Posts Tagged ‘United States Specialty Sports Association’

Space Coast Stadium’s New Frontier

March 17th, 2019

Space Coast Stadium (now Space Coast Complex) is located at 5800 Stadium Parkway in Viera, Florida.

Space Coast Stadium Marque When the Washington Nationals Held Spring Training at the Facility

A former minor league ballpark and major league spring training facility, Space Coast Complex is now operated by the United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA).

Space Coast Stadium Complex Marque For Current Tenant United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA)

Space Coast Stadium opened in March 1994 as the Spring Training Home of the Florida Marlins.

Space Coast Stadium, March 2005, Then Spring Training Home of the Washington Nationals

The Florida Marlins departed Space Coast Stadium after the 2002 Spring Training season.

Loading Dock Concession Stand, Space Coast Florida, Viera, Florida, March 2005

The Montreal Expos made Space Coast Stadium their Spring Training home in 2003.

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida, March 2005

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida, March 2015

Two years later the Nationals arrived at Space Coast Stadium, when the Expos franchise was relocated to Washington, D.C., in 2005 and changed to the Washington Nationals.

Washington Nationals Logo Banner, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida, March 2005

The Nationals held their Spring Training at Space Coast Stadium through the 2016 season.

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

During the Nationals 11 seasons at Space Coast Stadium, the franchise made numerous upgrades to the ballpark,including  repainting much of the structure Nationals red, white, and blue colors.

Exterior of Grandstand, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

Ticket Kiosk, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The interior concourse was upgraded as well, although most of the 1990s stadium architecture remained unchanged.

Grand Slam Grill, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The Space Coast Stadium grandstand had no cover and, as such, offered little reprieve from the Florida Sun during day games.

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

In addition to Spring Training, Space Coast Stadium was the home to the Florida State League Brevard County Manatees from 1994 through 2016.

Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

It also hosted Gulf Coast League games for the GCL Nationals from 2005 through 2016.

Scoreboard, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The light stanchions at Space Coast Stadium had additional seating for ospreys or owls on a first come, first served basis.

Light Stanchion and Bird Nest, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The Nationals team store was markedly minor league when compared to Spring Training team stores as they appear today.

Team Store, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The Nationals departed Space Coast Stadium for good after the 2016 season. Bryce Harper departed the Nationals for good after the 2018 season.

Former National Bryce Harper, Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

The good news for Space Coast Stadium is that it does not appear it will become a lost ballpark, unlike so many of the other former Grapefruit League MLB Spring Training homes.

Space Coast Stadium Complex, Current Tenant United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA)

Rechristened Space Coast Complex, the ballpark and surrounding practice fields appear much as they did when Major League Baseball reigned at the complex.

Space Coast Stadium Complex, Current Tenant United States Specialty Sports Association (USSSA)

The practice fields surrounding the stadium remain, many converted for use as softball fields.

Practice Fields, Space Coast Stadium Complex, Viera, Florida

A map of the complex shows the location of the various practice fields.

Map of Space Coast Complex, Formerly Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Florida

A monument to the Space Shuttle remains at Space Coast Complex. The plaque states it is “Dedicated to America’s Pioneering Spirit in Space Exploration by the men and women of the John F. Kennedy Space Center.”

Space Shuttle Monument, Space Coast Complex, Viera, Florida

Another vestige of the site’s former use is a statute of a baseball player celebrating the early days of baseball.

Statute of Baseball Player, Space Coast Complex, Viera, Florida

The ballplayer faces towards Space Coast Stadium, as if waiting in vain for professional baseball players who never will return now that the Nationals hold their spring training 117 miles south down I-95 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach, Florida (Photo Courtesy of Pete Kerzel)

The Nationals new spring home, known as FITTEAM Ballpark at the Palm Beaches, is a modern facility that, like its pretentious name, outshines and out-glosses the 1990s minor league charm of Space Coast Stadium. If you are traveling south down I-95 towards West Palm Beach for a Nationals Spring Training game, Space Coast Complex is just a few miles west and worth a stop, if you want to get a feel for a spring training baseball site built in 25 years ago. Thankfully, it does not appear that Space Coast Stadium is in any danger of becoming a lost ballpark any time soon.

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