The Winter Olympics in Sochi is on TV and the snow is still piled up outside. But there is good news: the Detroit Tigers have reported to Spring Training in Lakeland.
Sadly, we aren’t going south this March. Ever since we were married some 37 years ago, we have rarely missed Spring Training. In fact, in the last two years, we were able to get press passes and go into the clubhouse and on the field. That was an experience!
The first year, crouched on the third-base line, I discovered the secret to not getting your knees and butt dirty was to bring a short step stool to sit on like all the “professional” photographers do. Last year, I went to Walmart and bought one and sat there comfortably like a pro! Still, at my age, I figured if a line-drive foul ball was hit at me, forget trying to run. I would duck and cover. Fortunately, there were no close calls!
The big news in Lakeland is the ballpark — Joker Marchant Stadium, a.k.a. Tigertown — is going to get a major renovation. The left-field-line bleachers are going to be razed and grandstand extended to the foul pole. The “berm” in left field will be wrapped around to right field, and a 360-degree concourse will circumnavigate the ballpark. It is a BIG DEAL — $37.5 million worth.
The Tigers contract with the city of Lakeland expires in 2016, and negotiations are under way to sign a new 20- or 30-year agreement. If, and when, signed, the Detroit Tigers-Lakeland partnership will surpass the 100-year mark. Already at 78 years, the Tigers and Lakeland have the longest relationship in Major League Baseball. Work on the expansion is slated to begin next year after Spring Training. You have to know we’ll be there in 2016!
Hasn’t this winter been something? I have to say, though, that we are fortunate to live in the Pointes. In some communities, the streets aren’t even plowed. Driving them is treacherous. Here’s a thought: Don’t leave Grosse Pointe!
Which brings me to my recurrent parting words: Please patronize our local stores and advertisers. You will not only be helping them, but you will also being securing our future — and property values.
Think spring and warm weather!
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