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

Angel Hernandez is bad at his job. Getty Images.

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.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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