Updated: Apr 28, 2022
The Washington Nationals take batting practice on the opening day of spring training for the Washington Nationals and Houston Astros at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach in 2017.
Photo by Richard Graulich/ ZUMA Press
The Major League Baseball lockout almost canceled spring training at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches, but the collective bargaining agreement reached between owners and players in mid-March has put the ball back in play.
The Ballpark missed its planned opening Feb. 26, but is hosting 15 preseason games between March 18 and April 5.
Baseball fans had mourned the potential loss of games since the lockout took effect Dec. 2. America’s pastime was put on hold amid disputes about how to divide baseball’s rising revenues after the 2016 CBA expired. It was the ninth lockout in MLB history and one of six that canceled no games (only some spring training), although it delayed Opening Day a week to April 7.
The Ballpark hosts Washington Nationals and Houston Astros spring training games. Their opponents during the abbreviated spring schedule include the St. Louis Cardinals, the Miami Marlins and each other.
Both teams are going through changes. The Nationals are facing their first season after the retirement of the first player they ever drafted, Ryan Zimmerman, and the Astros are playing without star shortstop Carlos Correa, who signed a free-agent contract with the Minnesota Twins.
The Nationals and Astros moved to The Ballpark for spring training when it opened in 2017. The Astros went on to win the World Series that season, and the Nationals followed suit two years later.
The Ballpark has an intimate capacity of 6,500 fixed seats, compared with 25,000 for the smallest MLB stadium, St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Field. The 160-acre complex features space for fans to attend spring training workouts beginning at 10 a.m. and a team store that is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
Other than baseball, The Ballpark during the years hosts lacrosse and soccer and such nonsporting events as community walks, corporate functions, concerts and festivals.
Still, baseball makes up the most notable portion of The Ballpark’s schedule.
Woven into the nearly daily spring training games are post-game fireworks, giveaways and promotions targeting certain groups, like kids and seniors.
Friday, March 25, brings fireworks around 6 p.m. Children 12 and younger can run the bases after the game April 3. Similarly, seniors 55 and up are invited to stroll the bases after the game March 28.
The schedule includes two Heroes Days, when military personnel, veterans, teachers, medical professionals and emergency responders receive 30% off ticket prices, March 24 and April 1.
Also on March 24, The Ballpark is giving José Altuve jerseys to the first 500 fans. On April 4, the prize for the first 500 is a Yordan Alvarez jersey.