For some it’s the budding of the trees, for others it’s the warming of the weather, and for many it’s the cracking of the bats that signal the start of spring.
After four dragging months of no baseball, the start of spring training is a coveted occasion. And for Washington Nationals fans there is even more reason to be excited about this season. The team has moved its training camp to West Palm Beach, Fla., and into a brand new state-of-the-art facility.
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches sits on a 160-acre campus with multiple practice fields and a 6,500-seat stadium as its centerpiece. Its layout is designed to maximize the fan experience with fantastic sightlines and designated areas for interacting with the players.
The Nats will be sharing the facility with the Houston Astros, which will allow fans the opportunity to see more games played at the stadium. In addition, being in West Palm Beach puts the team closer to other MLB teams training in the area.
When the team was previously training in Viera, Fla. fans would have to travel more than 100 miles to attend the closest away game. Now they will have the option to travel just 20 miles to Jupiter to see games at Roger Dean Stadium where the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals train or 50 miles to Port St. Lucie’s Traditional Field that hosts the New York Mets.
In addition to the new facility, ballpark General Manager Brady Ballard thinks fans will enjoy being in West Palm Beach. “[West Palm Beach] is a more population dense area with really great restaurants, attractions, and shopping. There are also beachside hotels in five-star range as well as plenty of more economical option.”
Ballard also thinks the Nats fans will appreciate the area’s other sports related attractions. The Palm Beaches area is home to more than 160 golf courses and is considered by many to be “the equestrian capital of the world.”
One of the most popular activities for locals and visitors is to have brunch and watch a polo match on Sunday afternoons at the International Polo Club in Wellington, located just outside of West Palm Beach.
Another thing making West Palm Beach an attractive destination is beer, which has become synonymous with baseball. There are more than a dozen quality craft breweries in and around the city and most of them are open to the public for tours and tastings.
Nats fans will likely feel at home sampling the local beers at the newly opened City Tap restaurant located at CityPlace, West Palm Beach’s downtown shopping, dining and entertainment district. Does that name sound familiar? It is part of the same group that operates the City Tap in Washington, D.C.
And last but not least, one of the biggest selling points of West Palm Beach is the beaches. Just steps from the city are nearly 50 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline with pristine golden sand beaches.
Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) is the closest airport to the new ballpark. There are direct flights from Reagan National Airport (DCA) via Jetblue, American and Southwest.
Find information on visiting West Palm Beach and the surround area by visiting www.thepalmbeaches.com.