In a Florida state of mind

It may be December, but it’s nearly 60 degrees in Washington, D.C. today, which means it’s time to start thinking about spring training.

In 78 short days, pitchers and catchers report to Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL to begin preparing for a better 2010 season. Early-bird fans may arrive for scheduled practice days, which last through March 5th. This is a great time to get autographs and pictures. The early morning practices include a lot of drills and bullpen sessions.

If you’d rather watch the Nats play actual games, book your tickets for March. Most of the away games are within an hour or so of Viera, making it pretty easy to schedule your trip whenever you want. The Braves, Cardinals, Marlins and Astros all have great stadiums just a short drive away from Viera. In fact, if you’re flying into or out of Orlando, you might consider an Astros or Braves game on your travel days, as both stadiums are fairly close to the airport.

If you’d rather stick to home games, consider traveling March 11-16 or March 25-29. Both of those include long weekends full of games at Space Coast Stadium. The widely anticipated game against the World Champion Yankees is on March 12th.

Most of the games begin 1:05 p.m., but the few scheduled evening games promise to be a lot of fun.

When spring training comes to a close, the Nationals will travel back to DC to face the Boston Red Sox at Nationals Park in an exhibition game on Saturday, April 3rd.

Okay, stop day-dreaming and go check out the full spring training schedule.

Tickets go on sale on January 23 at 10:00 a.m.

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