A year ago, lackluster little Lakeland, the Tigers’ spring home for 71 years — longer than Jim Leyland has been alive — was nothing more than a whistle stop on the sun-burned national baseball writers’ annual tour of Florida’s small-town training camps. — Jim Hawkins, The Daily Tribune
“Lakeland is an old town with a main street and with parks … and with lots of great antique shops — like 30 of them,” Franck said. “I would recommend fans to go to the parks. Bonnet Park is very well located (near restaurants and shops). It’s the type of area you can just park your car, walk around and feel safe. The golfing is wonderful. There are like five or six courses in the area. Edgewood is a great public course.” — Detroit Free Press
Lakeland: (Past Years) Accidental pit stop en route to Tampa (Now) Hottest ticket in Florida — Detroit Free Press
When I started going to Lakeland, I’d have thought it was a suburb of Detroit. The Michigan license plates were everywhere. Snowbirds and vacationers put Tigers spring training in their Florida plans.
As the Tigers racked up one losing season after another in these last few decades, the Michigan plates increasingly became rare around Lakeland during spring training. If I see them return in abundance this year, I will further believe the Tigers are all the way back in the hearts of their fans. — John Lowe, Detroit Free Press