Horrible umpire Angel Hernandez, who riled up Yankees, surprises with sudden retirement

Controversial umpire, often riling up the Yankees, retires from MLB.

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In an unexpected turn of events, Angel Hernandez, the seasoned and often controversial umpire, has decided to hang up his gear, retiring from Major League Baseball. This announcement marks the end of a tumultuous career that spanned over three decades, characterized by contentious calls and fervent discussions. Notably, his rocky relationship with the New York Yankees and their fanbase often placed him at the center of heated exchanges and impassioned criticisms.

In his retirement announcement to USA Today, the polarizing umpire told:

“Starting with my first major league game in 1991, I have had the very good experience of living out my childhood dream of umpiring in the major leagues. I treasured the camaraderie of my colleagues and the friendships I have made along the way.”

It is also reported that MLB and Hernandez had been negotiating a settlement for the last two weeks, concluding it on the weekend. This clearly hints at his retirement following the pressure from MLB, which was itself facing criticism from the baseball world for allowing him despite mistakes.

With his retirement, Hernandez leaves behind a complex legacy—one overshadowed by controversy and discord. As the dust settles, his story remains a poignant reminder of the challenges and pressures faced by those who officiate at the highest levels of sports.

Hernandez’s legacy marked by controversy and confrontation, especially with the Yankees

Hernandez’s career has been a lightning rod for controversy, particularly involving the New York Yankees. One of the more vociferous moments came during the 2018 American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox. In a critical Game 3, the ex-umpire had three calls at first base overturned by replay, eliciting severe backlash from players and fans alike.

Gleyber-Torres-Angel-Hernandez-new-york-yankees
AP

This forced Pedro Martinez to make a scathing attack on him. “Angel was horrible,” he said in 2018. “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.”

The ire wasn’t confined to just that game; CC Sabathia, a former Yankees pitcher, voiced his frustration openly after Hernandez’s questionable strike zone management in Game 4. Sabathia’s condemnation was unequivocal: “He was terrible at first base. It’s amazing how he’s getting jobs umpiring in these playoff games… He’s bad.”

The sentiments echoed by Sabathia were not isolated. Yankees fans have a long-standing grievance with Hernandez, often expressed through boos and chants at games. His infamous calls have not only been a source of frustration but have also sparked debates about the integrity and quality of umpiring in critical matches. This strain reached its peak when Hernandez called a strike on Yankees’ Gleyber Torres during the 2024 opening game, leading to an eruption from the stands at Yankee Stadium.

The curtain closes

As MLB prepares to officially announce Hernandez’s retirement, reactions have not been mixed, with only a palpable sense of relief among the Yankees community. Talkin’ Yanks, a popular fan outlet, commemorated Hernández’s retirement by sharing a video from that contentious 2018 postseason, highlighting Sabathia’s criticism and the umpire’s problematic decisions. Sabathia himself responded to the news with a telling Looney Tunes GIF on social media, encapsulating the sentiments of many Yankees supporters.

Hernandez’s departure is not just the end of a career; it’s a significant moment for MLB, which has often been criticized for its handling of umpire performance. Players across the league, including Phillies’ Bryce Harper and former player Ian Kinsler, have expressed their frustrations with Hernandez over the years, underscoring a widespread desire for change within the umpiring ranks.

The 62-year-old worked his final game on May 9th behind home plate for the White Sox-Guardians matchup, disappearing from the umpiring crew without fanfare. Jacob Metz has since taken his place, signaling Hernandez’s unceremonious exit from the game.

Hernandez’s tenure was marred by allegations of racial discrimination against MLB. In 2017, he filed a lawsuit claiming he was unjustly passed over for prestigious World Series and crew chief assignments due to his Cuban-American heritage. While the lawsuit was ultimately dismissed in 2021 after a federal appeals court upheld the ruling, it cast a pall over Hernandez’s latter years on the diamond.

From humble beginnings umpiring in the Florida State League at just 20 years old, Hernandez ascended to the big league ranks in 1993. However, his legacy became increasingly defined by fan outcry and scathing criticisms from players and managers who viewed him as incompetent at best.

Umpire Angel Hernandez is seen with Anthony Volpe during the Yankees vs. Astros game at Yankee Stadium on August 06, 2023.
OP

The nadir perhaps came on April 12th this season when rookie Wyatt Langford was rung up on three consecutive pitches well outside the strike zone, part of a 7-pitch barrage that missed the zone by over 3 inches according to reports. Social media erupted in vitriol toward Hernandez’s inability to accurately call balls and strikes.

After working just 10 games in 2022 due to injury while still missing over 160 calls per reports, Hernandez’s umpiring career has fittingly concluded without ceremony or tribute – an anti-climactic finale mirroring the hot take-fueled vitriol that plagued his final years as an MLB umpire.

While rarely regarded as the worst umpire statistically by MLB’s internal metrics, the court of public opinion firmly cast Hernandez in that unflattering light during his latter seasons. His missed calls behind the plate became the stuff of legend, fueling widespread derision.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

One thought on “Horrible umpire Angel Hernandez, who riled up Yankees, surprises with sudden retirement

  1. As fast as he went into retirement it makes one wonder if he got the old you go on your own or were going to remove you. Either way the league is rid of an ump that made the game about him instead of the guys actually playing.

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