LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — As disappointed fans showed up at the box office for ticket refunds, city officials remained hopeful Tigertown would host spring training games this season.

“We know at some point they’re going to work this out, they’re going to be playing games and spring training will still happen,” said Bob Donahay, Lakeland parks and recreation director.

But even if they happen someday, it will be too late for a Michigan father and son’s annual trip.

“You buy your tickets back in October and plan the flights and everything and we’re here and it is what it is,” said John Pagel, from north of Detroit.

“Kind of get the rug pulled out from under you,” his son, Brendan Pagel, said.

The Pagels want to make a tradition out of attending Detroit Tiger games at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. They came for a week in 2021, attended a few games across the Bay area, and planned to do the same this year.

Instead of watching a ball game at Publix Field, they were at the box office getting a refund for their tickets.

Tuesday evening, Major League Baseball players and team owners failed to come to an agreement.

As a result, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred postponed opening day, canceled the first two series of the regular season and pushed spring training back until at least March 11.

“My deepest hope is we get an agreement quickly,” Manfred said. “I’m really disappointed we didn’t make an agreement.”

“The last time baseball ran into an extended work stoppage, it really cost the game and it took them multiple years to get back,” John Pagel said. “I think with everything that’s happened with the pandemic, it might even be worse this time so they need to work it out.”

City officials in Lakeland said the spring training games generate up to $55 million for the local economy. This year’s spring training schedule included several games against the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

“Those are really well-attended games and for Lakeland, for our economy… that kind of hurts,” said Bob Donahay, Lakeland parks and recreation director.

Eight home games have been canceled so far. Donahay does not know whether the schedule will stay the same or be altered if and when spring training begins.

However, he is confident some games will happen.

“You need four weeks of spring training. Pitchers have to go at least 4-5 times in a rotation to get their arm stretched out to be able to pitch in the major leagues for the regular season,” he said.

Detroit Tigers are offering refunds or credits for people who purchased tickets or have season tickets.

Fans can watch Minor League players practice during mini-camp.