Our National Nightmare is Over: Angel Hernandez Retires

The Long-Reviled MLB Umpire is Officially Done!

The day that many MLB fans thought would never come officially arrived on Tuesday when it was reported that Ángel Hernández has umpired his last MLB game. The news was that Ángel Hernández retired but it was clear from news reports that MLB reached a financial settlement to end the 30+ year veteran ump’s tenure with Major League Baseball. He was pretty roundly disliked by players and fans alike for his inconsistent strike zones, brash attitude and  general demeanor.

It’s never great for MLB umpires to become famous in their own right because, as they say, an umpire is doing their job when you have no clue who they are. The whole point is that they stay faceless and nameless so that the focus can remain on the players, who fans are actually interested in seeing and who should be the people that mostly decide how games are won or lost.

All too often, in the games he umpired, Hernández became the center of attention both for brutal missed ball-and-strike calls and for how he handled interactions with players or managers.

Based on various public metrics, Hernández was one of the worst — in terms of missed calls — umpires in today’s MLB and, with social media’s prevalence and the Majors potentially adopting the ABS (automatic ball-strike) system that has been in use in the minor leagues, umpires who are especially bad at calling balls and strikes are even more in the spotlight.

For Hernández and MLB, it got to a point where an agreement simply had to be made for him to “retire” immediately.

Hernández Had Lost Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

Hernández also was in the news a few years ago when he filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against MLB, alleging that he was passed over for promotion to a crew chief position and wasn’t given highly desired playoff game assignments because he is Hispanic — Hernández is a native of Cuba.

However, the lawsuit was dismissed in the U.S. District Court in 2021 and that decision was upheld on appeal to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in 2023. It doesn’t appear that played a role in the mutual decision for Angel Hernández to retire.

However, him bringing that lawsuit knowing full well what his reputation was around the league and with fans certainly didn’t make him a more popular figure. Even MLB betting people are happy to see him go because the level to which the strike zone became unknowable when Hernández was behind the plate made it tough to figure out what the right read on a game could be.

Players — like Wyatt Langford this season — would routinely strike out on three clear balls that Hernández called strikes. Those kinds of mistakes won’t fly in a league where every pitch is scrutinized so much by fans, team employees and even the league.

Also, for Hernández to claim that it was racial discrimination which cost him certain positions felt like icing on the cake. Instead of taking personal responsibility for his actions, he tried to go after MLB and multiple federal courts decided in favor of the league, agreeing with the league that Hernández’s evidence was insufficient for his claim.

Players Have Long Disliked Hernández

The news that Angel Hernández is retiring to “spend more time with his family” surely will go over well in MLB clubhouses as players have made their thoughts on him clear over the years. Whether it’s the numerous players to have been called out on one of his bad calls or even broadcasters to have criticized him after their playing careers ended — as Pedro Martínez famously did in 2018 — he had no shortage of critics.

Of course, MLB players and umpires often do not get along but there was a special kind of dislike between many players and Hernández because of how he communicated, or didn’t communicate, the reasonings behind his calls or how he dealt with in-game disputes.

All too often it felt like Hernández had a short fuse and would eject arguing players relatively quickly, even if they had a valid point or weren’t even strenuously complaining.

But, at the end of the day, Hernández will most be remembered for the blatant calls he got wrong and for how he felt like more a throwback, big-personality umpire that has gone away in recent years with a focus on umps merely getting as many calls right as possible.

It’s clear that even MLB realized that he wasn’t one of the league’s more effective umps; despite his long tenure, he never was made  ‘crew chief’ like his more-respected peers were. That might say it all.

For MLB betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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