If you’re a baseball fan, you could pick few better places to live than Florida. Home to many of Major League Baseball’s spring training teams, the state offers plenty of options for tourists and residents who want to catch a game. Lakeland is home, of course, to the Detroit Tigers spring training team, as well as their minor league counterparts. Joker Marchant Stadium has played host to the Tigers for nearly fifty years and it’s a fine ballpark when it comes to an afternoon or evening of watching baseball.
Much like the Lakeland Center, the city once again outdoes itself when it comes to parking. You certainly won’t see easy parking like this in Tampa for a Rays game. All of the parking is in the immediate vicinity of the stadium, with most of it on the property itself. The city charges $7 a car for the privilege of parking in the lot, with extra parking for $4 in the church across the street (though this lot fills up fast, so get there early if you want to take advantage of the reduced pricing). On Saturday nights, the stadium usually offers a fireworks show after the game. This is also the destination for 4th of July fireworks, though it has been usurped somewhat by the city’s Red, White, and Kaboom show, which takes place on the 3rd downtown.
As far as games themselves, there’s really not a bad seat in the house. All of the seats offer an untrammeled view of the field, though the best seats are probably behind home plate and along the first base line. Seats get slightly worse as you move into the left field area, with individual seats being replaced by undivided bleachers. The “upper deck” of the left field bleachers have no back rest, making it a poor choice for those who need the support. Further seating is available on the berm behind the outfield fence. Here, fans can spread out blankets and enjoy the game in a casual manner with their families.
From the beginning of the game until the end, the concourse remains alive, thriving as a sort of baseball city. Concessions are plentiful. You can get $7.50 beers, which, while not a price anyone is going to go nuts over, is better than you’ll find at many sporting events. Hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, Dairy Queen, Chic Fil A, soft pretzels, and Pepsi products are readily available for those who want a snack during the game.
If you’re a baseball fan in the area who wants to see a Major League game, you can’t do much better than a Tigers game at Joker Marchant. Sure, you can wait until the season starts and catch a game at Tropicana, but is baseball really the same when played underneath a dome? Surely this is a game meant for the outdoors. If you still have a hankering for baseball after the spring training season is over, you can watch the Lakeland Flying Tigers compete from April through August. There’s a good chance you could catch an early glimpse of the next generation of Major League stars.
2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd.
Lakeland, FL 33805