The Washington Nationals currently hold their spring training in Viera, Fla., but if it were up to owner Mark Lerner, that won't be the case for long. In an interview earlier Sunday, Lerner said the Nationals are not satisfied with their location and have considered other options, including playing in Arizona or even building their own spring training stadium.
"We do have a problem here," Lerner said, sitting in the dugout of Space Coast Stadium. "Viera has been wonderful as a town. Viera government has been wonderful. Our problem is basically logistics. Our closest game is 120-mile round trip. We cannot do that. It's tiring. It messes up our practice schedule. It's not good for the organization. We have no choice but to look at what our options are. We're going to continue to do that in both states. Hopefully, we'll be successful firming something up with Florida. If not, we will not hesitate to go to Arizona if necessary."
The Nationals' lease at Space Coast Stadium lasts until 2017, but the team only needs to pay bond payments through 2013. Lerner said the team will stay in Viera for "the next couple years," but will explore other options in the meantime. Those options include: Fort Meyers, where the Red Sox are about to move out, Arizona locations and even the possibility of building their own complex. Lerner said the team has already begun consulting with an architect to possibly make the latter happen.
Lerner said the team would prefer to remain in Florida, but is also open to Arizona.