With the Washington Nationals definitely leaving Viera for spring training, talk is that the team is negotiating with Osceola County for a new facility in Kissimmee.
This is not new: we’ve reported in the past that the Nats have met with the county via an initiative from the Kissimmee Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to bring in more spring-training action. This week the Nats informed Brevard County officials they would not be returning to Space Coast Stadium once the facility lease ends in 2017 and would likely buy out the remainder of the lease, perhaps as early as 2015. Meanwhile, Osceola County officials confirm they’re talking spring training with an unspecified team, with a May 30 meeting scheduled to discuss the issue. It’s not hard to put together the pieces, especially with lots more state money available to cities and counties building new spring-training facilities.
It’s a little speculative, but we’ve been told the Nats are explicitly seeking a new training facility; a renovation of Osceola County Stadium, set to be vacated by the Houston Astros in 2016, isn’t a prime option at this time. Osceola County leases part of the ballpark to the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA), which has roots in slow-pitch softball and now runs all sorts of tournaments out of Florida. One could easily see the future of Osceola County Stadium wrapped up with the USSSA, with a new Nats facility built on the Heritage Park grounds, which also includes an arena and other sporting venues.
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