By: Conner Mahon
For baseball fans October signifies the start of the playoffs. With that also comes the increase of umpires per game from four to six. You would think that the umpires chosen for the postseason would be the top ones of the league. However, that is not always the case and we wind up with an umpire who continuously makes mistakes, and this year it happens to be veteran umpire Angel Hernandez.
Throughout the 2018 season, Hernandez was subject to ridicule over his ability to properly umpire after he made several bad calls during a regular season game back in May. However, this does not come as a surprise to people due to Hernandez having issues in the past. With that said, it’s surprising to see him as one of the umpires for the American League Division Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. During that series Hernandez made several mistakes especially in games three and four.
For example, “He made three calls at first base Monday night in Game 3 that replay reviews overturned” (Kilgore 2018) and several bad calls at home plate in game four. A few years ago, Major League Baseball changed their rules about their instant replay system. Instead of solely giving the choice to review a play to the umpires they gave the team managers the ability to challenge specific calls relating to the previous play. Remember hearing people complain that the game would become slower than it already was. Maybe the people who complained about it years ago, were happy about it during game three.
It’s easy to see how a player, coach, and overall fan have trouble understanding how an umpire who has made mistakes in the past was given the opportunity to work in the MLB playoffs. To make matters worse, as stated previously, he then goes on to make more bad calls and mistakes after receiving a huge opportunity. It’s understoofd that mistakes do happen in this profession in regards to the pace of the game. However, in this case the plays seem to be relatively routine where a mistake should not have happened, especially from an umpire who has been in the league since 1991.
In early July of last year, Hernandez filed a lawsuit against Major League Baseball for discrimination, “alleging he has been the victim of discrimination because he is of Latino descent, with the league declining to name him a crew chief and preventing him from working World Series games.” (Mahoney 2018) Without a doubt, this lawsuit is very important, however there is a possibility that the reasoning behind Hernandez not being promoted and not given the opportunity to work the World Series is due to his past of making mistakes and incorrect calls.
As stated previously, October is a very important month for baseball fans because of the playoffs and World Series. In my opinion, having an umpire who has made mistakes in the past and continues to make mistakes after receiving a great opportunity, should not be given a similar opportunity until they have improved.