Joker Marchant Stadium
In 2010, the Detroit Tigers will begin their 74th season in Lakeland and their 44th year at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Joker Marchant Stadium was named in honor of the late Joker Marchant, Lakeland's former parks and recreation director. The all-concrete grandstand of the stadium was built by the City of Lakeland at a cost of $500,000 and originally seated 4,900 spectators. In the early 1970s, expansion projects brought the stadium's capacity to 7,100. A recent renovation project raised the capacity to approximately 8,500. Previous renovations have included the addition of lights that allowed the first night game to be played in Lakeland in 1972. A food and picnic court was added in 1994 to increase the fan appeal of the stadium.
The stadium under went an $11 million renovation project in 2003. The project has transformed the park into a state of the art facility that features six luxury suites, a second tier concourse level, new seating areas, an outfield berm, new seats with cup holders, and improved seating and access for handicap fans. The press box has also been improved and expanded, and a new practice field and four new indoor batting cages have been installed. The exterior of the ball park was renovated, as well with Mediterranean style architecture.
Joker Marchant Stadium is located on a dynamic complex known as, "Tiger Town." Tiger Town has been the home of the Detroit Tigers since 1953. Also on-site is a three-story dormitory, which provides housing for 190 players and coaches. The building was dedicated in 1971, and named in honor of the late John Fetzer, former owner and president of the Detroit Tigers. Recently, the building has undergone a number of renovations to improve the living quality for players and coaches. An administrative building, cafeteria, and recreation hall are also on the facility.
Tiger Town is the regular season home of the Lakeland Flying Tigers, the Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. The Flying Tigers season begins immediately after Detroit's Spring Training concludes and runs through August. Prior to 2007, the team was known as the Lakeland Tigers. The 2010 season will mark the 44th season as a Tigers affiliate, the second longest affiliation in all of Minor League Baseball. The upcoming season will also mark Lakeland's 58th season in the Florida State League (FSL). Lakeland is an original member of the FSL, which was established in 1919.
Tiger Town is owned and operated by the City of Lakeland. The City of Lakeland's Parks and Recreation Department is responsible for maintaining the facilities.