Players will be arriving earlier than they normally would be at their Spring Training facilities because of the World Baseball Classic schedule in 2017 which means the West Palm Beach facility known as The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches must be completed in the clubhouse and training facilities in about 87 days to accommodate the players arriving on February 1st of 2017 even though the main field stadium won’t have a game until 115 days from today on February 28th.
Skyler Swisher of the Sun Sentinel summed up the progress this week, “The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is about 80% complete, and more than 600 people are working seven days a week to ensure the 6,500-seat stadium is ready for baseball according to Doug Utt, a general manager for Hunt Construction Group.”
“This facility really sets the bar for spring training,” Utt said. “The heavy work is done. Now, we are working on finishing touches.”
The joint spring training homes of the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals was set for an initial price tag of $148 million and will rival some of the best complexes in Arizona Cactus League like the Salt River Fields complex that the Diamondbacks and Rockies share.
The Atlanta Braves who currently have their Spring Training home in the Wide World of Sports complex on Disney property are now also looking to relocate the Palm Beach County. If the Braves did relocate, the area would eventually have the Mets, Marlins, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, and Nationals within a short drive of each other.
If the Braves move to Palm Beach County, the only NL East team that won’t be located in the county will be the Philadelphia Phillies who play in Clearwater, Florida northwest of Tampa, Florida.
The Nationals will also be able to travel to the Gulf Coast to play both the Red Sox and Twins who play in Ft. Myers. The drive is about 2 hours and 20 minutes to play in Ft. Myers.
The palm trees are planted and the entrance is paved at the complex entrance of The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
The Nationals will be adding names to their Spring Training roster, and in the coming weeks, Mike Rizzo will continue signing veteran players to Minor League contracts who will receive invites to Spring Training. Jhonatan Solano was the first of many names you will hear on that list.
There are the youngsters who are not on the 40-man roster who also want to be part of the inaugural season at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. It is always a great time to see the Top Prospects and here is the 2016 current list from MLB.com. This will be an exciting Spring Training!