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Angel Hernandez Retires: A Controversial Career Ends in MLB

After more than three decades of service, often marked by controversy and questionable calls, Major League Baseball umpire Angel Hernandez has officially retired. The announcement came on Monday, May 28, 2024, and was met with mixed reactions from fans, players, and analysts alike.

Hernandez, 62, began his MLB career in 1991 and joined the full-time staff in 1993. Throughout his tenure, he became known for his inconsistent strike zone, questionable ejections, and numerous blown calls in crucial moments. Despite this, Hernandez worked three All-Star Games, 12 Division Series, eight League Championship Series, and two World Series.

Controversies and Missed Calls

Hernandez’s career was marred by a series of controversial incidents and questionable calls that often drew the ire of fans and players. Some of his most infamous moments include:

  • 2006 ALCS: A missed call on a foul ball that potentially cost the Detroit Tigers a win against the Oakland Athletics.
  • 2018 ALDS: An overturned home run call that sparked outrage among the Cleveland Indians and their fans.
  • 2021: A series of missed calls during a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers, leading to a public apology from MLB.

These are just a few examples of the many controversies that surrounded Hernandez throughout his career. His inconsistency and seemingly quick trigger for ejections earned him a reputation as one of the most disliked umpires in the league.

Why Was He Allowed to Continue?

Despite the numerous complaints and controversies, Hernandez remained in the game for over three decades. This has led many to question why he was allowed to continue umpiring despite his questionable performance.

One possible explanation is the power of the umpires’ union, the World Umpires Association (WUA). The WUA has a strong collective bargaining agreement with MLB, which makes it difficult to discipline or dismiss umpires. Additionally, the union has a history of protecting its members, even those with questionable track records.

Another factor could be the lack of a clear evaluation and accountability system for umpires. While MLB does have a system in place to review umpire performance, it has been criticized for being opaque and ineffective. This lack of transparency has made it difficult to assess the overall performance of umpires and hold them accountable for their mistakes.

Impact on the Game

Hernandez’s retirement marks the end of an era in MLB umpiring. While his career was undoubtedly controversial, it also highlights the need for better evaluation and accountability systems for umpires. The use of technology, such as expanded replay and automated strike zones, could help improve the accuracy and consistency of umpiring, reducing the impact of human error on the game.

Hernandez’s departure also opens the door for a new generation of umpires who may bring a fresh perspective and approach to the game. As MLB continues to evolve, it is essential that the umpiring profession evolves as well, embracing new technologies and striving for greater accuracy and fairness.

In conclusion, Angel Hernandez’s retirement is a significant moment in MLB history. His controversial career serves as a reminder of the importance of accountability and transparency in umpiring. As the game moves forward, it is crucial that MLB implements measures to ensure that umpires are held to a high standard of performance and that their decisions are fair and consistent.

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