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MLB Argues Angel Hernandez's 3 Blown ALDS Calls Cost Him 2018 World Series Spot

Erin WalshSeptember 1, 2022

Bob Levey/Getty Images

Angel Hernandez would have been selected to umpire the 2018 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers had he not missed several calls during the American League Division Series.

Major League Baseball wrote in response to Hernandez's latest legal filing that he had been on track to umpire the 2018 World Series, but he wasn't selected after being overturned three times at first base on video reviews during Game 3 of the 2018 ALDS between the Red Sox and New York Yankees, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN).

MLB wrote in a filing on Wednesday:

"Hernandez did not capitalize on that opportunity and did not rise to the occasion. This was the first time since the advent of expanded instant replay in 2014 that an umpire had three calls overturned in a postseason game. Based on his performance during that Division Series playoff game, [chief baseball officer Joe] Torre was not confident in Hernandez's ability to perform effectively on an even more intense stage, and for this reason did not select him for the World Series that season."

Hernandez, who is from Cuba and was hired as an umpire for MLB in 1993, sued the league in 2017, alleging racial discrimination because he had not been selected to umpire the World Series since 2005 and instead had been passed over for crew chief.

"Hernandez has not presented, and the record does not contain, a scintilla of evidence that MLB's actions were based on his race or national origin," MLB wrote in the filing.

MLB also wrote in its response that Hernandez "has refused to admit that the call he made was incorrect" and places all of the blame on the quality of the league's replay equipment.

In addition to the three overturned calls in the 2018 ALDS, MLB cites a number of other incidents, including:

  • Cincinnati Reds' Homer Bailey No-hitter 2012: Hernandez asked Bailey to autograph 11 baseballs after he tossed a no-hitter. 
  • Oakland A's vs. Cleveland on May 8, 2013: Hernandez failed to reverse a call that A's infielder Adam Rosales doubled and didn't clear the wall on what would have been a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. 
  • Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays on July 24, 2014: Hernandez throws headset after video review overturned his call and misapplied a substitution rule, which caused a 14-minute delay.

Hernandez's attorney, citing the 2011-16 seasons, told the court in a June filing that the league "manipulated" his client's end of season evaluations "in order to make his job performance appear worse than it actually was."

The 61-year-old has earned a reputation for being one of the worst umpires in the league, and he has made numerous questionable calls over his career, which have continued into the 2022 season.

In March 2021, Hernandez lost his suit against MLB, with the court ruling that "no reasonable juror could find that MLB's stated explanation is a pretext for discriminatory motive." His suit was dismissed a second time in January before he asked the appeals court to reinstate his case in June.

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