There’s a saying that goes “the best referee is the one whose name you don’t remember after the game”. Fans don’t usually pay attention to the referee lineup before a game. If a name is remembered, it means there was some controversy. On the other hand, if you don”t remember the name, it”s a sign that the referee did a good job without any problems.
Umpire Angel Hernandez (62) is one of the most famous umpires in Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, in a negative way. His numerous blown calls have earned him the ire of Major League Baseball fans. It’s not uncommon for him to get into fights with players and managers and order them ejected. I’ve been watching major league umpires since 1991, so it’s understandable that I’ve seen more of them. But he’s certainly not a respected umpire.
So controversial is he that, despite being one of the league’s most veteran umpires, he’s often been left out of important games in recent years. He’s only worked the All-Star Game three times, the last being in 2017. As for the World Series, he was chosen for the honor twice, in 2002 and 2005, but hasn’t been assigned to the World Series since. He’s also a liability to the league. Sporting News named him the worst umpire of 2020.
Hernandez’s parade of bad calls has continued this year. His basic strike-and-ball calls are still notorious. It’s inevitable that different umpires will have slightly different zones. Still, there are basic rules in baseball that Hernandez sometimes seems to ignore. The zones often change during the game, which can be frustrating for players.
The game between Colorado and Toronto at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, on April 2 was another controversial one. There were numerous instances of strikes being called balls and balls being called strikes. Even sites that analyze umpire calls after the game were tongue-in-cheek. On this day, umpire Hernandez made a whopping 21 errors on strike and ball calls. Of course, umpires are only human and can’t be 100% accurate, but more than 20 errors is unusual.
Umpire Hernandez’s performance was even more drastic in the fourth inning. Ryu Hyun-jin (36, Toronto) was the scapegoat. Ryu gave up a two-run homer to Montero in the third inning with the score tied at 0-0, but he was cruising, keeping Colorado’s batters in the infield. Trailing 1-2 in the fourth, he got Rogers to ground out to first base. He gave up a single to Goodman, but struck out Jones with one out.
Not wanting to give up a walk in a full-count game, Ryu drove a six-pitch 89-mph fastball into the strike zone. Perhaps he was looking for a changeup, but Jones didn’t react. It was a normal pitch, a full count, and a pitch that should have come out of the zone. In fact, it was the kind of pitch that batters love.
But umpire Hernandez’s hand didn’t go up. What should have been a double play turned into runners on first and second. The call temporarily added 3.2 percent to Colorado’s win probability, bringing it to 72.4 percent.
Sportsnet, the Canadian sports network and Toronto’s host broadcaster, let out a deep sigh. It was very unusual to hear such a lament during the broadcast, no matter how much one might be in favor of Toronto. Commentator Joe Sidle, who had already talked about the accuracy of Hernandez’s calls several times during the game, said, “You remember what I said earlier,” and then complained, “It was a third strike (meaning a strikeout).” Even the Colorado broadcasters seemed to echo Ryu’s frustration.
Even the Colorado broadcasters felt sorry for Ryu. The Colorado crew didn’t come off as strongly as the Toronto crew, but they did briefly mention that “Angel made an Angel-type call.” Hernandez, who has made many bad calls throughout his career, was at it again.
Umpire Scorecards, which tracks the accuracy of umpire calls, criticized Hernandez in its own analysis on Wednesday, saying he was only 89% accurate on the day. Given the overall difficulty of the balls on the day, the expected accuracy rate was 94%. That’s a 5% drop. Only 156 calls out of 175 were correct. Consistency also dropped to 92%. The average for Major League Baseball umpires is 94%.
The most devastating call of the night was Jones’ at-bat in the fourth inning. Umpire Scorecards ranks calls by how ridiculous they are in relation to the importance of the game. Even if it’s a serious error, a 12-0 lead doesn’t mean that much. In this case, it was a one-run game, and what should have been a runner on second turned into runners on first and second, making the call even more devastating. It wasn’t even a close call, it was a pitch that was so obviously in the strike zone.
The third error was made by Ryu Hyun-jin. In the first inning, Blackmon batted 2B-2S on five pitches. The ball was hit down the right field line and was ruled a ball. It should have been a strikeout, but it was ruled a ball and the game went to eight pitches. It’s a shame that Ryu walked Blackmon, but if he had given up a hit or a walk, we don’t know how the game would have turned out. In the end, Ryu lost two strikeouts on the day.
Fans who saw the numbers also joined in the criticism. Criticism ranged from the self-deprecating “it’s Hernandez, so it’s not weird” to “that was a garbage call,” “this is an average Hernandez performance,” “shocking,” “he’s so bad at his job he’s damaging the perception of the union,” “this is a master class in Hernandez,” “he should have a robot umpire behind him,” and more. Colorado also blew a few calls on the day, so the criticism didn’t discriminate between the teams.온라인바카
Nevertheless, Ryu handled the next situation well and showed off his “monster mentality. It may have helped that coach Pete Walker came out to calm things down as soon as the call was made. Ryu didn’t look too shaken up, though, as he knows umpire Hernandez’s tendencies. Ryu struck out Montero, who had homered against him in the third inning, to end the inning. Hernandez was Hernandez, and Ryu was Ryu.