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Viera making push to keep Nats

Jan 14, 2013, 12:00 PM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Space Coast Stadium could be hosting its final Nationals camp this spring.

When the Nationals gather for spring training in four weeks, they'll do so knowing it could be their final camp in the remote outpost of Viera along Florida's Space Coast.

Ownership has never hid its desire to relocate to another base, preferably Fort Myers on the other side of the state, but possibly Kissimmee in central Florida or perhaps even all the way to Arizona. And with construction bonds for Space Coast Stadium due to be paid off in April, the Nationals will no longer be financially bound to the locale the franchise has called its spring home since 2003.

There are, however, significant road blocks still standing in the way of a new spring training venue in 2014. Fort Myers has shown an unwillingness to pay for upgrades to the City of Palms Park facility the Nationals would like to inherit, dragging out negotiations. Viera, meanwhile, is making a new push to keep the Nationals right where they are and perhaps even bring another major-league franchise to the area to share Space Coast Stadium.

"We may not be successful, but we have to try," Andy Anderson, chairman of the Brevard County Commission, told Florida Today in an article published yesterday.Read more »

102 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. MicheleS - Jan 14, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Sharing with Houston might not be a bad idea. I just hope they make a decision that is best for the TEAM and not just the bottom line

  2. Brian - Jan 14, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    as far as Arizona would be, the fact that so many of the teams are so close would definitely encourage me to go to Spring Training more often

  3. SonnyG10 - Jan 14, 2013 at 12:24 PM

    I like the idea of the Nats being closer to other teams so it would be a shorter distance for them to travel, but it would also be easier to catch a glimpse of other teams. However, air transport for the team might solve their travel problem.

  4. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Please no AZ move. At least not until, I catch a ST game in Florida. Depending on how much upgrades city of palms park need, that might be the best move.

  5. MicheleS - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    Has anyone been to ST in AZ? My understanding is that since they are so close together it causes a traffic nightmare and can take just as long to get to one of those games (at least for the fans) as it does in FL

  6. sjm308 - Jan 14, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    MicheleS – we were in Phoenix in April after spring training. I had no idea the complexes were so close and I never thought about traffic but it might be so. We were in a taxi out to the Cactus Museum and we passed 3 different complexes within 15 minutes. I would actually rather fly to AZ and spend time in the West then fly to Fla but that is just me.

  7. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    AZ seems to have cooler temps in that month compared to FL but precipation is also higher in AZ than FL. All this besides the point that going to FL may be cheaper than AZ I would think.

  8. TimDz - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Faraz…..Are you sure about that?I thought it was the other way around (that there is more precip in FL than in AZ)…Of course, I could have had it wrong all this time…

  9. fast eddie - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Air travel could be the best solution.Is there a nearby Viera airport that can handle full-size jetliners? Or do you need to drive 90 minutes to Orlando in order to fly to Ft.Lauderdale, Ft.Myers, etc.?

  10. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    Melbourne Airport is about 20 minutes from the stadium. It serves all commercial airlines.

  11. Teddy Rochlis - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    You are right TimDz Arizona tends to be hotter due to the fact its in the desert but there is also less humidity ie precipitation also because of the fact that its the desert the heat there is commonly called dry heat for a reason. While Florida can get extremely humid especially around swamps or former swamps that have been paved over.

  12. NatsJack in Florida - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    It's only 90 minutes to Orlando if you don't have an E-Pass. Otherwise, you can reach the airport in about 55 minutes.

  13. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:14 PM

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  14. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    #1 = edited for content# 2 = edited for typo#3 = heading off for my coffee nowYeah, I'd be inclined to wonder what sort of free or low cost air travel might be offered. ;-) Nah, I'm sure it would be perfectly safe.But, ahhh… It's like a tonic just seeing a Viera pic on this post. 28 days. Ahhh…On another note, wait – cactus museum? An Arizona Fall League trip is on my bucket list, and would want to take in some of the nature-related sights of the region as well.

  16. SCNatsFan - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    For us newbies coming this year, how difficult is it to get a ticket to a game?

  17. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    TimDz, I am no expert either since I have not been to either areas. I was just looking at avg precipitation and avg temps in the month of march for phoenix and orlando at weather.com.

  18. fast eddie - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    SCNatsFan:Tickets are not a problem at the gate, although we bought them on-line in Feb. before we left.Where are you in SC? I'm on Lake Keowee, 20 min. west of Clemson.

  19. UnkyD - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    I know it's just me, but I'd rather take the bus rides, than do a bunch of puddle jumping. I've no particular anxiety about flying, but frequent "free or low-cost" flying just sounds like begging for trouble. Rather nap, or read, on the bus…

  20. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    That's me standing next to Unk, in case you're wondering. :-)UnkyD said… I know it's just me, but I'd rather take the bus rides, than do a bunch of puddle jumping. I've no particular anxiety about flying, but frequent "free or low-cost" flying just sounds like begging for trouble. Rather nap, or read, on the bus… January 14, 2013 9:28 AM

  21. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    I think that games vs. the Cardinals might draw pretty well. On our ST visit, we went to a (I believe) Friday night game against them that was quite well attended.SCNatsFan said… For us newbies coming this year, how difficult is it to get a ticket to a game? January 14, 2013 9:20 AM

  22. Steady Eddie - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:43 PM

    Air travel for the ST games is not the answer. Between the logistics of getting to and from airports and getting people and equipment on and off planes, they wouldn't save all that much time compared to two hour bus trips. Plus with the small change gate receipts in ST, they couldn't justify the expense of flying for the single games (no multi-game series) they play in ST.AZ is also a questionable move for building brand loyalty considering how it takes the team out of driving distance for families (whereas many folks might drive to FL with families for all the Orlando area craziness and beaches).Not sure why there isn't more sharing of facilities as the Marlins and Cards do in Jupiter.

  23. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Oh, I forgot the now-mandatory STL "grrrrrrrrrr" :-)

  24. SonnyG10 - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    I remember my first trip in a puddle jumper. The pilot looked like he wasn't old enough to shave. I thought "Oh my God"

  25. Tcostant - Jan 14, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    Fort Myers is not a great place, been there and was not impressed. I head someone mention on Phil Woods show that the should consider where the Dodgers use to have spring training; that is a much better choice IMO.

  26. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    I have been to both AZ and Florida and if mileage proximity is the goal of the team then AZ is the clear choice which is why Ft. Myers just doesn't make sense as that is the southern most location on the Gulf Coast of Florida and you once again have to travel with the exception of the Red Sox and Twins.The Orlando/Kissimmee makes sense as you have the Tiger, Astros, and Braves within minutes and you are much closer to the Yankees, Blue Jays and Phillies. The Cardinals/Mets/Marlins are now much further so you once again have tradeoffs. How's about the Nats going to Winter Haven which is no longer being used?

  27. TimDz - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Re: Puddle Jumpers…Do a Youtube search on "Ron White flying with engine problems"…hilariousIf someone more adapt at making links wants to do so, that would be cool…

  28. Gardner - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Tigers stadium is definitely less than 100 miles from Space Coast – made that trip before and will again this year. I've never understood why they don't play 2-3 game mini-homestands against one team vs. playing someone different every day while hopping from home-away games. These guys are all staying in hotels everyday anyways right?

  29. Water23 - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    I wonder if "teams available to play" is part of the decison? One would think that the Nats would prefer to play outside the division in ST. Right now, it seems they play an awful lot of games against the Mets and Braves in ST but that is because they are two of the closest teams. Moving to Kissimee etc might make it possible to spread out the opponents. Not sure that it is a big issue but would seem to make sense.

  30. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    So it looks like that Pittsburgh website touting the done deal with the Nats and Vazquez were false.Also any quick deal for Michael Morse may not be great news on the offers Rizzo had received as I had hoped a quick deal would mean a team really coveted Morse and offered up a good prospect to make it a no brainer deal. It could also mean Rizzo just wants to take his time. Seattle, Tampa, NYY, and Boston could certainly all use him. Still on the market is Michael Bourn and Justin Upton for trade. Morse would be the low cost guy of the 3 in terms of dollars.

  31. Melissa Rabey - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    Selfishly, I'd hope the Nats stay in Viera, since my parents live about thirty minutes away. A trip for Spring Training isn't in the cards this year, but next year it's definitely in my plans; it's just more complicated if the game won't be in Viera. But I can certainly have a lot of sympathy for the Nats, dealing with long bus rides to get to games. Given the Nats never seem to do all that great in spring training, the bus rides are an easy explanation. Of course, doing well in spring training doesn't matter all that much, I know. I'll just be excited when everyone starts reporting and we begin hearing how everyone's looking after the off-season!

  32. JimofVA - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:43 PM

    I have made the run down on the motorcycle for three years now from VA. I look forward to my "Spring Break" again this year. AZ would pretty much cancel that. My grand scheme would have the Astros go to AZ, and the Nats taking over their facility in Kissimmee. As far as tickets, I found out in year #2 from a friendly box office employee that they release the reserved family & friends seats about 30 minutes before first pitch. I typically sit behind home plate for $25. Can't beat that. Oh, and motorcycles get to park up by the Casey Jones statue :)

  33. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    “We’re not evaluating any offers. Not yet,” Vazquez told Ruben Rodriguez of El Nuevo Dia. “I’m not in a hurry or under pressure. If it comes, great. There’s a desire in me that there wasn’t last year. I’ve got the itch to pitch again. I didn’t have it before, but now, I’m considering returning to pitch in the big leagues. I’m ready to pitch now. But to make the decision, I need to be 100 percent.”

  34. SCNatsFan - Jan 14, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    fast eddie I'm in Myrtle the cultural capital of the state :)I plan on heading to see the Cards game then heading down to see the Nats play at the Cards stadium.

  35. Brian Rothbart - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:09 PM

    SCNatsFan if you are going to Viera later in the month to catch games you want to buy them early and try and get a seat in the shade. There isn't much covering and it can get really hot watching a game. Viera is a great place to catch a game and meet with the players out on the practice fields. Very accessible.

  36. SCNatsFan - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    Thanks Brian. Trying to have a golf/baseball vacation to escape this cold (75 degree) state lol

  37. JT - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:50 PM

    I'm one of a few that hopes they find a way to stay in Viera. Its only a 5 hr drive for me from SC. I'll understand the move though, makes sense for the team to cut down travel for them as well as those coming to their site.

  38. do1teach1 - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    I have always been disappointed by the lack of welcome given to the Nats by the city of Viera, or the county for that matter. It's like they play in a sealed bubble, and no one within 10 miles of the stadium even knows they're there. There are no "Winter Home of the Washington Nationals" signs, no "Welcome Nationals Fans" signs on the road, in hotels or restaurants, nothing.

  39. Don - Jan 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    Anything but AZ works as far as I am concerned. Who is at Spring Training is of much more interest to me than where they hold it.

  40. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 14, 2013 at 5:02 PM

    do1teach1 said… I have always been disappointed by the lack of welcome given to the Nats by the city of Viera, or the county for that matter. It's like they play in a sealed bubble, and no one within 10 miles of the stadium even knows they're there. There are no "Winter Home of the Washington Nationals" signs, no "Welcome Nationals Fans" signs on the road, in hotels or restaurants, nothing. January 14, 2013 11:55 AM That's a good point. It always seemed temporary but the players have enjoyed the easy going feel of Viera with nice home rentals and easy access to golf and nobody bothers them.I just can't understand why Ft. Myers is even an option other than the city might build a facility. Something along Rt 4 between Tampa and Orlanda is the best strategic placement and maybe the Nats could find a town there willing to fund a new deal.

  41. NCNatsie - Jan 14, 2013 at 5:03 PM

    Planning on going to the Cards and Marlins games on March 8-9. Which sections are in the shade?Mark's article says Viera might consider providing "free or low cost air transportation" That suggests charter service, which would ease the logistics. Melbourne would be the way to go, not via Orlando.

  42. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 14, 2013 at 5:14 PM

    http://espn.go.com/espn/fp/flashPollResultsState?sportIndex=frontpage&pollId=3454515An interesting poll on who you want to win the Super Bowl. Virginians picked out of the 4 remaining teams the Ravens as the top pick.I'm ok with me since the Skins are out. I just wonder if the same poll was taken for the World Series and it was the Orioles as a Final 4 if Virginian and Washingtonians would pick the Angelos team. My guess is some would but most wouldn't and I'm OK with that.

  43. peric - Jan 14, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    One factor to consider. In the past the Nats as the dregs, the absolute pathetic doormats of the NL weren't an interesting stop for fans other than your die hard DC fans.I wonder how a surge in popularity and interest in the Nats will affect them during spring training? With players like Bryce Harper, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, the rise of a Florida local like Ian Desmond, with Rendon and eventually Giolito on the way? They may need a new venue just to accommodate their new status in baseball? Or not? Honestly, I'm not sure what kind of effect this will have?

  44. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    As previously noted, we've only been to ST once but on that trip and fwiw, local folks went out of their way to talk to us about the team and their hopes that it would not relocate. This was both at the ballpark and elsewhere (for instance, at a roadside citrus stand located outside of Viera).

  45. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    Me, I just root for good commercials. That said, given my CA roots and friends/family still in the Bay Area, it would be nice to see the 49ers win it, should they advance. :-)Ghost Of Steve M. said… http://espn.go.com/espn/fp/flashPollResultsState?sportIndex=frontpage&pollId=3454515 An interesting poll on who you want to win the Super Bowl. Virginians picked out of the 4 remaining teams the Ravens as the top pick. I'm ok with me since the Skins are out. I just wonder if the same poll was taken for the World Series and it was the Orioles as a Final 4 if Virginian and Washingtonians would pick the Angelos team. My guess is some would but most wouldn't and I'm OK with that. January 14, 2013 12:14 PM

  46. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 14, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Peric, I have to think the anonymity Stras and Harper get in Viera is a plus. Its just so laid back there. Its certainly not the destination that you have in Disney with the Braves. They get visitors who aren't even Braves fans.I think the Lerner's shouldn't jump to move until they have the perfect opportunity and can stay on a year-to-year deal with Viera. In a down economy its not the perfect time to get a great deal. Since NatsJack lives on Route 4 I'm sure he has some ideas on Florida relocation.

  47. Section 222 - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Slow news day, eh? ALR is signed. Vazquez isn't signing anywhere anytime soon. Rizzo got his CF and his starter. HoF election is over. What is there to discuss? Revisit the Strasburg Shutdown, or the ninth inning of Game 5? Can we start an argument about H-Rod or Espi?

  48. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:13 PM

    Sect222, good summary. Just Morse trade rumors.Yawnnnnn

  49. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:15 PM

    Section 222, what about Morse?I think Rizzo should trade him even if the return is not what he hopes for. He has already admitted to him being a big league started so benching just because he is not getting what he wants in return will be unfair to Morse big time who is likely looking to prove his health and earn one big payday next off-season. Manny Acta and Indians are one team that can use him I suppose. Some of us have suggested keeping him as a supersub. I just don't think Morse will be happy.

  50. Feel Wood - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:24 PM

    Manny Acta and Indians are one team that can use him I suppose.Which one can use him, Manny Acta or the Indians? Presumably the Indians are more likely to have the money it would take to pay him.Although I suppose that's one way for a manager to avoid getting fired no matter how bad his record is. Just buy enough players one by one until you have your own team. Worked for Connie Mack, didn't it?

  51. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    LOL I forgot Manny had left Indians.

  52. Feel Wood - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    Faraz Shaikh said… LOL I forgot Manny had left Indians.Just like he "left" the Nats.

  53. sjm308 - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:39 PM

    If he has a two year 20 million dollar extension that could help with the happy face.

  54. Feel Wood - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:42 PM

    sjm308 said… If he has a two year 20 million dollar extension that could help with the happy face.You should have figured out by now that the only way that's ever going to happen is if you write the check yourself. So get out your checkbook. I don't think RCR points will cover it.

  55. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:51 PM

    sjm, why would we want to pay that amount to Morse to be a bench player? that is better spent extending our guys.

  56. peric - Jan 14, 2013 at 6:59 PM

    sjm, why would we want to pay that amount to Morse to be a bench player? that is better spent extending our guys.Some key players in arbitration about to get the big payday. In two years that's going to be coming.

  57. MicheleS - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:22 PM

    SJM.. love the dedication to keep the Beast. Glad to know someone else has taken over the drum beat to keep a player. I had the keep Davey, Keep Adam bribes going and I am sure some thought i was nuts at least on Adam. But looks like my bribes worked ;-). Keep it up, you never know. Rizzo might need another bottle of JW Blue.

  58. peric - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    There is no issue at all with keeping the Beast for 2 years just as with LaRoche. Its after that when things become very dicey. Strasburg could be a free agent at the end of 2016, possibly earlier. And there are others who will come before him. The Nats payroll could end up well in excess of 150 million by then. Possibly pushing 200 million depending on ownership. Hopefully, the keyMASN imbroglio is resolved well before then …

  59. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    If you are Morse who aspires to be a big league, every day starting player, what reason you have to sign a two-year deal with Nats?

  60. MicheleS - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:48 PM

    This is a nice thing for Skole.Adam Kilgore‏@AdamKilgoreWPPer his brother on Twitter, Nats third base prospect Matt Skole has been invited to big league spring training.Skole, the Nats' minor leaguer of the year, won't have a realistic shot to make the team. But it's an indication of what they think of him

  61. peric - Jan 14, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    Adam is hooked to everyone's brother, mother and sister as a follower. Of course Skole's brother is a top baseball prospect … Davey probably wants to get a good picture of ALL his left-handed bats in camp. I am willing to be you'll be seeing Erik Komatsu there as well. So, you'll have Brown, Komatsu, Skole, and Goodwin there in addition to Harper, LaRoche, and Span.

  62. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Has anyone here seen Rob Wort of Potomac? Any ideas why he did well last season at Potomac?

  63. ehay2k - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    I believe (and please correct me if I am wrong here) that the Nats are actually pretty satisfied with the facilities in Viera, that save for the travel, they would stay.So, two words: Light rail.OK, I kid.Let's try these two words, which would be cheaper than any move to a new stadium: Nicer Buses. Seriously, put a few "Madden-mobiles" into the Lerner's fleet and the players won't mind the ride so much. It's being shipped around like cattle that they don't like.

  64. Feel Wood - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Let's try these two words, which would be cheaper than any move to a new stadium: Nicer Buses. Seriously, put a few "Madden-mobiles" into the Lerner's fleet and the players won't mind the ride so much. It's being shipped around like cattle that they don't like.No, it's the time on the road they don't like. And no matter how nice the bus is, it's not going any faster or cutting in front of any traffic.

  65. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    ehay, I don't know what kind of busses they have now, but two hours on a bus is still two hours, and half the problem getting other teams to make the trip for Nats' home games in Viera.

  66. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:21 PM

    OK, I'm weaseling out of that coke by pointing out that I also mentioned other teams.

  67. Section 222 - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Pay up Gorse! Oh wait, Feel doesn't play that silly drinking game.

  68. Ghost Of Steve M. - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    Faraz at 1:15 owes me a drink!Nice, I leave for a few hours and come back to a free drink!

  69. ehay2k - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    OK, so light rail it is!

  70. ehay2k - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:28 PM

    Actually, come to think of it, a monorail would be more appropriate…

  71. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    Alright, Deuces, I anted mine into the kitty.

  72. baseballswami - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:42 PM

    Personal jet packs?

  73. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:50 PM

    If they moved to Ft. Myers they'd still have a bunch of 2-3 hour trips, including Dunedin, Clearwater, Orlando, Kissimee, Lakeland and, now, Port St. Lucie and Jupiter. In terms of total time the team spends on the road, over the course of the entire Grapefruit League season, I don't think they'd reap more than 30 hours, max, probably less. If the Phillies and the Blue Jays don't want to drive down, screw 'em.They'd have to squeeze a lot of amenities out Ft. Myers to justify moving to a small park in the middle of town fed by the U.S. 41 graveyard and a bunch of small side streets. If they make a deal w/ Viera, I hope it includes a better field, at least in the stadium.

  74. Gorse Hackage, still waiting for spring - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:51 PM

    Well, they're on the [darned] Space Coast–there's got to be some way to take advantage of that.

  75. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:53 PM

    I believe we have a winner.baseballswami said… Personal jet packs? January 14, 2013 3:42 PM

  76. ehay2k - Jan 14, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Jet packs? I am not sure I would trust a lot of guys – HRod for one – to stay in formation!

  77. Theophilus T. S. - Jan 14, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Their Gulf Coast League team plays there — how bad can the travel be?

  78. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 14, 2013 at 9:22 PM

    GoSM, I was hoping no one noticed.

  79. baseballswami - Jan 14, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Well, there are a lot of rocket scientists down there;)

  80. sjm308 - Jan 14, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    MicheleS – thanks for the encouragement and I am realistic enough to know its a very small % for Morse to be around.Faraz – I can answer both of your questions. Yes, he wants to start but would he mind being on a World Series Champion? With all the injuries the past few years (including his own), you can pretty well figure he will be starting more often than not.As to the extensions, I think extending Jordan Zimmnn & Desmond are musts but we will draw even more people this next year, the damn MASN thing will have to be worked out and the Lerners already have enough money to extend Morse, Zimmermann and Desmond right now!!!All I am doing with my imaginary extension for Morse is at least showing him in good faith that we care about his future but we also care about making our Washington Nationals the best team in baseball and having him on the 25 man roster helps that immensely. On another sort of contrarian note, the more I think about it, the more I support the move to Arizona. I understand those in FLA and SC etc will miss out but for us in Washington, a flight to AZ is no worse than one to FLA and I would never drive that with kids to begin with (20 + hours of "are we there yet???").Natsfan1a – its not a cactus museum but more of an arboretum that is totally dedicated to cacti of all sorts and species. One of the coolest places I have been and it was enhanced with glass sculptures from Dale Chilully who I love.Go Nats!! World Series or Bust!! Keep Morse!!

  81. natsfan1a - Jan 14, 2013 at 10:51 PM

    Added bonus: Could be useful on the base paths as well, depending on the FFF (fleetness of foot factor) of the player in question.Thanks on the cacti, sjm. My husband and I both loved seeing the (Southern CA) Huntington's desert garden back in the day, and I'm sure we'd enjoy this as well.baseballswami said… Personal jet packs? January 14, 2013 3:42 PM

  82. peric - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Faraz, best to ask either Byron Kerr or Luke Erickson about Rob Wort. Bryon is available on the MASN site under Nationals and he has a twitter account. Luke Erickson almost lives at Potomac when they are at home. He runs NationalsProspects.com.

  83. sjm308 - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:08 PM

    Natsfan1a – if you guys loved Huntington, you will go nuts with Phoenix as far as the cacti are concerned (about 6 times the size). Have to think the Huntington Gardens are in our top three where Phoenix just did cactus, Huntington had everything.

  84. Clip&Store - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:09 PM

    So its not good enough for boston but its good enough for us?

  85. sjm308 - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    Faraz: Peric does a nice job on here with our minor league guys but Luke at NationalsProspects is super and he posts great dog pictures as well.

  86. peric - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:10 PM

    BTW, Luke Erickson seems to think we might lose Syracuse to the Mets who aren't enthralled with Buffalo … plus everyone hates Bryce Harper's hometown for spring training: Vegas.

  87. peric - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    Thnx, SJM but I prefer to stick with Syracuse. Luke, Brian Oliver, and Byron Kerr work the AA/A+/ and A and do a pretty decent job covering them.

  88. Clip&Store - Jan 14, 2013 at 11:16 PM

    So its not good enough for boston but its good enough for us?

  89. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Thanks sjm and peric.Sjm, while I understand where you are coming from, I wouldn't play for Nationals if I was in Morse shoes right now. Of course I would enjoy playing for a contender, but I don't want to miss a big paycheck when everyone else is getting overpaid.

  90. sjm308 - Jan 15, 2013 at 1:58 AM

    Faraz, I totally understand, and yours is the logical way for Morse as well. I just think about some of those Yankee teams that had bench players who could start for over 60% of the teams in MLB. Now, I realize the Yankees didn't win a bunch of World Series while spending all of Steinbrener's money but its my silly dream so I am sticking with it.

  91. Clip&Store - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    is anyone gonna help me out here…

  92. sjm308 - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    I actually agree with you – why move to a place that is not going to guarantee improvements and lost the Red Sox? No help but I do agree. Either stay put or move to Arizona.

  93. Faraz Shaikh - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    Clip & Store, I believe that if we move to that facility, updates are must. At least that's what I understood from Mark's post.Sjm, agree to disagree on this one?

  94. Clip&Store - Jan 15, 2013 at 2:30 AM

    ha thanks..i just find it weird that they abandon it to go across the street for a better facility, and we covet what they didn't want #OneMan'sTrashIsAnotherMan'sTreasure ?

  95. Iowa Nats Fan - Jan 15, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Not an expert by any means, but I have attended ST in both AZ and FL, and if proximity to other clubs is the goal, there is no comparison between the two. All Cactus League clubs are in the greater Phoenix metropolis area and even if traffic is bad (which it can be), you're still within a reasonable drive. And there is a light rail system that serves the area. I used it to catch a ride to one of the games I attended and it was pretty handy. The Salt River Complex is a state of the art facility while some of the others are showing their age but still serve their purpose. So in my opinion, moving to Ft Myers is a minor upgrade over Viera if proximity is your top priority.

  96. Another_Sam - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:28 AM

    I was close to planning a trip to AZ for spring training when the Nats appeared. One of these days I want to get to AZ, but if the Nats are in FL I'll always have that in the plan as well. Long ago I saw some minor leage play in Phoenix.I'd be okay if the Nats stayed in Viera instead of moving to another part of the state. That Fort Myers site seems a bit remote to me. I think that the best solution for fans would be if another team or teams moved to be closer to the Nats-Cards-Marlins. But that's just me. I realize that the decision turns on what's best not for the players or for the team; it's what's best for the bottom line.That first year I was not enamoured of Viera. It seemed almost like a SNL gag — a ball park in the middle of a housing development that wasn't built: with signs saying school goes here, golf club goes here, fire station goes here and so on. But now the place is developing and IMHO it's acquired a certain charm. I'm okay if they can work something out to stay.

  97. Dave - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Having gone down to Florida twice for spring training, I have to say, Viera is the location that's remote.Last time we went, in 2011, we got a nice room in Cocoa Beach, not far from the Nats' complex. But it rained out the only game we were scheduled to see at Space Coast Stadium. Therefore we spent most of our vacation week–hours and hours–in a car, driving to Orlando, Kissimee, and Lakeland to see games.I'd prefer to spend that driving time seeing things rather than driving to them.

  98. Another_Sam - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    Dave — I know what you mean. I should have added that perhaps I'm an outlier; when I'm in Florida for spring training, I'm there for spring training only. We drive plenty — rain or no rain — to see at least one game a day, and if one times the trip right there's usually at least one day with two games. [I also don't stay in just one hotel for the duration.] And of course there's always the morning workouts and minor leaguers.Of course, I certainly think Florida has nothing to compete with that cactus museum and thus there's nothing there to do. LOL

  99. natsfan1a - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:03 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  100. natsfan1a - Jan 15, 2013 at 3:04 PM

    Another_Sam, Viera has natural attractions as well, including a great bird-watching venue that was very close to our hotel). We enjoyed visiting them as well as the ballpark on our trip. I always try to work in some birding on trips if I can, whether traveling for business or pleasure. (And my thanks to sjm for his cacti reply.)

  101. do1teach1 - Jan 15, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    I want to add my name to the Morse bandwagon. Why not give him 15 starts for Werth, 15 for LaRoche, and 10 for Harper? That's 40 starts. He could even start 10 for RZ–that's 50 starts, and we haven't even allotted for him standing in for people in case of injuries. (Morse has 66 career starts at short or third.) I say keep him.

  102. The Retired Journalist - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    Another complicating factor for the Nationals if they want to move to Ft. Myers is that the Lee County commissioner who was the biggest advocate for spending county money to lure the Nats west lost his job in November's elections, replaced by a fiscal conservative who thinks baseball teams should be the ones paying for any facilities they need.

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 58 49 --
ATLANTA 58 52 1.5
MIAMI 53 56 6.0
NEW YORK 52 57 7.0
PHILADELPHIA 49 61 10.5
Through Friday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
MON: Orioles at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
TUE: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
WED: Mets at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
THU: Mets at Nats, 12:35 p.m.
FRI: Nats at Braves 7:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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