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MLB Umpire Ángel Hernández Retiring After 3 Decades

MLB Umpire Ángel Hernández Retiring After 3 Decades

MLB umpire Ángel Hernández is retiring, bringing to an end a controversial three-decade-long career tht made him a special trolling figure on social media.

The 62-year-old Hernández, who in a statement confirmed earlier reports he would be retiring, reached a settlement to leave Major League Baseball, according to a source. He was leaving after refereeing thousands of games.

During his long stint, Hernández had a knack for bad calls. During a 2018 playoff game, he had three calls reversed by replay in the first four innings and he received a disproportionate amount of odium from fans.

Just this season, Hernández called three strikes on pitches well off the plate from Houston’s J.P. France to Texas’ Wyatt Langford. 

In 2022, Philadelphia designated hitter Kyle Schwarber was ejected by Hernández after he slammed his bat following a called strike three on a Josh Hader fastball that was off the plate.

The umpires in the MLB affect the games directly. They influence pace-of-game measures, including the pitch clock. 

Ball-and-strike umpiring, which became front and center in the criticism of Hernández, could soon be assisted — or altogether taken over — by the use of MLB’s automated ball-strike system, which is currently utilized in the minor leagues but won’t be in the big leagues until at earliest 2026.

The grading system of umpires is intentionally opaque, though commissioner Rob Manfred at last week’s owner’s meetings stood up for the league’s work with umpires.

“There is, in fact, a really detailed evaluation system,” Manfred said, according to The Athletic. “They get evaluated twice a year, in mid-season, and at the end of the season. There are monetary ramifications to those evaluations in terms of what they get in terms of postseason assignments, which is a big part of — a big increment to what they earn. And there are, in fact, mandatory remedial activities that are more frequently than people realize imposed on umpires.

Having said that, I think that the management of umpires is … a physically demanding job. It goes beyond just the evaluation, training and discipline. It also goes to things like thinking about their career path, how long should they be out there? And that implicates things like your retirement program. I mean, there’s a lot to the management of it that I don’t think everybody fully appreciates.”

In his full statement, Hernández said: “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.

“There is nothing better than working at a profession that you enjoy. I treasured the camaraderie of my colleagues and the friendships I have made along the way, including our locker room attendants in all the various cities.

“I have decided that I want to spend more time with my family.

“Needless to say, there have been many positive changes in the game of baseball since I first entered the profession. This includes the expansion and promotion of minorities. I am proud that I was able to be an active participant in that goal while being a Major League umpire.”

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