When the Detroit Tigers play their first Lakeland game this year on Feb. 26, seating in the stands at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium will be reduced from a little over 8,000 to 2,000 as a pandemic precaution.

Spring-training tickets in the stands will be sold in pods of two or four, and pods will be spaced six feet away from one another, under plans approved by Major League Baseball, the city of Lakeland announced today. Masks will be required at the stadium.

UPDATES: The city of Lakeland updated its news release on Thursday, changing the maximum number of stands seats to 2,000, down from the previously reported 2,200. In addition, the new release says seating will be reduced at party areas such as the Pepsi Porch and the Berm without mentioning an amount; the previous release said 50%. The new release does not mention suites; the earlier version said seating there would be reduced to 75% capacity.

Other COVID-19 precautions include doing away with pre-game activities before the first pitch and interactions between fans and players, city spokesman Kevin Cook said.

The Tigers are contacting season ticket holders to arrange pod seating, according to Bob Donahay, city parks and recreation director. After that, remaining tickets will go on sale on the Tigers website.

The city looked for ways to maximize attendance while staying within COVID-19 restrictions, Donahay said. For example, 400 standing-room-only tickets will be made available, he said.

Tigers pitchers and catchers are scheduled to arrive Feb. 17, followed by the rest of the team on Feb. 22.

The season opens Feb. 26 at Marchant Stadium with an exhibition game against Southeastern University. Two days later, the Tigers host a home game against the Boston Red Sox.

This is the Tigers’ 85th Spring Training in Lakeland and 56th at the current stadium.

2021 Tigers Spring Training Home Schedule

  • Feb. 28: Red Sox
  • March 1: Astros
  • March 2: Braves
  • March 4: Orioles
  • March 6: Yankees
  • March 7: Nationals
  • March 11: Blue Jays
  • March 12: Phillies
  • March 14: Pirates
  • March 17: Orioles
  • March 18: Rays
  • March 21: Blue Jays
  • March 23: Phillies
  • March 24: Rays
  • March 26: Yankees
  • March 27: Phillies
  • March 29: Rays

View the full 2021 Spring Training schedule

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Barry Friedman founded Lkldnow.com in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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