Looking at Alex’s photos from last night reminds you that the kids really don’t care where Spring Training is as long as their parents take them. Viera was strategic for young families who made those trips to Florida for baseball, sun, fun and Disney. There were also beaches and the occasional rocket launch at Cape Canaveral.
Today will be the Nationals last game in Viera Florida as next year begins the new era in West Palm Beach at the new state of the art Ballpark Of The Palm Beaches that will be shared with the Houston Astros.
There will certainly be bonds that were made in Viera between players and workers and even some of the host families where the goodbyes are tough. Laura Peebles wrote her goodbye to Viera when she was there for her last game.
Nobody has a longer bond with Viera than Nats clubhouse Manager Mike “Wally” Wallace who had his 12 years in Space Coast Stadium with the Nats and time before that with the Expos. For Ryan Zimmerman, this is year 11 in Viera for him. Trea Turner grew up just down the road in Palm Beach County and never really spent any time in this area except driving I-95 with his family past those 2 ramps that sort of connect you to the town of Viera that everyone confuses with Vero Beach.
Depending on your accent, Viera and Vero can sound a lot alike. Vero used to be Dodgertown and now is just another Spring Training facility that a MLB team has abandoned. It is sad to some and to others it’s just part of a life cycle.
Players sure won’t miss the long bus rides for the approximately 15 Grapefruit League road destinations the teams had on their schedule. Those 9am departure times were rough after a late night of watching March Madness while enjoying a few adult beverages which never taste as good when you know you have to set your alarm at 7:30.
A fond farewell to Viera and an end to the dozen years that Nats fans will remember as their first Spring Training home for their Washington Nationals.
One week from today is Opening Day for the 162 game season for the Washington Nationals.
For your last game in Viera, here is your starting line-up for your Washington Nationals:
- Ben Revere CF
- Anthony Rendon 3B
- Bryce Harper RF
- Ryan Zimmerman 1B
- Daniel Murphy 2B
- Jayson Werth LF
- Wilson Ramos C
- Danny Espinosa SS
- Stephen Strasbug RHP
Yes, Danny Espinosa is starting today in Viera with the batter’s eye he has said he does not like. This line-up also looks like the April 7th home opener line-up that Dusty could pencil up for Game #3 of the 2016 season.