I know, it’s a bold headline. The sad part, is 90% of fans already knew that Angel Hernandez is absolute garbage as an umpire. Before we go too much into Angel, let’s take a look at what happened, resulting in AJ Hinch being ejected in the first inning of a Spring Training game.
AJ Hinch spoke to Angel between innings about a few pitches that he believed Angel missed during Whitley’s first inning. The very first pitch of the next inning, Angel Fernandez responded by calling the following pitch a strike.
That pitch barely made it into the screen, never mind the strike zone. This pitch was clear retaliation against Hinch, to which Hinch did not take kindly. Here is his reaction
Angel Hernandez is already in mid season form during Spring Training.— Alexis (@TheNotoriousLEX) March 15, 2019
This was surprising to me, as Hinch is generally a very calm and collected manager. I was glad to see that in the post game interview, Hinch remained professional but spoke honestly in regards to what occurred. Here is the video of his remarks after the game:
AJ Hinch offering thoughts on his argument with Angel Hernandez #astros— Robert Flores (@RoFlo) March 16, 2019
Via @alysonfooter pic.twitter.com/E1akGmLFO1
Ultimately, the most disappointing aspect of all of this, was the MLB backing Hernandez and suspending AJ Hinch for 1 game, and issuing him a fine. I know, it’s Spring Training, so the games don’t matter - and honestly - a day off to drink some green beer is probably well deserved for Hinch as a whole. AJ and the Astros released a statement this morning, where AJ apologized for the distraction he caused.
Nonetheless, this event is over and hopefully there won’t be any lasting resentment that Hernandez continues to take out on the Astros.
Now onto Hernandez:
Surprisingly, this isn’t even the first time he’s thrown someone out during Spring Training for a stupid reason.
In case you forgot, Angel Hernandez threw Asdrubal Cabrera out of a Spring training game. Now, AJ Hinch has joined the “I was chucked from a spring game” club. #FireAngelHernandez pic.twitter.com/yXP6BK8WQg— Mills (@MillManner) March 17, 2019
Hernandez has been the focus of controversy in recent years, most recently due to his lawsuit about not being selected to be Crew Chief in the play-offs due to his history with Joe Torre, and due to his race. Fangraphs wrote an article about it and the effects it would have including the challenge of terminating him after filing a racial discrimination lawsuit.
So why would the MLB not select him? Players certainly have not been a huge fan of his, here are some comments from respected players:
I will not watch a game, any game, officiated by Angel Hernandez! His incompetence amazes me and I'm tired of MLB doing squat about it! Nite— Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) July 5, 2013
CC Sabathia didn’t hold his tongue either, here’s a video of his thoughts
“I don’t think Angel Hernandez should be umping playoff games. He’s absolutely terrible. He was terrible behind the plate today. He was terrible at first base. It’s amazing how he’s getting a job umpiring in these playoff games.”
When we played the game of baseball and we stunk, we got released. When umpires stink, they get home plate game 4 of ALDS— Jeff Nelson (@NYnellie43) October 9, 2018
The Washington Post & Sports Illustrated also have Pedro Martinez quoted:
““Angel was horrible,” Martinez said. “Don’t get me going on Angel now. Major League Baseball needs to do something about Angel. It doesn’t matter how many times he sues Major League Baseball. He’s as bad as there is.””
“Major League Baseball needs to do something about Angel,” Martinez said. “It doesn’t matter how many times he sues Major League Baseball. He’s as bad as there is.”
How Angel Hernandez is still umpiring let alone the playoffs is unreal to me. He is far the worst umpire in the league. Every year.— Paul Lo Duca (@paulloduca16) October 9, 2018
Ian Kinsler’s criticism of Angel Hernandez caused the umpires to protest players being too mean
“No, I’m surprised at how bad an umpire he is,” “I don’t know how, for as many years he’s been in the league, that he can be that bad. He needs to re-evaluate his career choice, he really does. Bottom line.” ”If I get fined for saying the truth, then so be it. He’s messing with baseball games, blatantly.”
There are tons of other examples, but players and announcers can get caught up in the heat of the moment, let’s review some of the plays ourselves.
Heck, Steve McMichael’s called Angel out (and then was thrown out of the game) for his terrible calls prior to singing take me out to the ball game. (amusing video)
Here’s some highlights of his excellence:
Angel Hernandez was ready to go home pic.twitter.com/pUmINdnhNS— Robert O'Neill (@RobertONeill31) August 5, 2018
Angel Hernandez....not good. pic.twitter.com/BFgM9plRMt— Justus Cleveland (@JustusCleveland) May 23, 2018
In honor of Angel Hernandez blowing every call at first base tonight, let’s take a look back at this beauty from 2013. pic.twitter.com/l9rJk7oQwD— Sox On 35th (@SoxOn35th) October 9, 2018
I mean sure, he blew a call so bad that the MLB had to come out and admitted it was incorrect.
In fairness, every umpire misses calls. Just because Angel Hernandez has not just one, but two youtube videos of Angel Hernandez blowing calls, doesn’t mean he’s actually worse than others right?
Are there any actual “facts”?
In 1991, Bob DiCesare wrote an article that was pretty brutal ripping Angel Hernandez apart for yearning for the spotlight.
In a 1999 survey conducted by the Major League Baseball Players Association, Hernández was ranked 31st out of 36 National League umpires. However, later that year Hernández was asked to return for the 2000 season while 13 of his NL colleagues were let go. Given his low ranking, the Philadelphia Inquirer termed the retention of Hernández one of the “surprises” of the 1999 purge.
In 2006, SI Players poll ranked Angel as the third worst umpire in baseball.
In 2010, an ESPN survey revealed that 22 percent of the players asked called Hernandez the worst umpire in the league.
In 2013, He was ranked the worst umpire in baseball. More than once
Angel also has his challenged calls overturned 78% of the time, considerably higher than the league average of 60%.
In 2018, Angel had 4 of his 5 calls in the ALDS overturned for being incorrect.
The list goes on and on. And while Hernandez has some strong competition for worst umpire (looking at you Joe West), I have to give him the award.
Let me know your thoughts. What’s your reaction when you hear Hernandez will be umpiring a game?