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  • Chris Green

Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium – Detroit Tigers Spring Training


Photos by Chris Green, Stadium Journey


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.86

Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium 2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd Lakeland, FL 33805

Detroit Tigers Spring Training website

Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium website


Year Opened: 1966

Capacity: 9,000

 

Tigertown Baseball Roars On

With a stadium as beautiful as that found at Tigertown in Lakeland, Florida, it is easy to see why the Detroit Tigers are one of the most enjoyable spring training destinations in the state. With a comfortable atmosphere with plenty of seating options and ways to enjoy the day, fans are in for a treat when watching the Tigers take the field. Located in between two of Florida’s biggest metro areas, it is easy to get to and provides a great option for those who wish to escape city life while not being too far from it.

Food & Beverage 4

The food options in Lakeland are plentiful and feature both your standard ballpark classics as well as twists on your everyday sports favorites. Hot dogs and burgers ($4-$6 and $7.50 respectively) are on the list, as is pizza from Little Caesars ($5 for a slice or $15 for a whole pizza). Drinks range from $4 for a Mike’s Hard Lemonade to $7 for premium drafts, and bottomless popcorn ($10) comes served in a batting helmet at Publix Field, as do Chili Cheese Fries ($7). Perhaps the most unique option on the menu is the “Nothin’ But A Hound” Dog, a grilled hot dog covered in Memphis BBQ sauce, coleslaw, and chips.

Atmosphere 4

Nestled on the shores of Lake Parker, Joker Marchant Stadium is stunning thanks to its latest renovation in 2017. A beautifully manicured outside parking area welcomes visitors, and the interior of the facility is equally as clean. Once inside, the concourse is easy to navigate, with signage all over the facility to direct you to where you want to go.

In addition, safety is of top concern here, with protective netting covering the entirety of the left and right field lines to the end of the seating – this means fans can enjoy the game without worrying about leaving the game with a concussion from a fly ball.

In addition, the view from pretty much every seat is a good one; families gather on the outfield berm on blankets as kids chase home runs and foul balls. Standing on the outfield patio bar area, fans can watch the game from an elevated position sitting in large beach chairs, or turn around and watch the minor leaguers practice on the warm-up fields.


Neighborhood 3

Lakeland isn’t a sprawling metropolis. That said, it features everything you need for your visit to be enjoyable. First off, Orlando and Tampa are almost equidistant from Lakeland, about 30 minutes away in either direction along I-4. For lodging options nearby, your closest options are right off I-4 a few miles from the stadium – there you can find Motel 6, La Quinta, and Ramada.

For food, that same I-4 exit yields a Bob Evans, Subway, Five Guys, and more. For things to see and do, the Fantasy of Flight air museum is just a 15-minute drive east on I-4, and Dinosaur World is almost the same distance west on I-4.

Fans 4

Spring weather in Florida is the exact opposite of that in Michigan on most days; warm, sunny days greet those fleeing the cold of the north, which means fans will flock to Florida’s climate. Detroit Tigers fans descend upon Central Florida in the spring to watch their hometown team take on the rest of the Grapefruit League, so solid crowds are to be expected on game day, even against local college teams during exhibition contests. But while games here may not always sell out, it is best to get your tickets early.

Another plus is that games at Tigertown are very family-friendly, with plenty of young fans running about the stadium during games.


Access 4

To get to Tigertown, I-4 is the best bet – Exit 33 will drop you off just a few miles north of the stadium. From there, drive south on Lakeland Hills Blvd and the facility will be right outside your car window. On-site parking is plentiful, and signage on the highway helps direct you to the right exit as you approach.

Return on Investment 5

Tickets for Tigers spring training games start at just $15 for berm seating in the outfield and go up to $38 for the highest-priced infield seats. Tickets for select games are also offered as suite experiences, including the Pepsi Pavilion in right field ($30), Club 34 which includes food and beverages ($85), and the Outback Dugout ($45), the prime place to snag player autographs during games.


For all ticket holders, the Tigers also offer an option to add on early access to the facility to watch batting practice for just $5 – this ticket gets you into the venue an hour earlier than everyone else. During this time you’re allowed onto the outfield berm to watch any practice happening on the main field, or you can walk down the backside of the outfield berm and watch batting practice on the practice fields behind the stadium.


Extras 3

Joker Marchant Stadium features a statue outside the main entrance of Publix founder George Jenkins and Joker Marchant, the city of Lakeland’s longtime parks and recreation director, for whom the facility is named.

You can also find both the starting lineups and a painted map of all of Florida’s Spring Training and MiLB teams on the walls of the main concourse. In addition, the stadium also features player autograph sessions before some games, meaning fans can get to meet some of tomorrow’s stars today.

Final Thoughts

Publix Field at Joker Merchant Stadium is a beautiful facility thanks to its latest renovation. While for the average fan MLB spring training is something that tends to get lost in the shuffle of Florida’s bustling sports world, this stadium stands out from the rest in a few different ways. Located perfectly between Orlando and Tampa, this facility is close enough to both to be a short drive, while also being a nice break from city life.

Easily one of the best facilities in the Florida State League for the Flying Tigers, Tigertown is a must-visit for Spring Training to enjoy the beauty of Florida baseball in the spring.

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