Red Sox

McAdam: If baseball hopes to play, work must start now

(Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

According to a number of reports, Major League Baseball is in the process of readying a proposal to put in front of the Major League Baseball Players Association, with an eye toward restarting spring training by mid-June and beginning a truncated season around the first of July.

There's increased optimism throughout the industry that the season can be salvaged and, among some, hope that most -- if not all -- of these games can be played in major league ballparks, albeit almost certainly not in front of fans.

But, of course, that's subject to change -- just like everything else associated with this pandemic. Weeks ago, the prospect of playing games in New York would have been unthinkable as the coronavirus laid waste to the city. Now, after a hellish April, New York has successfully flattened the curve and the idea of it serving as a host is no longer unimaginable.

However, the reverse is true in other parts of the country. While the Midwest was relatively untouched by the pandemic in the early going, there are now hot spots in those areas of the country. So, a city like Kansas City has the opposite trajectory than that of New York: once safe, now nearly overwhelmed.

Those two examples illustrate the risks MLB now faces. If it's difficult to forecast how things might look in a week or two, then it's full-on impossible to know what lurks ahead by the time July arrives.

Said one baseball official who asked not to be named: "It gets pretty tricky when you're dealing with, I think, 18 different governors. But they're trying.''

And yet, MLB has little choice. For all the uncertainty ahead, baseball must start planning now. There are so many moving parts, so many variables, that a design for baseball's return can't wait: facilities must be readied, schedules must be prepared and players must be readied.

If MLB wants to begin assembling players in a little over a month's time, it