

Here’s what Nationals owner Mark Lerner had to say about the deal in a statement:

"“We, at the Washington Nationals, appreciate Governor Scott’s commitment to keeping all fifteen major league baseball spring training venues in the Sunshine State ensuring that Florida remains the premier spring training destination.”"

Jim Crane, Houston Astros Owner, added:

"“This would not be possible without the City of West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, State leaders and the Governor working together. We’re very excited to remain in Florida for spring training and we’re looking forward to partnering with the Nationals, as well as the Cardinals, Marlins and Mets, to provide fans with the best spring training venue in the Country.”"

In just over a week, the Nationals will report to Viera for Spring Training. But two years from now, the team will be setting up shop at a new facility in West Palm Beach. While it’s still a few years away from becoming a reality, it’s a good thing the Nationals were finally able to sort out their Spring Training Future. It was about time.

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