What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
I need your help. I’m not sure whether this story is hilarious or pathetic.
If you’re a baseball fan, you know the name Angel Hernandez. The reason why you know that name is because it is synonymous with being the absolute worst umpire in the game. I know it, you know it…we all know it. Even guys on YouTube who post audio-only stuff know it. Think about it. Until today, there was only one umpire who had his own tag on this blog. Today, Angel Hernandez joins “Country” Joe West in that ignominious distinction.
Umpires are like offensive lineman; they only get attention when they fuck up. Throughout his quarter-century of terrible umpiring, Angel Hernandez has been a fully-automated, electrically-powered, “Fucking Up” machine. Not only do baseball fans know his name, it is only mentioned with full-throated, bile-spewing hatred.
Fans aren’t the only ones. Players almost universally despise him. The book Major League Umpires’ Performance 2007-2011 wrote, “He is among the most vilified umpires in the major leagues.” Even Ron Washington, a guy who is a well-respected man about town in baseball known for never having a negative thing to say about anybody called Hernandez “just bad.” That’s because as an umpire, Angel Hernandez has fucked more ball players than Alyssa Milano and the letter-high strike combined.
Now you get to decide if it’s hilarious or pathetic that the universally-recognized worst umpire in baseball is suing major league baseball.
Angel Hernandez, a big league umpire for nearly a quarter-century, sued Major League Baseball on Monday alleging race discrimination.
In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, the 55-year-old Hernandez, who was born in Cuba and lives in Florida, alleges MLB chief baseball officer Joe Torre “has a history of animosity towards Hernandez stemming from Torre’s time as manager of the New York Yankees.”
As evidence of the alleged discrimination, the suit cites Hernandez’s lack of World Series assignments in the past decade and baseball not promoting Hernandez to crew chief.
Now, I’m here to be fair. In that vein, let’s make sure Hernandez is meeting all the requirements on the “ridiculous racially-based lawsuit” check-list. Do we have the “ethnic name?” Check. Do we have the qualifying “identity politics” distinction…”born in Cuba.” Check. Finally, do we have the requisite scenario of a minority oppressed by “The Man.” Well, this one’s a little thin, Angel. We better dig a little more on this one.
Hernandez cites criticism by Torre in 2001 that Hernandez “seems to see something nobody else does” and “I think he just wanted to be noticed over there.”
The complaint alleges Hernandez received positive evaluations for most of his big league career, which began in 1993, but says “following Torre’s arrival in Major League Baseball’s front office in 2011, the notion that Hernandez ‘just wanted to be noticed’ permeated Hernandez’s yearly evaluations, as did Torre’s general negative attitude towards Hernandez.”
OK, that fulfills the “oppressed minority” requirement. Do we have any cherry-picked demographics and/or facts to give the illusion of credibility to these claims?
Hernandez worked the World Series in 2002 and 2005 but not since. Hernandez worked last year’s NL Championship Series along with Division Series in 2011, ’12 and ’15.
Other than Alfonso Marquez, who worked the World Series in 2011 and ’15, the suit says “the other 34 umpires assigned to the World Series during Torre’s time in the office of the commissioner have been white.”
“The selection of these less qualified, white individuals over Hernandez was motivated by racial, national origin and/or ethnic considerations,” the suit says.
In addition, the suit claims Hernandez has served as a temporary crew chief and applied four times to be a permanent crew chief, and “all 23 umpires promoted to crew chief since 2000 have been white.”
“Major League Baseball’s actions were intentional, with reckless disregard for Hernandez’s rights,” it claims.
Here’s where it starts to get meaty. First of all, did you catch the part where he’s insinuated that being white is in fact part of being less qualified? So, even before we get into the guts of this thing, the question becomes obvious as to who the real racist here is. After all, who is the one claiming that ethnicity is part and parcel to the problem? That question becomes even more relevant when you stop to consider why is this headed straight to court? The umpires have a union, and handling an issue over promotion and/or a workplace-related grievance is EXACTLY why unions exist.
So, why isn’t the World Umpires Association taking up Hernandez’ cause? They already have, and Hernandez got an answer he didn’t like.
According to the suit, Hernandez and the World Umpires Association asked MLB why Hernandez was not promoted to crew chief for this season. The suit says Torre sent a letter on March 27 stating Hernandez needed to “gain greater mastery of the official playing rules and replay regulations, continue to improve situation management, and display an ability to refocus and move forward after missing calls or receiving constructive feedback from the office.”
There it is. The union asked “point blank” why Hernandez wasn’t being promoted, and they got an equally “point-blank” answer; because he sucks. Look at that language. That’s what “He sucks” looks like filtered through lawyers and human resource managers. I know that because when I’m not hacking away at keyboards producing this blog, I’ve spent over 20 years in management positions, some of which were directly in HR. I’ve written more than my fair share of “you suck” letters, and believe me when I tell you that’s exactly what that is. Here’s a phrase-by-phrase translation:
Here’s the real damage the “He sucks” letter does; it takes the union out of the equation. Once the World Umpires Union received that letter, they likely told Hernandez they were satisfied with the answer and had fulfilled their role in the grievance process. You can be pretty sure that’s what happened because if the union didn’t like the answer, it’s standard stuff in a collective bargaining agreement that the next step in the process involves an arbitrator, not a court.
Hernandez filed a pair of charges of discrimination against Major League Baseball on June 5, and the suit says the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued notices of right to sue last week. The suit asks for money damages and an injunction against any discriminatory conduct by MLB.
Those terms mean “court,” not “arbitrator,” which means Hernandez is most likely doing this without the advice or support of the union. Not to mention, suing your employer almost always means your relationship with them is at the very least irreparably damaged. Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve done more contract negotiation and dispute resolution than I’d care to admit, but I can tell you that it doesn’t bode well for a lawsuit against an employer when the page reporting the story also links to one of the employer’s main points in the “He sucks” letter.
This refers to a game in May 2013 when Angel Hernandez was acting as a temporary crew chief in a game between the Oakland A’s and the Cleveland Indians. In the ninth inning, the A’s Adam Rosales hits what should have been a home run to give Oakland the lead, but the umps on the field said it didn’t leave the park, leaving Rosales with a double. However, the instant replay official said it was in fact a home run. However, Hernandez as the crew chief, over-ruled the instant replay official’s and upheld the call on the field.
“By rule, the decision to reverse a call by use of instant replay is at the sole discretion of the crew chief,” MLB executive VP for Baseball Operations Joe Torre said in a statement released during Thursday’s series finale. “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.”
Torre, and the rest of the world, knew Hernandez blew the call. But he didn’t throw him under the bus. Torre supported Hernandez as per the rules. They even gave him a shot to prove his wares as a temporary crew chief, but we all knew at that point that Angel Hernandez should never be a crew chief.
Everybody except Angel Hernandez.