Boston Red Sox analyst Dennis Eckersley is unsure whether Major League Baseball's safety protocols are enough for games to be safely played as early as July.
The Hall of Famer offered his opinions on the 67-page document that surfaced last week, and he isn't optimistic about the league's ability to police things such as spitting and on-field social distancing.
"It's going to take some doing," Eckersley told Emerson Lotzia on NESN's "After Hours." "This thing could blow up in their faces. I hate to say that, but it could. Don't think they don't know all the things that could happen. That's one huge one that could stop it, too. There's a lot of risk involved for everybody, and everybody wants to play. But this is ambitious, to say the least."
Eckersley also said players are creatures of habit and the most difficult part will be for them to break their routines, especially if allowed to return home or even to hotels.
"Once again, it's back on the player. Whether it's going back to your hotel room or you go back to your house when you're at home," he said. "There's a lot of gray area there that they're going to have to be on their Ps and Qs, the players. It's on them. I wouldn't want to be the guy that messed it up."
The MLBPA submitted on Thursday a "wide-ranging" response to the league regarding the proposal, which did not address any financial concerns between the two sides. A league response is expected Friday.
However, Eckersley doesn't envision games beginning in July, even if the league and players' union come to an agreement on health and safety issues, as well as any financial ones. Opening Day in early July was reportedly suggested in a league proposal approved by team owners on May 11.
"As far as the July 4 date is concerned, that to me is pushing it," Eckersley said. "They've got a couple weeks here, they gotta get these things in order. One of the biggest things is, hello, the money issue. ... Everyone's got pressure to get it done, but the July 4 thing, I think, is kind of a pipe dream. I would think, if anything, it's shifted back a little."