Hall of Fame pitcher and Red Sox analyst Dennis Eckersley is among many who were shocked by some of the drastic rule changes Major League Baseball proposed to its players’ union in order to get the season started safely.
Appearing on NESN’s “After Hours” earlier this week, Eckersley said he has a hard time believing baseball players will be able to follow all the proposed changes without issues.
“It’s going to take some doing,” Eckersley told host Emerson Lotzia. “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.”
As part of the ongoing negotiations to begin the season in early July, MLB sent a 67-page safety proposal to the players’ union last week. The document included many drastic changes for players, including prohibiting spitting, discouraging the use of stadium showers, implementing social distancing measures and limiting interaction with people away from the ballpark.
Eckersley, who played 24 years in the majors before retiring in 1998, said the changes would be a tough sell for baseball players, who tend to be routine-oriented. On Thursday, the MLB Players Association issued a formal response to MLB’s proposal, including notes about testing frequency, protocols for positive tests, protections for high-risk players and relatives and other topics.