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Viera: Center of attention?

Mar 9, 2010, 4:00 AM EST

Photo by Mark Zuckerman / NATS INSIDER
Stephen Strasburg and Chien-Ming Wang have turned Viera into this spring's hot spot.

VIERA, Fla. — For 17 years, this little planned community on Florida's east coast has been the last outpost of the Grapefruit League. Nearly an hour from any other big-league camp, Viera might as well have been named Neptune for its remote location. Some teams wouldn't make the trip here to play exhibition games. Others would reluctantly agree but send only a roster of major-league reserves and minor-league washouts. National media outlets? They wouldn't be caught dead among the cow pastures and brush fires that surrounded Space Coast Stadium.

Over time, though, this little hamlet has grown into a legitimate destination. Homes, golf courses, shopping centers and government offices have sprung up and enticed residents and commerce alike to set up shop here. The cows have disappeared. The brush fires are no more. And the locals suddenly have to deal with the real result of population growth: traffic.

It's probably coincidence, but for the first time in its 17 years of existence, Viera also finds itself one of the state's hottest destinations for baseball fans, executives and reporters. All of aRead more »

  1. Doc - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:28 AM

    Hey Mark, that quote from Dunn is priceless. Anyone who reads your blogs has got to appreciate your style. You're a throw-back to an earliar era of sports writing, and you're very good. I like your content, and I like your humor!Here's hoping you get to mix in a few reports on Nats victories.

  2. Farid in Idaho - Mar 9, 2010 at 4:56 AM

    I think he either brings his "A" game and he dominates or he is overcome by the hype and gives up 2-3 runs in two innings.My guess? 2 IP, 2 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts

  3. NattyLite - Mar 9, 2010 at 7:52 AM

    2 ip 6k or this franchise is DOOOOOOOMED!!!

  4. Tigerlily - Mar 9, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    Well, I for one will be contributing to the crowds once the season is underway. Seems like a nice trip from Michigan to Washington. 1. To see my guy "Pudge", 2. Hopefully, see a hotshot young pitcher 3. Catch a few of the sights. That will be four more fans in the seats for a weekend.

  5. Tigerlily - Mar 9, 2010 at 11:34 AM

    By the way, Mark, do you know if Pudge is even going to be at the game? I know he is not catching SS, but my in-laws are going to the game and wondered. Thanks.

  6. natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    That *was* a great quote, and no bumpkin perception here.Speaking of baseball writing, I noticed Mark had some additional contributions in USA Today's weekly sports paper. Atta boy!

  7. Mark Zuckerman - Mar 9, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    Tigerlily: All players, whether they're in the lineup or not, will be at home games. On the road, it's only the guys scheduled to play.

  8. Dave - Mar 9, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    So if Stras has a couple of bad innings (like practically every other Nationals pitcher so far), may we then begin to panic?

  9. Avar - Mar 9, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    No. No, you may not panic. Not on March 9th. Not the first time SS faces big leaguers which happens to be before he has pitched in the minors. Plenty of time to panic later, but not yet. Enjoy the Spring! Go see the Cherry Blossoms but DO NOT PANIC!….not yet.

  10. Doc - Mar 9, 2010 at 2:08 PM

    Mark, why not an article on 'stronger dudes up top' on the Nats roster?

  11. Anonymous - Mar 9, 2010 at 2:40 PM

    Nieves to catch Stras today. Utec

  12. MM - Mar 9, 2010 at 3:06 PM

    On "…Nationals Park will turn into San-Ch'Ung West every five days this summer…"well intended (and appreciated) attempt however San-Ch'Ung is really not representative of Taipei/Taiwan. It's not where Wang's born/from either. it's probably as insignificant as Barney Circle of DC…

  13. natsfan1a - Mar 9, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    Dang, let's try that again.Who? Wil Nieves. If nothing else, that means dancing in the radio booth. :-)Might a "stronger up top" piece ruffle the feathers of those who are omitted? Or maybe they wouldn't get it, not being that strong up top and all. —Nieves to catch Stras today.Utec

  14. Li-Yun - Mar 9, 2010 at 3:20 PM

    San Chung district is where the base of hinet ,the biggest internet company of Taiwan,locates in Taipei,that's why.

  15. Ramgut - Mar 9, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    Who's scheduled to start Thursday and Friday?

  16. NattyDelite! - Mar 10, 2010 at 3:05 AM

    Love it Mark.As many said, the Dunn quote was priceless.Also, a welcome to Li-Yun! Bring friends! We can always feed more frenzied fans in the Natmosphere!





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