New spring training facility starting to take shape

We are a mere 14 weeks away from the Nationals' spring training opener, which means pitchers and catchers are due to report to West Palm Beach in roughly 12 weeks (no official date yet).

Which raises a fairly important question: Is West Palm Beach going to be ready for the Nats?

Crews continue to work furiously on the brand-new Ballpark at the Palm Beaches, the new spring home of both the Nationals and Astros. They've been working on a tight timeline throughout, but the consensus opinion all along has been that (barring any major weather problems in the area) the facility would be ready to go on time in February.

WPB-STADIUM-WEST.jpgNow, keep in mind that "ready to go" isn't necessarily the same as "completely done." The sense is that while the facility will be useable when it needs to be useable, it probably won't be 100 percent finished when the teams arrive, and possibly not even when the Nationals face the Astros in the first game at the park on Feb. 28.

Also keep in mind this: While the official reporting date will be sometime in mid-February, players and staff members will begin arriving in West Palm Beach long before that. So the completion of the clubhouses, training rooms, offices and practice fields is probably higher on the priority list than the stadium itself, which isn't needed until the last day of February.

That said, the stadium itself is beginning to look like a real stadium. The installation of blue seats began in the last week. So did the laying down of the grass field.

You can see photos and renderings and look up all the info you might need here, and you can get frequent photo and video updates on this Twitter feed as well.

It's hard to believe, but spring training isn't all that far away.

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