Yankees’ Aaron Boone: Ángel Hernández Was ‘Unfairly’ the Face of Bad MLB Umpires

Yankees’ Aaron Boone: Ángel Hernández Was ‘Unfairly’ the Face of Bad MLB Umpires
Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerX.com LogoFeatured Columnist IVMay 28, 2024

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 07: Aaron Boone manager of the New York Yankees speaks with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez during the first inning of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium on April 07, 2024 in the Bronx borough of  New York City. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone thought outgoing MLB umpire Ángel Hernández got a bit of a raw deal relative to how he was perceived compared to his peers.

Boone said on Talkin’ Baseball that Hernández is “unfairly the poster child or the face of bad umpiring.”

Talkin’ Baseball @TalkinBaseball_

Aaron Boone says Angel Hernandez has unfairly been made the face of bad umpiring pic.twitter.com/1U1VqUB4MA

USA Today‘s Bob Nightengale reported Monday that Hernández is retiring, news that sparked an overwhelmingly one-sided reaction on social media.

Gourmet Spud @gourmetspud

Angel Hernandez plans to spend his retirement sitting on his back porch misidentifying birds.

Kyle Clark @KyleClark

Angel Hernandez is out. Or, as he’d say, safe. https://t.co/LfbX6ziWF8

SNY Mets @SNY_Mets

Ángel Hernandez is retiring from MLB after three decades as an umpire pic.twitter.com/1nD3BNkUMg

kat @HelenRuthsGhost

If you’re in line to make an “Angel Hernandez finally made the right call” joke, stay in line, twitter will stay open until everyone gets to make that joke

How the 62-year-old was described spoke volumes about the reputation he built for himself. Nightengale called him a “polarizing veteran umpire who has drawn the wrath and exasperation from players, managers and fans alike over three decades.” ESPN’s Jeff Passan wrote that “particularly after the retirement of Joe West before the 2022 season, Hernández became the face of umpiring,” for good and bad.

Prior to news of his retirement, The Athletic’s Sam Blum and Cody Stavenhagen profiled Hernández and concluded “the truth lies somewhere in between.”

Dylan Yep, who started Umpire Auditor, summed it up well by telling Blum and Stavenhagen, “It sort of becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy” with the veteran ump.

“When he does make a mistake, everyone is immediately tweeting about it,” Yep said. “Everybody is tagging me. If I’m not tweeting something about it, there are a dozen other baseball accounts that will.

“Every single thing he does is scrutinized and then spread across the internet in a matter of 30 seconds.”

Based on Umpire Auditor’s data, Hernández consistently ranked in the 60-70 range out of the 85 to 90 umpires who worked in a given year, and that backs up Boone’s point.

Hernández may not have excelled at his job, but he was far from the only one consistently missing calls. And there are probably some who are worse than he is yet haven’t become the avatar for wider issues in the way he did.

The torch will almost assuredly just get passed to someone else and the entire cycle starts anew.

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