By Carson K
Baseball season is just around the corner and, as usual, the Tigers are readying for Spring Training. The team’s games are set to start on February 23 on its newly renovated spring training stadium, the Joker Marchant Stadium, in Lakeland, Florida.
The Tigers first game is an exhibition match against the Florida Southern College Water Moccasins and starts at 1:05 pm. The following day, they will open their Grapefruit League play with the Baltimore Orioles and will follow up with an additional 35 games throughout the course of the next two months.
“I’m excited for the opening games, It’s always fun to watch the pros match up against College teams for training. The Orioles should be an interesting game too.” says Senior Morris Kirkland.
This season will mark the club’s 81st at TigerTown in Lakeland, making it the longest-standing relationship between a major league team and spring training host city. The program and state of Florida have recently spent upwards of $40 million dollars on stadium improvements, mostly going towards improved seating for spectators as well as an improved weight room for the players. Recently, General Manager Al Avila said in a press release, “We’re all very excited about the major renovations in Lakeland that look spectacular. TigerTown is being transformed into a world-class complex second to none in Major League Baseball. It’s going to make a quite a difference for the Detroit Tigers players and staff, and for the fans, who will appreciate the enhancements.”
Sophomore and softball player at Walled Lake Central Raegen Perttunen weighed in on the improvements, “I’ve never been to spring training game before but if the stadium is as nice as they say it is, it makes me want to go.”
The Tiger’s Minor league program has also made some important additions, including ex-Connecticut Tigers players Austin Sodders and Jacob Robson. Sodders, a starter and seventh round pick for the Tigers is known for his low earned run average (2.29) and his low walk average (1.1 per nine innings). Sodders walk average is second to only one player within the New York- Pennsylvania league, Zach Muckenhirn. Robson on the other hand is an outfielder with an exceptionally good batting average of .329. Robson plays all three outfield positions and is expected to eventually fill the Tigers center field opening.
Avid Tigers fans here at Walled Lake Central are also gearing up for this exciting spring training season, of them include sophomore Jacob Chartow, who played for the Walled Lake Central baseball team last year. Chartow told of some of his excitement about this training season, saying “There’s nothing cooler than getting to see some of those less experienced players get some playing time. You don’t realize the number of amazing athletes within a program until they all get a shot on the field.”
Senior and member of the Walled Lake Central Baseball program, AJ Wisniewski, also said that he looks forward to the team developing this spring, “I watch spring training games all the time and some of this year’s new additions are exciting. Its great to see the program revitalize their minor league system as well as try out some of their more experienced minor league players.”
Overall, the Tigers are looking to improve some existing flaws within program, and with new additions to the program itself, as well as improvements to the existing spring training stadium, the Tigers are looking at a promising upcoming training season for players and fans alike.