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Joker Marchant Stadium


Spring Training home of the Tigers since 1966

Ballpark address:
2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd.
Lakeland, FL   33805

Opened: 1966
Capacity: 9,000

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Joker Marchant Stadium

Location
Joker Marchant Stadium is a short drive from I-4. Appropriate for a team from the Motor City, the ballpark's neighbors are auto dealerships. Lakeland's local Honda, Acura and GMC dealerships are in the ballpark's backyard - cars are literally in the shadows of the left field grandstand.

Directions
Take I-4 to Exit 33 and follow Route 33 South (Lakeland Hills Blvd.) for about 2½ miles and the ballpark will be on your left.

Parking
Although the lot surrounds the stadium, most people park on its first base side in either a grass field or paved lot. You don't want to park on the stadium's third base side, as the limited spaces there are in harm's way. Harm being foul balls. The large grass field behind left field is safe. Just take Granada Street and enter it via Horton Way. A cheaper parking alternative is available at Christ Lutheran Church, which is across the street from the stadium's left field lot entrance. The parking fee there is only $5 and you'll have the added benefit of avoiding post game parking lot congestion. Just look for the numerous orange-shirted volunteers, whom are church congregation members that also operate a charity hot dog concession in their parking lot that is alongside Granada and about 50 yards from the stadium lot entrance.
 Stadium Cost: $8


Stadium Information
With its Mediterranean-style facade and nicely landscaped exterior, Joker Marchant Stadium is a lovely site to behold. Surrounded by lush trees, it's the centerpiece of the Tigertown complex and has been hosting Tigers spring training games for over four decades. The team has trained in Lakeland even longer, since 1934 (excepting the World War II years of 1943-45). The relationship between the city and team is the longest in spring training history. Built for just $360,000 in 1966, Joker Marchant Stadium was erected with concrete structure during a time when other stadiums were being built with structural steel (concrete withstands rust, structural steel does not). It has expanded over the years from its original capacity of 4,900 through renovations. The most recent one, completed just prior to the 2003 season at a cost of $10 million, added a berm in left field. The stadium was named after the city's former Parks and Recreation Director, who was instrumental in establishing the Tigertown complex.

Fast Facts

  • The single lane streets outside the stadium are named for past Tiger greats (Kaline Drive and Horton Way).
  • Most fans enter the stadium through its home plate gate, although there are also first and third base gates.
  • The ticket office is adjacent to the home plate gate and has a covered waiting area that's partially paved with engraved personalized bricks.
  • The concourse is behind the stadium and is completely covered. It includes a picnic area behind home plate.
  • Plaques dedicated to Al Kaline, the stadium's namesake, and the 1968 Tigers are found near an entrance portal on the first base concourse.
  • The bullpens are next to each other beyond the right-center field wall, well away from where fans sit. They are, in fact, the most isolated, and thereby least fan accessible, bullpens at a spring training park.
  • The clubhouses and Tigers' executive offices are housed in the two-story building down the right field line.
  • The stadium has two scoreboards. The main one in right-center has a video board. A tiny one just to the left of the batter's eye resembles the classic Little League scoreboard. There's also a display to the right of the batter's eye that posts the MPH of each pitch.
  • The lights hum loudly during night games.
  • Souvenirs are available at two spots on the concourse. The main Tigers team shop is behind home plate and a tent is set up behind third base.

    Practice Fields

  • The Tigertown complex is behind the outfield and includes six practice fields. Fields 1 through 4 are in a cloverleaf formation. The other two fields are named for a pair of Tigers legends and are on opposite ends of the complex. Al Kaline Field is found behind the Joker Marchant Stadium berm while Hank Greenberg Field is near the Tigertown entrance gate.
  • Once the Tigers' spring training schedule begins, fans are not allowed into Tigertown to watch any of of the back field practicing. However, fans can stand behind the outfield fences of three of the fields -- #2 and #3, plus Al Kaline Field, which is the Tigers' main practice field. For all three fields, plenty of standing room is available in batting practice home run territory between the easy-to-see through chain-linked fences and Granada Street.
  • The Tigers take their batting practice inside of the stadium, generally starting three hours before game time and ending just as the gates open. But beginning in 2013 fans can pay an extra $5 to get into the stadium early to see Tigers BP. The cost of the "BP Pass" is added to the price of a game ticket at the box office, where already bought tickets can be upgraded, and early admission is through the 3rd Base gate only, as only the left field berm and left field line grandstand will be open.

    Types of Seating
    Joker Marchant Stadium seating diagram Fans have their choice between traditional stadium seats with chair backs and armrests, bleachers with or without seat backs, or the outfield lawn.

  • Stadium seats: Sections 100-112 and 200-210.
  • Bleachers: Sections 301-304 are sold as Left Field Reserved seats but are just bleacher benches with seat backs. Sections 401-403 (formerly called General Admission) are bleachers without seat backs.
  • Berm: A 45-foot sloped hill with a capacity of 400 people encompasses all of left field.

    Notes about the seating

  • The Tigers dugout is on the first base side. To make sure you're on the home side of the stadium, buy your tickets in sections 100-106 or 200-206.
  • An aisle divides the stadium's main grandstand into two distinct sections. Box seats are below the aisle, Reserved seats above it. There are far more reserved seats than box seats.
  • All stadium seats have cup holders.
  • Handicapped accessible seating is spread throughout the main grandstand. It can be found on the concourse above section 100, in a raised platform behind section 112, in row A of section 202 and at the top of sections 203-205. There's also spaces set aside on the concourse above the berm in left field.
  • The protective screen behind home plate extends from sections 105-108. An additional protective net is in front of sections 101-102 behind first base.
  • The seats at the very top of sections 401-403 are actually above the main grandstand's roof and it can get windy up there.
  • Standing room is plentiful on or around the berm. Limited standing room is available directly behind the box seats in the open space between the third base grandstand and bleachers plus in a similar area on the stadium's first base side.
  • Ushers in the main grandstand keep its narrow cross-aisle clear at all times and will generally prevent anyone from trying to sneak into a box seat that's sans a ticket for one. They will, however, let you plop down anywhere else in the stadium if you can find an available seat.

    Sections and rows

  • Rows for sections with stadium seats range as follows:
    AA to EE in section 100; AA to HH in sections 101-102; FF to HH in sections 103-104; AA to HH in sections 105-108; FF to HH in sections 109-110; DD to FF in section 111; DD to GG in section 112; A to Q in sections 200-201; D to W in section 202; A to W in sections 203-204; A to T in section 205; A to Q in sections 206-207; A to M in section 208; A to W in sections 209-210
  • Rows for sections with bleacher seats range as follows:
    A to L in sections 301-304; 24 unmarked rows make up sections 401-403 (they will be numbered beginning in 2012)
  • Rows I and O are skipped in all applicable sections.

    Tickets

  • The first three rows of all 100-level sections are sold as Field Box.
  • Sections 100-102 are sold as Baseline Box (except for the 3 rows of Field Box seats).
  • Sections 103-112 are sold as Infield Box (except for the 3 rows of Field Box seats).
  • Sections 200-210 are sold as Reserved.
  • Sections 301-304 are sold as Left Field Reserved.
  • Sections 401-403 are sold as Bleachers.
  • Space on the left field lawn is sold as Berm.
  • Prior to their 3rd birthday, children do not need a ticket.

    Seats to avoid
    The worst seats in the house are found in row A of the Left Field Reserved bleachers (sections 301-304). That row is at field level and behind a chain link fence that is difficult to see over. Some of the best seats in the house unexpectedly have a protective net in front of them. All Box seats in sections 101 and 102 are affected. They are the first two sections to the right of the Tigers' dugout. Stay away from them unless you don't mind looking through the black netting normally only found behind home plate, where a screen is not as annoying because it's expected.

    Seats in the shade
    The stadium's roof covers rows N & up in sections 202-210. Not only are all seats in those rows covered (and thereby shaded), but because the sun is positioned behind the main grandstand shade is able to creep down further in the nine sections that the roof partly covers. For the typical 1:05 afternoon start, seats that are fully shaded can be found in rows E & up in sections 202-205, F & up in section 206, G & up in section 207, J & up in section 208, and L & up in sections 209-210. Once daylight saving time begins, the seats that receive shade at the beginning of the game shift to rows G & up in sections 202-204, D & up in section 205, B & up in sections 206-208, and E & up in sections 209-210. As the game progresses, all seats in sections 205-210 become shaded.

    VIP seating
    There are six suites, each named after a Tiger legend, on either side of the press box. Two are on the first base side of home plate and four extend down the third base line. All six have balconies with stadium seats. Elsewhere, the Officers' Club is a rudimentary private party deck at the top of section 209 that has wooden bar chairs, high top tables and deck chairs.


    Game Day
    Gates open approximately 2 hours before first pitch - at 11:00 a.m. for an afternoon (1:05) start and 4:00 p.m. for an evening (6:05) start. The will call window opens at 9 a.m.

    Food, drink and bag policy

  • No food can be brought into the stadium.
  • Bottles, cans, thermos jugs and other liquid containers are not permitted in the stadium.
  • Bags are allowed up to a maximum size of 16" x 16" x 8".

    Getting autographs
    The Tigers' clubhouse is down the right field line and Tigers players will sign for fans gathered in the box seats between it and their dugout, both before and after the game. The visiting team uses the same clubhouse but their players usually take a route to it that cuts across the field, whereas the Tigers walk along the warning track close to the first base stands. So Lakeland's ballpark is a so-so one for home team autographs and a lousy place for those who prefer signatures from the visiting team. Serious autograph hounds will want to head to the right field corner outside of the stadium following the game and take their chances on a Tiger or two emerging from their clubhouse. The visiting team's bus will also be parked nearby, but behind the fence in a restricted area. So once again fans of the visiting team will likely be thwarted in their autograph pursuits.

    Unique ballpark fare
    Your taste buds will love the Lakeland concession stands. The Little Caesars Pizza stand is a natural fit, given that Tigers owner Mike Ilitch owns the pizza chain. A tuna sandwich and turkey burger is on the ballpark menu, in addition to the regular hamburgers, hot dogs, Italian sausages and grilled chicken sandwiches that are found at the six-sided hut on the first base concourse. In 2009, a stand set up on the third base concourse served up some of the most sumptuous pulled pork, baked beans and potato salad ever found inside a ballpark. The same stand in 2010 eliminated the side items but added BBQ nachos. The nearby Canteen has the best bottled beer selection in the stadium, which serves Bud and Bud Light on draft. Fountain drinks were long provided by Coca-Cola, but pouring rights now belong to Pepsi.


    2014 Tigers Spring Training Schedule


    (only home games at Joker Marchant Stadium are listed)
     February/March
    Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
        25
    Fla Southern
    1:05
    Tickets
    26 27
    Braves
    1:05
    Tickets
    28
    Yankees
    1:05
    Tickets
    1
    Astros
    1:05
    Tickets
    2 3
    Cardinals
    1:05
    Tickets
    4
    Pirates
    1:05
    Tickets
    5 6
    Phillies
    1:05
    Tickets
    7 8
    Mets
    1:05
    Tickets
    9 10 11
    Blue Jays
    1:05
    Tickets
    12 13
    Marlins
    1:05
    Tickets
    14
    Nationals
    1:05
    Tickets
    15
    Astros
    1:05
    Tickets
    16 17
    Nationals
    1:05
    Tickets
    18
    Blue Jays
    1:05
    Tickets
    19 20 21 22
    23
    Marlins
    1:05
    Tickets
    24 25
    Braves
    1:05
    Tickets
    26 27
    Braves
    1:05
    Tickets
    28
    Rays
    1:05
    Tickets
     

    * Single game tickets went on sale Saturday, January 11. Links in calendar are to TicketsNow inventory.
    See the full 2014 Tigers Spring Training schedule


    Ballpark Area Info
    Lakeland is the only remaining spring training site in Florida that doesn't have a beach or major amusement park within a 10 mile or so drive. Really, it's just a sleepy central Florida town best known as the home of Publix Super Markets and as a destination for aviation buffs (Fantasy of Flight is nearby). As its name would suggest, Lakeland does have lots of lakes, one of which (Lake Parker) you can see from the upper third base grandstand. But unlike the majority of other Grapefruit League cities, it's not a place you'd normally visit outside of spring training although there is one site that many folks do stop by year-round to see. That would be the "Child of the Sun" collection of buildings found at Florida Southern College, which is about four miles from the stadium, that were designed by the legendary American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The college's campus is home to a dozen such buildings, making it the largest single-site collection of Wright's architecture in the world.

    Travelers' notes

  • The stadium is just a couple miles south of I-4.
  • Henley Field, the Tigers' original spring training home in Lakeland, is just 1.4 miles from Joker Marchant Stadium and is still used by Florida Southern College, a Division II school that has won 9 baseball championships.
  • The stadium's location is less remote than it feels, but Lakeland is definitely not a tourist town in a state full of them.

    Nearby Hotels

    Hotels close to Joker Marchant Stadium

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    Distance Hotel Street Address City/Zip Phone
    0.7 miles Relax Inn 1433 Lakeland Hills Blvd Lakeland, FL 33805 863-683-6745
    1.2 Motel 6 3120 US Highway 98 N Lakeland, FL 33805 863-682-0643
    1.3 Holiday Palm Inn 508 E Memorial Blvd Lakeland, FL 33801 863-682-0303
    1.3 Ramada 3260 US Highway 98 N Lakeland, FL 33805 863-688-8080
    1.4 Economy Inn 1224 E Memorial Blvd Lakeland, FL 33801 863-683-7954
    1.6 La Quinta Inn 1024 Crevasse St Lakeland, FL 33809 863-859-2866
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    Nearby Restaurants

    Restaurants close to Joker Marchant Stadium

    Distance Restaurant Street Address City/Zip Phone
    0.25 miles Charlie's Family Restaurant 2614 Lakeland Hills Blvd Lakeland, FL 33805 863-683-2999
    0.5 Chin Take Out 1801 N Florida Ave Lakeland, FL 33805 863-683-4040
    0.85 Cafe Roti 200 Parkview Pl Lakeland, FL 33805 863-688-2800
    0.9 Cajun Crab Shack 1316 N Florida Ave Lakeland, FL 33805 863-687-4441
    1.0 Crab Kitchen 428 W 10th St Lakeland, FL 33805 863-687-2722
    1.2 Bob Evans 3130 US Highway 98 N Lakeland, FL 33805 863-688-0039
    1.2 Denny's 3204 US Highway 98 N Lakeland, FL 33805 863-687-3390
    1.2 Burger King 3212 US Highway 98 N Lakeland, FL 33805 863-688-9916
    1.2 Long John Silver's 3108 US Highway 98 N Lakeland, FL 33805 863-680-2906
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    Nearby attractions

    Airports close to Joker Marchant Stadium

    Distance Airport Airport Code
     6.9 miles Lakeland Linder Regional LAL
    36.3 Tampa International TPA
    44.8 Orlando International MCO
    46.8 St. Petersburg-Clearwater International PIE
    60.2 Sarasota Bradenton International SRQ
    80.6 Melbourne International MLB
    93.9 Daytona Beach International DAB

    Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland
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