Who is Angel Hernandez?
Well, for starters, if you know his name and have heard of him, that’s not a good sign. No doubt he caused the baseball team you cheer for more heart ache and anguish than anyone else.
But, for those of you who don’t know him, he is an umpire for Major League Baseball – and he is one of the worst all time at his job – so judged by the players.
In 1999, the Major League Baseball Players Association ranked the 36 National League umpires,  and Hernandez was ranked 31st out of 36. However, he was brought back, even after 13 of his umpiring brethren were let go.
As recently as 2006 Hernandez was ranked as the third WORST umpire in baseball, yet here he is, still hurting the game.
Two nights ago, Oakland A’s shortstop Adam Rosales hit what should have been a game tying home run in the ninth inning. The ball clearly bounced off a railing above the yellow (home run line) and ricocheted back to the field at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. However, it was ruled a double. When asked to review the play, as home runs are reviewable, Hernandez said there was not 100 percent conclusive evidence to overturn the play.
That right there is an issue. BOTH, the home team broadcasting crew as well as the visiting broadcasting crew showed replay of the hit. BOTH said it was a home run. Cleveland’s pitcher said it was a home run as well.
But to Angel Hernandez, it was not, and instead of going to extra innings, the A’s lost the game.
According to San Francisco Chronicle reporter and Baseball Writers Association of America President, Susan Slusser’s Twitter, after the game when reporters interviewed Hernandez, he mandated that reporters were not allowed to use recording devices. They could only take notes by hand.
Susan Slusser @susanslusser
Angel Hernandez said no recorded interview, only write down answers but says they didn’t have enough evidence to reverse call. #Athletics
8:50 p.m. - 8 May 2013
What this tells me is that Hernandez did not want to say anything that could come back to bite him later. He knew he was wrong, but did not want to admit so.
When is baseball going to realize the damage Hernandez is doing to the game and fire him?
Yes, baseball umpires are human and the “human element” is supposed to be a part of the game. But, when an umpire goes rogue and starts injecting himself into the outcome of the game, that is NOT good for baseball.
This is not the first time Hernandez has had an issue. He once ejected a Cubs’ seventh inning stretch singer who criticized Hernandez after being introduced.
What makes the whole situation worse is Major League Baseball’s Director of Umpires, Randy Marsh, arrived in Cleveland to speak to the umpires and check the replay equipment. Everything was found to be in perfect order. Further news, was that the umpires had all the same views the fans had, so why the wrong call was made, is solely on Hernandez.
MLB went as far as to say Hernandez made an “improper call,” but stopped short of saying the call would be overturned, instead saying it was a “judgment call.” But there is no judgment on FACTS. The fact is the ball was ABOVE the yellow line. The fact is the ball was a home run. The fact is the fans knew it, both teams knew it, both broadcast crews knew.
The play should have been overturned.
MLB has said it will not reverse the call. But, there IS precedent for such a move.
For those of you old enough to remember, George Brett of the Kansas City Royals had a home run taken away in the infamous “Pine Tar” game (July 24, 1983), but the call was overturned on protest and the game resumed a month later (Aug. 18, 1983).
The same should have happened here, but it won’t. Instead, MLB is going to sweep it under the rug and continue to allow bad calls to influence the outcome of games and possibly cost a team a shot at the postseason.
Umpires are supposed to be seen and not heard. If an umpire is doing his job, you will never know his name. But, if that umpire is NOT doing his job and constantly interferes with the outcome of the game, then not only will he be known, like Hernandez, but he will become a liability for Major League baseball.