Fan Guide: Washington Nationals

Spring Training Fan Guide: Nationals

The Nationals are entering the franchise's fourth exhibition season in Viera, Fla., having compiled a 50-36-2 spring mark during their time there.

Manager Frank Robinson will guide the Nationals for a fifth season, and he is hoping a solid spring will revive the magic that the team had during the first half of the 2005 season, when it was in first place in the National League East.

Veterans Brian Schneider, Livan Hernandez, Jose Guillen and Nick Johnson return for another season, while youngsters Ryan Zimmerman and Ryan Church look to continue to make their marks in the big leagues.

One thing is certain about a Robinson-led team: It will play hard.

As Nationals fans prepare for their journey to Florida, here are some questions and answers that should help:

When do the Nationals arrive at camp?
Nationals pitchers, catchers and injured players will report to camp on Feb. 18, with the first workout scheduled for the following day. Position players report on Feb. 23, and will work out the next day.

When do games start?
Washington starts the exhibition season on March 2 at Space Coast Stadium against the Pirates. Game time is 1:05 p.m. ET.

The Nationals play a total of 16 games at their home stadium, with seven of them coming in the first 10 days of the season.

The Nationals' exhibition season comes to an end in the Washington/Baltimore area as they play two games against the Orioles -- at RFK Stadium on Friday, March 31, at 7:05 p.m and at Camden Yards on Saturday, April 1, at 4:35 p.m.

How do I get tickets?
Space Coast Stadium seats 7,200 fans, and fans can get tickets at or the ticket office at Space Coast Stadium. Tickets go on sale Saturday, Feb. 4, at 10 a.m.

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Where is Viera, and how do I get there?
It's about an hour away from Disney World. According to the Spring Training Media Guide, if you want to go to Space Coast Stadium, take I-95 South to Fiske/Stadium Parkway. Turn left on Fiske/Stadium Parkway to the Stadium.

If you are going in the opposite direction, take I-95 North to Wickham Road. Turn right to Lake Andrew Drive, and follow the four-way stop on Stadium Parkway. The stadium is a half-mile on the left.

How can I watch the team work out?
Washington works out on four grass fields, which lie about a five-minute walk from the stadium. The practices are open to the public at no charge.

The workouts begin at 9 a.m. and usually end around noon. Fans can watch the Nationals work on basic fundamentals such as bunting, running the bases and fielding.

Where can I get some autographs?
In the previous three seasons, Robinson had autograph sessions during workouts. It has not been announced if he will do it for a fourth season.

After workouts, the players usually give autographs to fans as they head back to Space Coast Stadium.

What else is there to do in Viera?
If you're an animal lover, the Brevard Zoo is just five minutes away from Space Coast Stadium. The Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., is just 35 minutes away from the park.

If you want to see Mickey Mouse, Goofy and their pals, Disney World in Orlando is about an hour away.

When do the Nationals open the regular season?
The Nationals open on the road as they take on Carlos Delgado and the Mets at Shea Stadium on April 3 at 1:10 p.m.

The Nationals' home opener is on April 11, as they face off against the Mets at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium at 1:05 p.m.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.