LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — For diehard baseball fans, February means spring training and the unofficial start of the baseball season.

“The fascination is the players are very acceptable to you. There’s no pressure on them. They’ll come over and talk with you. They’ll sign autographs and so forth,” said baseball fan Jerry Valonis.

Valonis’ family has traveled to Florida for spring training for the last ten years. Despite the current lockout, they say they’re eager for baseball.

“Come February, pitchers and catchers are supposed to be down there. And they usually go down there in the middle of February, and that’s only a couple weeks, you know, ahead of us. So, I hope there is some kind of movement,” said Valonis.

Valonis is concerned about the economic fallouts for spring training communities if a settlement cannot be reached.

“We rent this condominium for the week. And they still give us a date, maybe only about three weeks before where we can cancel. So they’re thinking about people coming down, and yet on the other hand, they don’t know if we’re going to come down because of the situation,” explained Valonis.

He feels for local players trying to make major league rosters.

“Once they get signed. It’s a business. And 24 hours a day it’s baseball, baseball, baseball. And if they have girlfriends or wives, you never know where you’re going to be from day to day. I was a teacher involved in five strikes, there’s both sides. There’s two sides of a story. The thing is I hope when we go down to spring training there will be Major League Baseball,” said Valonis.

Further talks between ownership and the players union are scheduled for Monday. Valonis says he is optimistic and hopeful a resolution will be reached soon.