VIERA, Fla. -- Washington mayor Vincent Gray was at Space Coast Stadium to watch the Nationals play the Marlins on Sunday afternoon. It was the second game he attended this spring. The mayor was in Port St. Lucie, Fla., on Saturday and watched the Nats lose to the Mets, 5-3.
"I'm here to see our great Nationals team," Gray said. "It was such an exciting season last year. We have such high hopes this coming year, especially with the additions that they made. It's a great way to support the team and send the message to the city that it's a team that should be supported."
Gray said he would love to see large numbers of people who live in Washington support the Nationals.
"We want the regional support because we are a regional team, but at the same time we want people to feel that it's a team that belongs to them," he said. "Beyond the civic spirit, there is the idea of winning, which is exactly why we are here. It's good for the economy and the city as well."
Gray believes the commercial and retail development around Nationals Park has been facilitated because of the baseball team and that more will come.
"For example, we have a movie theater coming down there," he said. "We have more eateries coming to the area. There certainly will be more people moving in. There will be more residential development down there as well."
Gray also believes that Washington should be a candidate for the All-Star Game. He believes Nationals Park should attract the event.
"I don't know what more we need to do other than not having the track record for not having a successful team; I think we should be a prime candidate now."