Though there are still hurdles to be cleared before the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros go ahead with the plans to start building their new shared Spring Training facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, including a "land-use change for the baseball site" as Palm Beach Post writer Joe Capozzi noted today, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced in a press release on Wednesday that, "... the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros will remain in Florida for the next 30 years."
Nationals' Vice Chairman and Principal Owner Mark Lerner was quoted in the release:
"'We, at the Washington Nationals, appreciate Governor Scott’s commitment to keeping all fifteen major league baseball spring training venues in the Sunshine State ensuring that Florida remains the premier spring training destination.'"
Scott expressed excitement that the Nationals and Astros' commitment to the Sunshine State means, "Florida will continue to retain its 15 spring training teams in the Grapefruit League."
The "land-use change" was approved by members of Palm Beach County's legislative delegation last week pending an environmental study, though, as the Palm Beach Post's Mr. Capozzi noted last week, "... local lawmakers pledged to withdraw their support for the change if an environmental study next month shows it will hurt the city’s drinking water supply."
Scott's press release, Capozzi wrote, "... at least signals the likelihood that he will sign off on the bill if it’s approved."
Check out the full text of Scott's press release below:
Nats/Astros in Florida for the next 30 years:
• "We, at the Washington Nationals, appreciate Governor Scott’s commitment to keeping all fifteen major league baseball spring training venues in the Sunshine State..." - Mark Lerner -"Nats, state of Florida reach 30-year spring training agreement" - Chase Hughes, Nats Insider
• "Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday made official what has long been expected: The Washington Nationals will be moving their spring training operations from Viera to West Palm Beach." - "Nationals leaving Viera for West Palm Beach" - Dave Berman, Florida Today
Still roadblocks for facility to be official: if environmental impact report is satisfactory, local delegation will introduce bill (cont.)— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 11, 2015
...to state legislature asking to amend an existing regulation. If that amendment is approved, project is on. Legislature meets in March.— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) February 11, 2015
• "Even with plans for a land-use change for a baseball site still up in the air, it looks like the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals will be making West Palm Beach their permanent spring training home..." - "Houston Astros, Washington Nationals to Make Palm Beach Permanent Spring Training Home" - Chris Joseph, New Times Broward-Palm Beach
• "Count Gov. Rick Scott among the Florida residents excited about the prospect of the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros coming to West Palm Beach." - "Rick Scott joins the cheering section for Houston Astros, Washington Nationals" - Joe Capozzi, Post On Politics
So what becomes of Space Coast Stadium?:
• "Brevard County leaders are wasting no time in finding a new use for Space Coast Stadium, now that it appears the Washington Nationals will leave." - "Brevard leaders look for new uses for stadium" - My News 13
NATS BEAT: F.P. at the bat?; Harper's time down here [ed. note - "'Goonies' reference."]
• "Barrett was perhaps the most pleasant surprise of the 2014 season, a 26-year-old rookie who had never pitched above Class AA but dazzled through the majority of his first big-league campaign." - "Nationals roster preview: Aaron Barrett" - Mark Zuckerman, Nats Insider
• "Denard Span is coming off an outstanding season in 2014. His 184 hits tied Philadelphia's Ben Revere for most in the National League." - "Nationals Pastime: Span gearing up, no regrets for Suarez, plus 30 more grapefruits" - Chris Johnson, MASNSports.com
• "Although they had the best record in the National League last year, the Nationals had several players who missed significant time because of injuries." - "Breakout year from Harper would be huge for Nationals" - Bill Ladson, nationals.com
• "National Symphony Orchestra program will include F.P. Santangelo, the Electric Slugger Batolin and Take Me Out to the Ballgame for string quartet." - "F.P. Santangelo is reciting Casey at the Bat with the NSO at the Kennedy Center" - Dan Steinberg, The Washington Post
• "It's hard to blame Nationals veteran relief pitcher Craig Stammen for leaving his native Ohio and heading to Florida early for spring training." - "Nationals' Craig Stammen Ready For New Role If Called Upon" - David Driver, Pressbox DC
Nationals reliever Craig Stammen says he's "looking forward to possibly competing for a more important role" in 2015. http://t.co/u0VWFO1ZZe— PressBox DC (@PressBoxDC) February 11, 2015
• "With talks in the Fredericksburg region stalled, minor league baseball’s Hagerstown Suns could wind up staying in Maryland." - "Newspaper reports Hagerstown group may buy Suns baseball team" - Pamela Gould, Fredericksburg.com
• "Major League Baseball has selected Miami for the 2017 All Star Game, shunning Washington, D.C., and the riverfront confines of Nationals Park." - "MLB to Take its Talents to Miami, Not D.C." - Jason Dick, Roll Call After Dark
NATIONAL(S) BEAT: Souza-love; Offseason grades; NL rotation rankings; Stras in SD
• "The Nationals signed Max Scherzer to augment an already dominant rotation." - "Top 5 National League rotations: How do Mets compare to Washington Nationals?" - Mike Vorkunov, NJ.com
• "How he will fit in remains to be seen, though he appears to be a strong candidate to hit in the middle of the lineup and play right field." - "New Rays look to help team in 2015, beyond" - Bill Chastain, raysbaseball.com
• "For most of the winter, the Nationals' offseason was largely comprised of small, housekeeping-level moves." - "Nationals ace offseason thanks to Max Scherzer deal" - Cliff Corcoran, SI.com
• "The Nats had the best team ERA in baseball (3.03 ERA), but it was the lack of offense that led to their demise." - "Fantasy Baseball Team Preview: Washington Nationals" - Adam Meyer, FOX Sports
Happy Birthday to my fiercest competition, Abe! pic.twitter.com/mkUroXPdms— William Howard Taft (@NatsBigChief27) February 12, 2015
• "Also at the game was Washington Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg, who will be honored Friday night as one of two SDSU players to win the Golden Spikes Award." - "Wyoming Cowboys vs. San Diego St Aztecs" - ESPN
On this date in 1878, Fredrick W. Thayer, captain of Harvard U. Baseball Club, patents the catcher's mask pic.twitter.com/zq1Io1mBM2— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) February 12, 2015
• "[Brian] Cain, a former assistant baseball coach at Cal State Fullerton, has worked with many programs such as Texas Christian University, Alabama and even the Washington Nationals." - "In sports psychology, Cain uses unconventional techniques" - Greg Cameron, Yale Daily News
• Mets: "The New York Mets have produced six straight sub-.500 records, matching the Houston Astros for the longest active streak of losing seasons in the majors." - "Will the Mets be a playoff team in 2015?" - Adam Rubin, Mets Blog - ESPN New York
Man, the 70's were weird http://t.co/TRTcJHrEnQ— Mike Vorkunov (@Mike_Vorkunov) February 12, 2015
• Braves: "Once the Astros and Nats leave, the Braves and Tigers would be the only teams left in central Florida." - "Braves evaluating possible spring training move" - Mark Meltzer, Atlanta Business Chronicle
• Marlins: "One of the more active squads during the Hot Stove season, the Marlins completed six trades, signed a couple of key free agents and brought in a few other promising parts." - "Marlins' roster packed with new faces after busy offseason" - Joe Frisaro, marlins.com
• Phillies: "From the perspective of embattled Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., Hamels is a life jacket." - "Time for Red Sox to be open-minded about Cole Hamels deal" - Scott Lauber, Boston Herald