Space Coast Stadium

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Space Coast Stadium
Nationals-Spring-Training.JPG
Space Coast Stadium on March 1, 2009.
Space Coast Stadium is located in Florida
Space Coast Stadium
Space Coast Stadium
Space Coast Stadium′s location in Florida
Location 5800 Stadium Parkway
Viera, FL 32940
Coordinates 28°15′25″N 80°44′22″W / 28.25694°N 80.73944°W / 28.25694; -80.73944Coordinates: 28°15′25″N 80°44′22″W / 28.25694°N 80.73944°W / 28.25694; -80.73944
Owner Brevard County, Florida
Operator Brevard County, Florida
Capacity 8,100
Field size Left Field: 340 ft (104 m)
Center Field: 404 ft (123 m)
Right Field: 340 ft (104 m)
Surface Grass
Construction
Broke ground April 29, 1993[1]
Opened March 2, 1994[4]
Construction cost US$6.2 million
($10 million in 2017 dollars[2])
Architect DLR Group
General contractor Miorelli Construction, Inc.[3]
Tenants
Brevard County Manatees (FSL) (1994–2016)
Florida Marlins (MLB) (spring training) (1994–2002)
Montreal Expos (MLB) (spring training) (2003–2004)
Washington Nationals (MLB) (spring training) (2005–2016)
GCL Nationals (GCL) (2005–2016)

Space Coast Stadium is a baseball stadium in Viera, Florida. It has served as the spring training facility for the Florida Marlins (1994–2002), Montreal Expos (2003–2004), and Washington Nationals (2005–2016) and as the home field of the Brevard County Manatees (1994–2016). After renovation, it is scheduled to reopen as a baseball/softball venue – part of a new multisport complex – in 2017.

Construction and opening[edit]

Space Coast Stadium was completed before the 1994 Major League Baseball season as part of a plan to bring the Florida Marlins to Viera for spring training. Ground was broken for the new stadium in what had been a pasture on April 29, 1993,[1] and construction cost US$6.2 million.

Opening ceremonies took place on March 2, 1994 – the same day as a launch of the Space Shuttle Columbia at the nearby Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral – followed immediately by the Marlins′ first spring training game at the ballpark, in which they defeated the Kansas City Royals 9-6 before a crowd of 7,494.[4]

History[edit]

The Florida Marlins held spring training at Space Coast Stadium through the 2002 season. In 2002, as part of an agreement in which Jeffrey Loria sold the Montreal Expos to Major League Baseball and purchased the Marlins, the Marlins swapped training sites with the Expos, who had been training in Jupiter, Florida. The Expos held two seasons of training at Space Coast Stadium in 2003 and 2004. The Expos franchise then moved from Montreal to Washington, D.C., to become the Washington Nationals. The Nationals conducted spring training at Space Coast Stadium from their inaugural season in 2005 through 2016. They played from seven to fifteen games per season in the stadium. Game attendance averaged from 4,690 in 2010 to 3,433 in 2011.[5][dead link] The Nationals contracted to make annual $765,000 stadium-construction bond payments through March 2013.[citation needed]

Space Coast Stadium was the home of the Brevard County Manatees, a minor league baseball franchise that played in the Class A-Advanced Florida State League, from 1994 to 2016. The Gulf Coast League Nationals of the Gulf Coast League, the Washington Nationals′ rookie league affiliate, also played occasional home games at Space Coast Stadium during the Washington Nationals′ tenure there.

U.S. President George W. Bush held one of his final campaign rallies for the 2004 U.S. presidential election at the stadium on October 23, 2004.[citation needed]

In 2008, the Florida State League All-Star Game was played at Space Coast Stadium for the first time since 1996, with the West Division prevailing over the East Division by a score of 9-3.[citation needed]

Between 1997 and March 2011, Brevard County, Florida, spent US$7.8 million on capital improvements to Space Coast Stadium, $2.8 million of it in 2006 and 2007 in an effort to keep the Nationals from relocating elsewhere. About $5 million worth of improvements funded by Brevard County's tourist tax were been made to the stadium between 2005 and 2010.[6] In 2011, the county assessed the 33.4 acres (13.5 ha) stadium site as having a value of US$26.5 million[7]

Departure of the Nationals and Manatees[edit]

The Nationals held spring training at Space Coast Stadium for the last time in 2016. The team's last game at the stadium was a 7–2 victory over the Atlanta Braves on March 27, 2016. The Nationals′ last scheduled game at the stadium on March 28, 2016, was rained out, resulting in the cancellation of activities planned to commemorate the franchise's history there. In 2017, the Nationals moved their spring training operations to West Palm Beach, Florida, where they share facilities with the Houston Astros at The Ballpark of The Palm Beaches, a facility which opened in February 2017.

The Brevard County Manatees also departed after the 2016 season, relocating to Kissimmee, Florida, to become the Florida Fire Frogs.

A baseball game at Space Coast Stadium seen from behind home plate on March 1, 2009.
Space Coast Stadium during a baseball game on March 1, 2009, seen from left field near the visitors′ bullpen.

USSSA Space Coast Complex[edit]

The departure of the Nationals and the Manatees after the 2016 season left Space Coast Stadium without a tenant. The United States Specialty Sports Association bought it and the surrounding spring training fields, announcing plans to renovate the entire complex. The association plans to make the complex into an all-turf venue that will host a variety of sports and sports tournaments.[8] Plans called for renovation work to begin in January 2017 and to be complete in the fall of 2017. The new complex, renamed the USSSA Space Coast Complex, will include a renovated Space Coast Stadium with 8,100 seats, 11 suites, a video board, and a turf field for both baseball and softball; a 225-foot (68.6-meter) "Championship Field" with video board; four 225-foot (68.6-meter) NCAA-softball-regulation turf fields; four 325-foot (99-meter) baseball/softball fields; four 385-foot (117.3-meter) NCAA-regulation turf baseball fields; a 175-foot (53.3-meter) "Championship Field" for players aged 8 and under with a video board; an 18,000-square-foot (1,672-square-meter) indoor facility for training, rehabilitation, and clinics; improved lighting' and two new concessions. The entire complex will include 1.3 million square feet (120,774 square meters) of turf.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Calkins, Geoff (April 2, 1994). "Having a Blast at Space Coast Marlins' New Spring Stadium Seemed to Have Something for Everyone". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017. 
  3. ^ Edes, Gordon (January 11, 1995). "Spring Park Called Safe Despite Rumors". South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved March 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b Kaegel, Dick (March 5, 1994). "Royals Become Park's First Loser Marlins Pound Appier in Inaugural Game for Space Coast Stadium". The Kansas City Star. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  5. ^ DeCotis, Mark (March 13, 2011). "Baseball's Uncertain Future". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 1A. 
  6. ^ Neale, Rick (March 31, 2010). "Nats Will Tour Lee County Ballpark". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 1A. 
  7. ^ Neale, Rick (March 25, 2011). "Manager's Mission: Keep Nats in Viera". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 1A. 
  8. ^ Janes, Chelsea, "As Nationals frolic in West Palm Beach, here’s what they left behind in Viera," washingtonpost.com, February 27, 2017.
  9. ^ usssa.com USSSA Space Coast Complex

External links[edit]