- Lloyd Brown
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches – Houston Astros Spring Training
Photos by Lloyd Brown, Stadium Journey
Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.14
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches 5444 Haverhill Road West Palm Beach, FL 33407
Houston Astros Spring Training website The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches website
Year Opened: 2017 Capacity: 7,858
Astros’ Launching Pad
The Houston Astros moved into the FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in 2017. They share the stadium and the training complex with the Washington Nationals. The ballpark was built by the city of West Palm Beach to attract a major league team (or two) back for the first time since the Atlanta Braves left for a new stadium in the Disney complex.
Both the Nationals and the Astros were looking to relocate as their former training sites were distant from other MLB team’s sites and this was resulting in a great deal of time traveling by bus to away games. Moving to the West Palm Beach area meant the Astros and Nationals could play each other at home, while also playing the Cardinals and the Marlins, who are a short distance away in Jupiter.
The site of the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches was a former dump for debris from past hurricanes, and there was a tax incentive for reclaiming this area for the public’s use. The location of the stadium is between I-95 and the Florida Turnpike, making it very easy to reach via these main thoroughfares. The design of the stadium is very similar to many others in Florida in that it must be elevated as digging down into the ground would result in hitting the high water table. The stadium is in the center of the complex, with the Astros and Nationals training facilities surrounding it.
The stadium entry is via a set of steps on the west side of the stadium. The exterior of the stadium is virtually hidden, as there is greenery growing all around the stadium. Once you reach the top of the stairs you will be at the concourse level of the stadium. The concourse travels 360 degrees around the field. All of the seating bowls are located below the concourse level, with only the suites and press box on the second level. The Astro's dugout is on the third-base side of the field. The seating capacity consists of 6,200 seats, and room for 1,400 more fans on the outfield grass berms.
Food & Beverage 3
For the most part, the concession offerings at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches are your typical baseball fare. Items include hamburgers w/fries ($11), grilled chicken w/fries ($10), BBQ sandwiches w/fries ($10), and chicken tenders w/fries ($10.50).
Other items include ¼ lb. brats ($7.50), hot dogs ($5.50), nachos ($5.50), pretzels ($6), candy ($4.50), and chips ($2.50) Pepsi brand products are sold for $5-$7 depending on the size. Water is $5.00 Beers cost Adult beverages include domestic drafts ($10), premium drafts ($12), canned domestic beers are $9.00 and canned premium beers are $10. Cocktails and wine are both $9.00.The H-Town Grille is designed to bring a bit of Texas flavor to the park. It sells 2 tacos for $8 and a Super Nacho for $12. It also carries Shiner Bock beer, a Texas favorite for $7.50.
Two other stands in the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches sell more specialized fare. The West Palm Pizza Grille sells a variety of pizzas by the slice for $6.50. If you are feeling chill, head over to the Beaches Ice Cream stand. They offer an ice cream helmet for $7.50, soft serve in either a waffle cone or a cup for $6 and root beer floats are $7.
It has taken a while for Astro fans to adjust from their former home in Kissimmee. They were the only team playing at that stadium. Sharing the stadium with another club has taken a while for both the players and the fans to feel at home in their new surroundings. The stadium does not do much branding of either team in the stadium, apart from the two team’s logos in a sculpture form outside of the stadium. In 2021 the stadium is catching on with both the locals and the Astro fans, as they are reporting more sellout games this season.
The area around the stadium itself is surrounded by the two teams’ practice fields and training facilities. The complex is so large that shuttle vans take you back to the distant parking lots. Once you exit onto Haverhill Road you will need a car as there are no hotels or nice restaurants within walking distance of the park. Most of the hotels are located along the I-95 corridor and the only restaurants nearby are of the fast-food variety.
Since you will have a car, it is well worth your time to head across the causeway from West Palm Beach to Palm Beach. Once in Palm Beach, you will feel like you are in an episode of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” First check out the boutiques along Worth Avenue, Palm Beach’s shopping district, then visit the Flagler Museum next to The Breakers to learn about this enclave. Before you leave take a short driving tour of homes owned by the Kennedys, the Pulitzers, and many other celebrities.
Astros fans are gradually adjusting to the move from their longtime home in Kissimmee. Their numbers are increasing and many locals from the Palm Beaches area have adopted the team. The team has created a great rivalry with their training complex neighbors, the Nationals, as both teams have won a World Series in recent years. The teams play each other frequently, as the MLB is trying to keep travel to a minimum due to COVID protocols. Fans from both teams can stock up on team memorabilia at the Team Store located by the main gate.
Getting to a game at the ballpark is going to require a car. Parking is available as you enter the complex from Haverhill and costs $10 (credit cards only). Make sure you take one of the free trams that will drop you off at the park.
Once at the stadium, you will have a series of steps to navigate up to the concourse level. All fans must enter through the West Gate, and during the security check, this area can become quite congested. Once inside, the stadium is very well laid out. The stadium has wide concourses, and great signage and it will be easy to locate your seat. BTW, the seats are a generous 20 inches wide, making it much more comfortable for you as you enjoy the game.
Return on Investment 3
The FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches uses a variable pricing system depending on the popularity of the visiting teams. Prices for the different sections can be compared with the slide with the stadium schematic. Field Box seats ($37-$56), Dugout Boxes ($31-$47), Infield seats ($28-$42), Outfield Reserve ($23-$32), and the Banana Boat Berm ($15-$25). Pre-purchasing your ticket before game day brings the price down by $5. Parking is $10 and payment must be made by credit card.
The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches has canopies atop the stadium to provide as much shade and sun protection as possible. Parts of the concourse allow fans to see directly down into the bullpens.
Beach chairs atop the berm are available on a first-come/first-serve basis and provide a great view of the field while providing you with a wonderfully comfortable chair. A craft beer corner is in the left-field corner of the concourse. It has more than 32 tap handles to choose from.
The FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is a very functional facility, but it lacks the bells and whistles found in other spring training facilities. There was no drinking rail along the concourse and the video board never showed replays during the game… features that are found in nearly every ballpark. We found the concessions to be reasonable, and our view of the field was excellent. The lack of branding for the two resident teams was disappointing.