Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium was again voted the best ballpark in the Grapefruit League in Baseball Digest’s annual Best of the Ballparks fan vote. Home of the Lakeland Flying Tigers and the Detroit Tigers spring training, Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium is no stranger to winning awards for its beauty. The stadium won the vote in 2019 for Best of the Ballparks as well as being selected as the fans’ choice for best High-A MiLB ballpark in 2017. So, what makes Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium so special? We list the top ten reasons why Publix Field is truly the Best of the Ballparks!
1. Longest Active Relationship Between a Club and Host City
Many people don’t know this, but the Detroit Tigers and the city of Lakeland have the longest active relationship between a club and spring training host city, dating back to 1934. The Tigers have made Lakeland their winter home every year since, except for 1943-45, when World War II forced a temporary relocation to Evansville, IN. The Tigers began play at Henley Field, moving to what is now known as Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in 1967.
Beginning as the Lakeland Tigers in 1963, the Flying Tigers are tied for the longest continuous affiliation with a major club in all Minor League Baseball.
The 2020 season marks the Tigers 84th spring training in Lakeland and 55th at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium for the Tigers and Flying Tigers.
2. The Renovation
In 2016-2017 Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium underwent a massive renovation. The renovation included a new video board, 360-degree concourse, upgraded seating, and a state-of-the-art training facility.
With an emphasis on creating an exceptional fan experience, the concessions and restrooms were given a complete overhaul, the number of shaded seats were doubled, and all-inclusive group spaces were added. An indoor merchandise store and the 34 Club were added to provide fans a reprieve from the Florida sun.
With something for everyone, Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium is all about creating wonderful memories you and your family will never forget!
3. Hospitality Areas
Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium has a wide variety of hospitality areas for family and friends to enjoy a ball game with a little extra fun!
The ’34 Club, presented by Miller Lite, is a high-end, all-inclusive space, with indoor and outdoor seating, an all-you-can-eat buffet, a bar, and restrooms. Celebrating the history between the Tigers and the City of Lakeland, the walls are covered with historic photos and memorabilia dating back to 1934. Designed for individuals or groups of up to 200, the ’34 Club is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Margaritaville, presented by Margaritaville Rum & Tequila, is located directly down the right field line. The brightly colored Florida themed area provides an amazing view of the bullpens and the clubhouse entrance.
The Pepsi Pavilion is a covered patio deck to protect fans from the Florida sun and rain, located on the right field line. The pavilion features two tiers with a variety of seating options, including a mixture of picnic tables, stadium seating and drinking rails for all to enjoy.
The Dugout Club is the closest you are going to get to the players. Located along the first base line, the Dugout sits right at field level. Want a chance to get up close and personal with the players? Then the Dugout Club is where you need to be!
4. Video Board
Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium features one of the largest video boards in all of spring training. Sitting atop the berm, the video board is 46 feet wide by 26 feet tall. That’s a total of 1,196 square feet! This board is used to provide the ultimate fan experience, including everything from player information and stats, to new and exciting in-game promotions. Tired of going to a game and having to squint at the board just to see the score? Well, that won’t happen here with our new state of the art video board!
5. Kids Zone
Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium is the perfect place for kids – not just because of the game, but also because of the Kids Zone. Just adjacent to the berm the Kids Zone is centered around a 27-foot inflatable bounce house designed to look like the Flying Tigers mascot, Southpaw. The Kids Zone also features a slide, obstacle course, around the horn and speed pitch. The Kids Zone area is operated by our partner, KidsPACK, a local non-profit organization.
6. Pre-Game Player Autographs
Prior to each spring training and Flying Tigers game (excludes doubleheaders and morning games), fans will have an opportunity to get an autograph from a Detroit Tigers or Flying Tigers current or former player. From Hall of Famer Alan Trammell to one of the Tigers up and coming prospects, you never know who it might be. Fans are encouraged to arrive when gates open to take part in this limited opportunity.
7. The Runway
The Runway holds a great deal of historical significance that surrounds TigerTown and Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium. Built on top of the former Lodwick Field airstrip, the Runway connects the first base concourse and the berm, providing fans a 360-degree view of the field. Fans will be able to read about the history of TigerTown or watch the game from drink rails or beach chair seating while getting a unique look into the bullpens.
8. The Berm
The Berm is situated in the outfield and offers great views of the entire field. Fans are encouraged to bring their blankets and towels to soak up the summer sun as they enjoy the game. If you need something to cool you down, the Corona Cabana is just the place. Sitting atop the berm, the Cabana is a 360-degree bar, serving your favorite beer, liquor and frozen drinks.
Fans can also reserve a seat along the 120-foot berm drink rail, providing a spectacular view of the stadium with proximity to the bar.
Whether you’re looking for a frozen drink, a place for your kids to run around or a chance to catch a homerun ball, then the Berm is the place you need to be.
9. Player Facilities
TigerTown is a year-round facility and rehabilitation center for the Tigers major and minor league players, and the updated player facilities are top of the line. The 7,068 square-foot weight room and agility area are one of the largest in Major League Baseball. The new athletic training facility is outfitted with some of today’s most advanced treatment and rehabilitative modalities available.
TigerTown also features 4 practice fields, one of which is Astroturf, making it suitable for play year-around, regardless of the weather.
10. Flying Tigers Fan Favorite Promotions
Every Lakeland Flying Tigers game is an experience. Our fan-favorite promotional nights ensure no two games are alike. Promotions such as superhero night, the annual TigerTrot 5K and various food festivals such as the Chili Cookoff, Wing Ding, and Ice Cream Festival provide a different experience each night. Fans can also take home their very own game-used Flying Tigers jersey during our many specialty jersey auctions.
Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium provides a unique experience for fans of all ages. The rich history the stadium has with the Detroit Tigers and the city of Lakeland makes this stadium one of a kind. We invite you to take in a spring training or Flying Tigers game and see for yourself why Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium has been voted Best of the Ballparks two years running.