The Astros and Washington Nationals conducted the grand opening Tuesday of the team’s brand new spring training stadium, the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches.
It was the inaugural game at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The Washington Nationals hosted the Houston Astros at 1:05 p.m.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was done by Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred; Washington Nationals principal owners Ted and Annette Lerner and members of the Lerner family; Jim Crane, owner and chairman of the Houston Astros, and members of his family and executive team. Palm Beach County Mayor Paulette Burdick and West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio also joined on the field.
The first pitch was thrown by Thrown by children from the nearby Crossroads Baptist Church and Palm Beach Opera soprano Jessica Fishenfeld sang the National anthem and Palm Beach Opera tenor Derrek Stark “God Bless America”.
The Nationals, the game’s home team, won 4-3 on a walk-off home run by Michael A. Taylor.
Gates opened for season ticket holders at 10:30 a.m., followed by the rest of the fans a half-hour later to gro the crowd to more than 5,000.
The first hit in ballpark history belonged to Daniel Murphy, who sliced a line drive to the left-center gap for a double with one out in the bottom of the first. Five minutes later, he scored the first run, too, trotting home on Bryce Harper’s ensuing double off the left field wall.
Jayson Werth’s positional counterpart and fellow elder statesman, 39-year-old Astros designated hitter Carlos Beltran, slugged the first home run in stadium history, a two-run blast off lefty Oliver Perez in the fourth inning.
The Astros regained the lead in the sixth before Washington evened it again in the eighth, and Taylor, with his parents in the stands, smashed a home run down the left field line off left-hander Ashur Tolliver to end the game with two outs in the ninth inning.
Watch the entire game here…
Nationals officials feared wouldn’t be pulled off in time at the beginning of February, but on this Tuesday, the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches turned out to be a 16-month architectural achievement. Workers had been on duty around the clock to get the stadium ready for this day, rushing to complete a project that has reportedly cost $15 million more than the projected $135 million price.
The Astros moved to West Palm Beach this spring after previously training in Kissimmee, Florida from 1985-2016. Work has continued around the clock on the new stadium even while the Astros and National reported to camp and used the practice fields to begin their spring camp. Hard hats were required in many areas of the stadium while baseball workouts were underway. City inspectors were reportedly working with construction crews over the weekend to sign off on certificates of occupancy according to the Palm Beach Post.
The stadium cost nearly $150 million to construct and will seat 6,500 with additional berm areas. The campus covers 160 acres and the entire project took about 15 months to complete.
Nationals Beat Astros at First Game of 2017 in their new The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches stadium. Nationals won on a walk-off home run by Michael A. Taylor