Umpire has had too many chances after a long history of run-ins with players and coaches
A.J. Hinch should be Angel Hernandez's last call
It normally takes a lot to get thrown out of a spring training game in Major League Baseball. As the days get longer and add up as we get closer to opening day, no one really wants to be there except for the prospects fighting for a spot on the final roster.
Since there is nothing on the line financially and nothing that happens in March is going to affect the standings, playoff picture or post-season awards, there is a mutual understanding and agreement to not take anyone or any incident or comment too seriously.
That's what makes the Angel Hernandez ejection of Astros Manager AJ Hinch last week so unheard of and uncalled for. Everyone is working on something in the spring and no one has perfected their craft so much that they are immune from constructive criticism and instruction. That's why they call it "training" camp.
Fact is, Hernandez is too inconsistent, way too sensitive and his track records speaks for itself in terms of his quick trigger, vindictive personality and failure to adapt and improve. The fact that he decided to throw out one of the most well respected and non-combative managers in the game in the early stages of a split-squad camp game, tells you that something just isn't right. If he really wanted to punish the manager he would have made the game go extra innings to make sure Hinch had to be there as long he did. Instead, he shed even more light on a spotlight that continues to shine on the worst umpire in the game.
Maybe you aren't familiar with Hernandez's work or his inability to get the call right? I'm here to tell you, this isn't the first time this has happened and if something isn't done about it, this won't be the last time. My biggest fear is that it will happen at the absolute worst time and will affect the outcome of a critical game and maybe even change history.
Over the course of the last three seasons, the Angel in the infield has had 14 of his 18 calls at first base that were reviewed overturned. Over the same amount of time, the average overturn rate for reviewed plays at first base was 60%. Hernandez blew that number out of the water, as he was responsible for 78% of his reviewed calls at first base being overturned.
On top of that, he was the first base umpire for Game 3 of the 2018 ALDS between the Red Sox and Yankees where he had five of his calls submitted for video review and not surprisingly, four of those five calls were overturned. The league issued a statement after the game only the missed calls, but would only state how pleased they were that replay was in place to assure that the right calls were made.
Later in the series, Hernandez was behind the plate for Game 4 that was started by Yankees lefty CC Sabathia. After a tough 4-3 loss Sabathia told a pool of reporters that Hernandez was terrible behind the plate, terrible at first base and has always been bad. He went so far as to say that he could not understand why he was still allowed to do playoff games?
If the proof is in the pudding and the dessert tray shows plain as day how many missed calls he makes and how replay saves his bacon, how can MLB keep this man employed? They have all the evidence they could ever need to support any decision about his incompetence and employment going forward, yet they have avoided doing anything at all. Could it be that they are too scared to do what's right? Scared of the man that filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against them in 2017? It may be the only explanation that comes close to justifying how this man still has his job.
Angel Hernandez filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball in 2017, claiming the league had racially discriminated against him by not selecting him for Crew Chief consideration or picking him to work any World Series games in an extended period of time. The suit put the MLB in an uncomfortable position and could be the sole reason he still is employed as a big league umpire. Since he filed the suit he has worked the 2017 All-Star game, the 2017 American League Divisional Series and that infamous 2018 ALDS as well. He also continues to umpire a full schedule of regular season games and pre-season contests. The suit has yet to be settled and until it is heard and a decision made, you have to believe he will continue to have a job missing calls and ejecting managers and players for fear of potential ramifications depending on what ruling the courts come up with. It's a shame, but it's true. The Scott Foster of MLB isn't going anywhere, anytime soon.