LAKELAND, Fla. (WOOD) - Florida governor Rick Scott used the Tigers Spring Training complex, Tigertown, as the main selling point for a proposal to help Florida cities fund projects to keep MLB teams in the state for their Spring Training.
According to tigers.com , his proposal would establish a $5 million annual fund which the state would match money raised by local governments. All of the money would go specifically to Spring Training facilities.
"It's my job as governor to make sure Florida remains the No. 1 destination for Spring Training," Gov. Scott said in a statement.
Since 1998 six major league clubs have moved their Spring Training facilities to Arizona.
The Tigers have called Lakeland its Spring Training home since 1946 - the longest relationship between club and city in the majors.
Lakeland is working on a renovation to Joker Marchant Stadium and Tigertown which would add more seating and updates to the practice fields and other facilities.
"For 77 years, the Tigers organization has enjoyed an outstanding relationship with the City of Lakeland, calling Joker Marchant Stadium and the complex their winter home," Dave Dombrowski, Tigers president and CEO said in a statement. "We are excited and appreciative that the great state of Florida is doing all it can to continue this partnership for many years to come."
The plan comes at a time when the league is split evenly - 15 clubs in both Florida and Arizona. An odd total leads to complications in scheduling in which teams are forced to play split-squad games or take days off. When each Spring Training agreement between town and club comes to an end, new speculations arise about possible flips to a new site in a new state.