MLB Spring Training | Eyewitness News
LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — For die-hard baseball fans, February means spring training and the unofficial start of baseball season.
“The fascination is that the players are very acceptable to you. There’s no pressure on them. They’ll come and talk to you. They’ll sign autographs and so on,” said baseball fan Jerry Valonis.
Valonis’ family has traveled to Florida for spring training for the past ten years. Despite the current lockout, they say they are hungry for baseball.
“In February, pitchers and catchers are supposed to be there. And they usually go there in the middle of February, and that’s only a few weeks, you know, ahead of us. So hopefully there is some sort of movement,” Valonis said.
Valonis is concerned about the economic fallout for spring training communities if a settlement cannot be reached.
“We rent this condominium on a weekly basis. And they always give us a date, maybe only about three weeks before, where we can cancel. So they think about people going down, and yet on the other hand, they don’t know if we’re going to go down because of the situation,” says Valonis.
He feels for local players trying to make major league rosters.
“Once they are signed. It’s a company. And 24 hours a day is baseball, baseball, baseball. And if they have girlfriends or wives, you never know where you’re going to be day to day. I was a teacher involved in five strikes, there are two sides. There are two sides to a story. The thing is, I hope when we go to spring training there will be Major League Baseball,” Valonis said.
Further discussions between the property and the players’ union are scheduled for Monday. Valonis says he is optimistic and hopes that a solution will be found soon.