MLB umpire Angel Hernandez was trending on Twitter on Friday night after yet another blown call. At least this time it didn't cost a team a victory. But it was egregious nonetheless.
I know, you're thinking to yourself, "Wait, didn't MLB suspend him after he blew that home run call a few weeks ago?"
Well, this is Major League Baseball you're talking about. Hernandez wasn't disciplined in any way, although MLB at least acknowledged that Hernandez blew it.
Just to refresh your memory: With the Oakland Athletics down to the Cleveland Indians 4-3 in the top of the ninth inning on May 8, shortstop Adam Rosales hit what appeared to be a game-tying home run. But Hernandez thought otherwise, saying the ball bounced off the wall rather than the railing above the yellow line. Rosales was given a double on the play.
After A's manager Bob Melvin pleaded for a video review, Hernandez and the rest of the umpiring crew relented, stepping off the field to review the play. After several minutes, they returned, and Hernandez was apparently not swayed by the video he reviewed.
Needless to say, Melvin was beside himself. He was ejected from the game, and Rosales was stranded at second base with the A's eventually losing 4-3.
At the time, the A's beat reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, Susan Slusser, said everyone in the press box knew Hernandez completely blew the call:
Call not reversed. Unreal, Melvin tossed. Everyone in press box believes ball went out. That is horrible, #Athletics— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) May 9, 2013
Slusser was also the pool reporter sent in to interview Hernandez about the call. He refused to have his comments taped:
Angel Hernandez said no recorded interview, only write down answers but says they didn't have enough evidence to reverse call. #Athletics— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) May 9, 2013
The following day, MLB vice president of operations Joe Torre admitted that Hernandez blew the call.
Via the New York Daily News:
“By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief,” Torre said. “In the opinion of Angel Hernandez, who was last night’s crew chief, there was not clear and convincing evidence to overturn the decision on the field. It was a judgment call, and as such, it stands as final.
“Home and away broadcast feeds are available for all uses of instant replay, and they were available to the crew last night. Given what we saw, we recognize that an improper call was made. Perfection is an impossible standard in any endeavor, but our goal is always to get the calls right. Earlier this morning, we began the process of speaking with the crew to thoroughly review all the circumstances surrounding last night’s decision.”
Hernandez saw what everyone else saw, yet still made an "improper" call. And MLB handed out no discipline.
Let's fast-forward two weeks, shall we?
But on closer inspection, it appeared that Rios beat the throw to first base. Another blown call by Hernandez.
Fortunately for the White Sox, Jeff Keppinger hit a game-winning single in the bottom of the 11th. The White Sox, unlike the A's 16 days before them, didn't have a win taken away from them.
It was just delayed by an inning.
By another blown call by Hernandez.
We can't show the video here, but we'll let you make the call.
White Sox play-by-play man Ken Harrelson nearly blew a gasket. I expected another F-bomb on TV, but he was able to hold his tongue.
People on Twitter, however, weren't afraid to hold back their feelings.
Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com didn't exactly have a bird's eye view of the play, but he thought Rios was safe:
Saw it without a monitor from the third deck and then replay confirmed it. Angel Hernandez is not good. We're headed to the 11th.— Dan Hayes (@DanHayesCSN) May 25, 2013
Bleacher Report's own Zachary Rymer thought it was the right time to mention that Hernandez was prominently featured in his column about people in baseball ruining the sport:
Now's a good time to mention that Angel Hernandez made my list of people who are ruining baseball: tinyurl.com/nsucmlo— Zachary D. Rymer (@zachrymer) May 25, 2013
Chris Rongey is one who believes the MLB needs to act immediately in the wake of yet another blown call:
Oh my God, Angel Hernandez needs to be fired immediately. Get on it, MLB. He. Is. Terrible.— Chris Rongey (@ChrisRongey) May 25, 2013
For the record, I completely agree with Rongey, but we'll get to that later.
Britton Robinson believes that Hernandez could be collecting unemployment checks in the very near future:
Angel Hernandez will probably be out of a job come tomorrow after blowing that game ending call. #seeyabye— Britton Robinson (@BrittonCaleb) May 25, 2013
I'm not quite that convinced.
Another Twitterer thought that the reason Hernandez still has a job might have something to do with blackmail:
@southsideasylum To still have his job Angel Hernandez must have pictures of Bud Selig personally injecting players with steroids.— Jim Devereux (@ChicagoSportsJD) May 25, 2013
Well, I don't think I'd go quite THAT far.
Needless to say, baseball fans are out of their minds with anger, wonderment and incredulity. The fact that Hernandez was in a position to make another bad call in the first place is bad enough. With MLB essentially doing nothing in the wake of the fiasco 16 days ago, Hernandez was given free rein to continue blowing calls.
MLB has no one to blame but themselves. They had a golden opportunity to clean up a situation that cost a team a ballgame. How are the A's going to feel if they lose out on a postseason berth by one game at the end of the season?
This latest egregious and obvious error by Hernandez must be dealt with—and severely. There have been far too many instances this season already in which umpires—rather than baseball games—have been the story.
Susan Slusser had to leave her tape recorder behind when interviewing Hernandez after the blown call in the A's game. Was it because he simply didn't want to leave a digital trail?
Jim Joyce didn't have a problem owning up to his error with his blown call in the near-perfect game thrown by Armando Galarraga. And that cost Galarraga a piece of history.
This won't be a history-altering blown call, but for the A's, it well could decide their fate at the end of the season if they're in the thick of a playoff race.
Joe Torre and MLB need to act on Hernandez's latest outrageously bad call. Torre's got incontrovertible evidence, and he needs to use it.
Enough is enough.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.
Feel free to talk baseball with Doug anytime on Twitter.