Aren't umpires supposed to be unbiased?
Is Angel Hernandez a bad umpire or does he have a vendetta against the Boston Red Sox?
In tonight's game, with runners on first and third the Red Sox brought in relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez to try and get out of a jam. With Rangers first baseman Hank Blalock batting, Ramirez tried a typical first to third pick off move and was called for a balk by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez!
Frank Viola, who happened to be visiting tonight in the NESN booth, spoke up quickly to let Red Sox fans know that this was not a balk! Ramirez made absolutely no effort to deceive the Ranger's base-runners. All he did was step off toward third base, then turn and throw to first.
The problem isn't necessarily the balk call. The awkward situation created by Angel Hernandez was that he did not have an angle to make the call from home plate!
Does this picture bring back memories for you Boston fans?
Last year, with the Red Sox in the field, Angel Hernandez threw Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo out of a game for a flippant comment in the middle of a half inning. You could watch a lot of baseball games and never see a fielder thrown out. I think when things like this continue to happen you must at least question an umpire's allegiance.
Does Angel Hernandez hale from the Dark Side? Could he be a closet Yankee fan?
Tonight's balk handed the Ranger's their fifth run to Marlon Byrd, who might not have deserved a free pass that Hernandez also gave him (he failed to move when hit by a Manny Delcarmen change up). That run may not be the decisive run in the ball game, but at the time it took the air out of the Boston sails.
The message from Red Sox Nation tonight should be this, "Let the player's decide who wins games Mr. Hernandez!"