Two questions (and some answers) on the currently stalled negotiations between owners and players:
- Can an agreement still salvage things?
Technically, there's still time to reach a deal and get baseball back on the field for a season of indeterminate length. But this past week, one thing became patently obvious: MLB will not have the July 4 re-start for which it had been aiming.
Do the math: After an agreement (and one is nowhere close), MLB will need about 10 days to handle preparation for the start of Spring Training II. This will include the herculean task of arranging housing for as many as 50 players -- in the Red Sox case, either in Boston or Fort Myers -- as well as installing protocols for sanitary facilities, testing and monitoring for players, setting up socially-distant locker rooms and athletic training areas, etc.
Then, add a minimum of three weeks for some reintroduced version of spring training, the length of which will be driven by providing time necessary for pitchers to build some semblance of arm strength.
Taken together, that's exactly a month (31) days, meaning if lightning struck common sense into both sides as you read this -- do not hold your breath here -- it would still mean a regular-season opener at approximately the end of the first week of July.
And, not to belabor the point, but it needs to be said: the two sides are figuratively miles and miles apart from reaching an agreement.
Let's posit that, somehow, someway, baseball can return to real, regular-season games by, say, the third week of July. Would that be enough?
By delaying their re-opening that long, the two sides would effectively be limiting how long a season could be played. And here's where a major problem rears its head.
Put aside, for the moment, questions about the legitimacy of a season anywhere from 50-70 games in duration. The larger issue is one of fundamental stances.