Major League Baseball umpire Angel Hernandez is reportedly suing MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and the league as a whole for “racial discrimination.”
Hernandez, who has worked in MLB since 1993, believes that since Joe Torre took over the role of executive vice president of baseball operations for the league, his performance rating has gotten lower.
The lower performance rating has led to missed opportunities for promotions and the opportunity to work in the postseason, at least in Hernandez’s mind.
Hernandez’s lawyers issued the following statement, per the Cincinnati Enquirer’s James Pilcher.
“The selection of these less qualified, white individuals over Hernandez was motivated by racial, national origin and/or ethnic considerations.”
Now let’s just think about this for a second, shall we? “Less qualified” individuals are being chosen because they are white? In some cases that could be true but it isn’t true when it comes to Hernandez.
It’s highly unlikely that race is the reason that the 55-year-old Hernandez, who has worked in two World Series and seven League Championship Series — one as recently as 2016 — is supposedly being overlooked for “less qualified” white candidates.
And here’s the main reason why his race doesn’t factor into his perceived discrimination.
There is a consensus in baseball that leaves hardly any doubt that Angel Hernandez is one of the worst umpires in the entire league.
You could start by simply asking the fans. Any dedicated fan of the game has at one point or another seen Hernandez make a wrong call and whether it not it worked in their team’s favor, his calls are so belligerent they all still remember.
How often do people pay attention to the names of the umpires at an MLB game?
Not often, unless of course they are causing fights, ejecting players or in general just doing a poor job. Angel Hernandez is probably the most well-known name when it comes to MLB umpires.
Alternatively, perhaps try asking a player. In 2010 ESPN conducted a poll of 100 MLB players regarding umpires around the league. Hernandez was ranked the third worst umpire in the entire league in the poll.
Below is a video of one of the most glaring examples of his poor umpiring judgment. In this game between the Oakland Athletics and the Cleveland Indians in May 2013, Adam Rosales of the Athletics clearly hits a home run that would have tied the ballgame in the top of the ninth inning.
Hernandez called the home run, which was obvious to everyone but Hernandez, a ground rule double. The A’s may or may not have gone on to, perhaps, win that game in that inning or in extra innings, but we will never know. They lost by the score of 4-3 because of Angel Hernandez.
Hernandez was heading the umpire crew during that regular season contest between the two teams, and he even looked at the replay of the home run, so he saw this homer more than once, and still called it a ground rule double.
While it is hardly the “worst call ever” in MLB history, and there have been many who have called it that, it does rank high on the list of the most bonehead calls of all time. Just take a look and see what you think.
After this incident, Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News directs us to an article via Twitter that about Hernandez being a total “joke” even when he was still an umpire in the minor leagues.
Want more Angel Hernandez fodder? He was a joke more than 20 years ago in Triple-A in Buffalo. http://t.co/mP0SfC0ZlZ
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) May 9, 2013
That incident with the A’s and the Indians hasn’t been Hernandez’s only huge mistake. Simply google “bad calls by Angel Hernandez” and you will find countless (over 2 million results to be a bit more precise) results about teams he has hurt with not only his inability to see a home run but with his pitch calling or his decision making when it comes to whether a runner is safe or out.
Ahmed Fareed, who hosts the Giants pre and postgame shows, quoted well-respected Giants broadcaster Duane Kuiper’s on-air comment, on Twitter in 2014.
Duane Kuiper: "Angel Hernandez is not a good umpire and in my opinion, he does not belong in the big leagues."
— Ahmed Fareed (@FareedNBCS) July 9, 2014
A local Bay Area radio station KNBR also quoted Kuiper via Tweet about Hernandez’s umpiring after the game between the A’s and the Giants.
Duane Kuiper on Angel Hernandez: "And I think Major League Baseball knows this, they just don't know how to get rid of him." (2/2)
— LOLKNBR ???? (@LOLKNBR) July 9, 2014
It could be that the league just wants to get rid of him because he is terrible at his job, but it’s highly doubtful that he is being overlooked due to “racial discrimination.”
There could easily be racial discrimination going on with other umpires in the major leagues, that we do not know, what we do know is that Hernandez makes mistakes, a lot of mistakes.
More recently, USA TODAY reported an incident involving Hernandez during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. It occurred in a game between the Dominican Republic and the United States. Hernandez called a strike on Erick Aybar that was so far outside of the strike zone that the ball may as well have actually been in the Dominican Republic.
USA TODAY‘s Ted Berg deemed it the “worst strike call ever.” Yet, it probably wasn’t the worst strike call Hernandez has ever made, given that he makes them time and time again in virtually every game he officiates. This call though was extraordinarily bad and embarrassing to MLB umpires everywhere because it was on the world stage.
The reality is that Hernandez is just not good at his job. It’s that plain and simple.
For him to be suing the commissioner of baseball and the entire league, saying he was passed over for promotions due to his race is incredibly ridiculous. He was passed over for one simple reason: He is not a good umpire. Period.
If it didn’t hurt the league and the game, as well as serve a distraction from the season that the league does not need, most people who spend their time in the “baseball world,” whether they’re writers, broadcasters, players or just big fans would all agree that the whole lawsuit is actually rather comical.
Angel Hernandez is not being discriminated against for any reason other than he is a terrible umpire, no matter what level of the sport he is working in.
He has proven over and over again his incompetence as an umpire, and his inability to see the baseball, so to say that he is being discriminated against racially is completely ludicrous.
[Featured Image by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]