With Joker Marchant Stadium and Tiger Town undergoing renovations this summer, the Lakeland Flying Tigers (High A; Florida State League) are making the best of playing the season at historic Henley Field.
Located about a mile-and-a-half south of Joker Marchant Stadium, Henley Field first opened in 1925 as the spring training home of the Cleveland Indians. The Detroit Tigers began training there in 1934 and — save for a few a springs in which wartime travel restrictions forced them conduct spring training at Bosse Field in Evansville, IN — remained at the facility until Joker Marchant’s opening in 1966. It’s served as home to the Flying Tigers in the past during the last round of Joker Marchant Stadium updates.
So far this season the Flying Tigers are averaging 406 fans per game — low even by FSL standards, but not bad considering the ballpark holds only 1,000 or so and there’s limited parking in the area. For the players, it’s been a mixed bag, per the Detroit Free Press:
“We don’t have a clubhouse,” said Flying Tigers manager Dave Huppert. “When it rains, we sit in the dugout. There’s a little locker room that’s an old one that we can get out of the rain, but it don’t fit everybody in it.”
Huppert said the dirt is “a little hard” at Henley, and “everybody’s a power hitter in that ballpark.”…
Huppert, who managed Lakeland to the FSL championship in 2012, said playing at Henley isn’t a problem.
“It’s got a lot of foul ground, so you can get a lot of outs that way,” Huppert said.
As Huppert noted, it’s a hitter’s ballpark. Christin Stewart leads the FSL in homers with 18, and Joey Pankake is second with 12.
Henley Field is a charming little ballpark; if you have a chance we’d recommend a visit.
RELATED STORIES: Flying Tigers to Henley Field for 2016 Season