Road Trip: Space Coast Stadium Viera, Florida

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by Corey Mansfield

Last week, while I was on vacation in Florida I was able to take road trip to Viera, Floria and Space Coast Stadium to watch the Jupiter Hammerheads take on the Brevard County Manatees.

I started planning my trip a week few months ago but my plans seemed to fall a part when I didn't hear back from the Brevard County Manatees about media credentials. Most teams are pretty understanding about giving out media credentials while others aren't. I think I emailed the team four times and sent messages to them on social media. However, I didn't hear back until a day before the game. Ultimately, I didn't take the Manatees up on their offer.

I tried my best to plan ahead since I knew I would need a rental car for my trip from Orlando to Viera. I was staying at Disney so I tried to find the closest car rental location to it's grounds. I soon realized that the place I made my reservation had no transportation to pick up the rental car. So either I was going to have to change my reservations or walk a few miles, crossing over an interstate in scorching temperatures. Luckily, I have a smart wife who reads the fine print and noticed that Alamo Rent-A-Car provides a shuttle from Disney resorts to their rental location.

Some of my blogging gear
Before I headed out to the game I spent the morning at Disney Animal Kingdom theme park with my wife and kids. I headed back to the resort to get all my blogging gear and take the shuttle to Alamo when I came across this...

My kids and I waiting to get into our hotel room while it was being cleaned before I headed out..
 After the quick shuttle ride from the resort to Alamo I picked up my sweet ride for the night...

Hyundai Elantra with a few hundred miles on it

The drive from Orlando to the stadium was pretty easy and only took me a little over an hour. There were a few tolls which totaled about $9.00 (round trip). Overall, it was beautiful ride on the east coast of Florida.

A little 80's hair metal on the way down
I got the stadium a little early and had a chance to walk around the stadium and take some pictures. You can view the pictures here.

A beautiful clear sky on the east coast of Florida.

The game experience was pretty basic as there was no promos going on aside from some food and drink specials. Team merchandise was reduced 25% off with no returns. This may attributed to the fact that the Manatees will be relocating next season to Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee, Florida. The organization is probably reducing costs and limiting their marketing as the Manatees because they'll probably be re-branding next season. Heck, I didn't even get a lid for my soda.

The official attendance for the game was 1,487. However, it didn't seem like there was more than a thousand fans at the game. The team had actually blocked off some of the stands with logo themed tarps as they anticipated low attendance.

You can see the tarps over the seats on the upper seats down the left field line (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)
The game was great once the sun went down. Jupiter defeated the Manatees 3-1, behind seven solid innings pitched from Michael Mader.

There was some slight controversy in the top of the seven though. With a runner on first a ball was hit to deep center field which one hopped the fence hitting over the yellow line distinguishing between the home run wall and batter's eye. The runner on first scored and the batter advanced to third. However, the umpires discussed the play and issued the proper call which was a ground rule double and the runners went back to second and third. Mader eventually worked out of the inning.

Since there wasn't many fans at the game you could hear the hecklers clearly. A few drunk ones were screaming about the play. Myself and another fan turned around from our seats and tried to explain the play to inebriated fans but they wanted nothing of it. After the game one of the players told me he could hear me from the stands. Pretty funny...

Before I headed back to Disney I went and had dinner with Jupiter pitcher, Michael Mader.  It's always cool to hear about his experiences from the road as a player. I've known Mader since 2014 and it's been great to see him grow as a pitcher and person. Hopefully his journey takes him to the major leagues.

Michael Mader (photo credit: Corey Mansfield)

I got back to Disney at about 12:30am and though I was extremely exhausted I had to pack all my things for an early morning flight back to Albany, NY.

Overall, it was a great time. While the stadium and game experience was lacking it was still cool to see a new venue and explore a part of Florida I had never been to before. 
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