Baseball’s worst umpire lives up to reputation … again

There is an old saying with regards to major league baseball umpires: “When you don’t even notice them, they have done their job well.” As such, when it was announced last week that 55-year-old Angel Hernandez – the worst umpire in the game today and perhaps ever – was going to be among the six major league umpires assigned to work the 2016 National League Championship Series between the Dodgers and the Cubs, you immediately knew – beyond all doubt – that at some point during the best-of-seven series Hernandez would screw something up, perhaps even several somethings.

He did not disappoint.

In the second inning of Game-4 of the NLCS on Wednesday’s evening, the Havana, Cuba native and 25-year MLB veteran umpire blew a very important call when he ruled Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez out at the plate on a very close play which ended the inning of the then scoreless game.

As expected, Gonzalez immediately called for Dodgers manager Dave Roberts to review the play, which the first-year manager did. And though there were several camera angles that were inconclusive, there was one that showed that AGon had touched home plate with his fingertips before being tagged on the chin by Cubs catcher Wilson Contreras. Yet in spite of this, the replay umpires (assuming that there were more than one) in their comfortable office in fashionable Chelsea Market in New York City ruled that Gonzalez was out – this in spite of that perfect camera angle that was repeatedly shown over the giant video boards at Dodger Stadium (and later uploaded on YouTube) showed otherwise.

After the blown call was re-blown by the replay umpires in New York, the ever-arrogant Hernandez smugly hid behind his mask and assumed his position behind home plate – but not before his blown call had sent the baseball world (via Twitter) into an absolute frenzy, including tweets from soon-to-be Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and current (and often outspoken) Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper:

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Although it is very likely that MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre will take a look at Hernandez’s controversial call (and probably do absolutely nothing about it), the perception by most is that the replay umpires in New York did not want to overturn Hernandez because it would make him look bad. Hellooooo … this is Angel Hernandez we’re talking about here – the undisputed worst umpire in MLB history. And even though overturning his blown call would have yet again proven his complete and utter incompetence, it would have given the MLB replay system (and the Major League Umpires Association) a huge shot of credibility by doing exactly what the replay system was created to do: Get it right – this regardless of bruised egos and bad reputations.

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All of this being said, Hernandez’s blatantly blown call (in addition to several other horribly blown balls and strikes calls) was not the reason for the Dodgers eventual 10-2 shellacking by the Cubs; that falls squarely on the shoulders of the Dodgers themselves. Amidst Hernandez’s blown call(s), the Dodgers committed four very costly errors, all of which led to Cubs runs. It was the most errors committed by the Dodgers in a postseason game since Game-3 of the 1974 NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates in which they committed five errors.

But what Hernandez’s blown call did do – and it was incredibly obvious – is that it immediately took any momentum that the Dodgers had and placed it squarely in the Cubs’ lap. It also took the wind out of the sail of the Dodger Stadium crowd; momentum and wind that they never regained.

 

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7 Responses to “Baseball’s worst umpire lives up to reputation … again”

  1. Maks Daddy Maks Daddy says:

    even as a blue bleeder, you picked a bad picture to overturn our case

  2. chizzik1 says:

    I’m pretty sure MLB has a system to rate their umpires. If so, how does Angel Hernandez get assigned to a NLC game?

  3. Clyle Alt Clyle Alt says:

    Always enjoy your well-written analyses of games. No excuses for the sloppy play, but that call changed the momentum.

  4. oldbrooklynfan says:

    It almost seems like I’m living in Chicago or the Cubs are our home team whenever I read about this NLCS in my hometown papers. It looks like all New York is rooting for Cubs, along with the rest of the world, except for us Dodger fans.
    Yes, it looked like AGon was safe, but I’m not surprised they didn’t reverse the call. The Dodgers are the bad guys, at least where I come from.

  5. CruzinBlue says:

    Huge call. Hernandez is the absolute worst. Squeezed the plate all night long on Dodgers pitchers and gave many of those same pitches to the Cubs.

    The Dodgers sure didn’t do themselves any favors with the “Bad News Bears” routine. That fertilizer got to end. #Anomaly

  6. Evan Bladh says:

    For the most part, I agree. Hernandez is an awful umpire and I cringed when I saw he was working the series. I even calculated when he would be behind the plate and then cringed some more when I saw that Urias would be on the mound the game he was there.

    However, I can’t really get upset over Hernandez’ call. First, because in the quickness of the way the play went down, it looked like Gonzalez was out. He had a split second to make the call and it could have gone either way.

    When we reviewed the play in “super” slow-mo, you could see that Gonzalez’s hand just barely touched the plate before the tag was applied. That was a real tough call. Hernandez was in good position, he had a good look, but it was real close. Rather than target Hernandez as the one who blew it, our anger should be geared towards MLB and the New York offices.

    They had time. They had video evidence. They also had their anti-LA, Cubs loving bias. They blew the call. Hernandez called what he saw. The ump back in New York, called what he wanted and he isn’t required to face any music for his screw up. The system is broke. They attempted to fix it and made it worse.

    It has gotten to the point that I am completely for the mechanization of umpiring for everything now. Balls and strikes, fair and foul balls, plays at first, balks, check swings. EVERYTHING! Time to remove the human umps from the game. Maybe then we will actually have a consistent strike zone that pitchers can work with. The technology is there. It is time to remove the Iosaggna’s, Culbreth’s, Cowboy Joe’s, Laz’s, and Angel Hernandez’s from the game. Sorry that it puts them in the unemployment line, but all we want is fair arbitration of the game.

    BTW, though momentum would have definitely been on the Dodgers side with that run, it still was a 10-2 final. They stunk up the joint last night and played an incredibly sloppy game. Here’s hoping Maeda somehow has some magic appear in that right arm of his. Most important game of the year is tonight without a doubt.

  7. Bryan Ojeda Bryan Ojeda says:

    the Mark Geiger of baseball

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