Spring Training kicks off with Governor’s Baseball Dinner

By: Jessica Roberts

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Sports Foundation, the Detroit
Tigers and Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing will host the annual
Governor’s Baseball Dinner Thursday, February 16.

Considered the kick off to Florida’s Spring Training season,
the event will be held at the newly renovated Publix Field at Joker Marchant
Stadium in Lakeland.

Top executives from around the Florida Grapefruit League and
numerous state and local officials are expected to attend.

“We are honored to host the Governor’s Baseball Dinner,
an annual spring training baseball tradition,” said Polk County Tourism
and Sports Marketing Director Mark Jackson. “Polk County has a more than 80
year relationship with Major League Baseball in general and the Detroit Tigers
in particular, and we are proud that this event will unveil the improvements to
Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium to the world.”

The Governor’s Baseball Dinner annually celebrates the
opening of the Florida Grapefruit League season in Florida. The State of
Florida is a frontrunner in Spring Training Baseball dating back to 1888 when
the Washington Senators came south to Jacksonville. Speakers will include Al Kaline, Alan Trammell, Willie Horton, Mickey Lolich, Lance Parrish and Jack Morris.

The Tigers and Lakeland enjoy the longest relationship in
Major League Baseball Spring Training. This will be the 81st year
the Tigers take to the field in Polk County. More than $40 million in
improvements have been completed over the past year, including more shaded
areas, additional box seats, new player amenities, added concession stands and
a Margaritaville Deck, as well as a new scoreboard and sound system.

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