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Angel Hernandez has certainly lived up to his reputation in the first month of the 2021 MLB season.
During the Indians-Royals game in Kansas City Tuesday night, Hernandez admitted that he essentially guessed on a play in the bottom of the third that had to be overturned due to his mistake, which he said was a result of getting “blinded by the outfield scoreboard.”
With runners on second and third, Royals catcher Salvador Perez hit a deep fly ball to right-center that landed between two outfielders on the warning track. But Hernandez, who was stationed at first base, signaled that the ball had been caught.
Andrew Benintendi, the second base runner, was told by third-base coach Vance Wilson to get back to second because he saw that Hernandez called the hit as an out. Benintendi did not get back to the bag in time and was tagged out, which prompted the 26-year-old to put his hands out in confusion.
The umpires congregated and Hernandez’s look of confusion tells the whole story. In order to fix it, Benintendi was awarded third base considering he was only stuck in the jam because he was responding to Hernandez.
“Our goal was to get the play right, and that’s exactly what we did,” Hernandez told The Kansas City Star. “We talk about this. Replay is an extension of what we do out there. As you saw, I got basically blinded by the outfield scoreboard. The pixels on the lights were as clear as white can be. I was trying to make out what happened out there.
“The harder I looked, the less I could see. So I was trying to read the players to see what they did with the ball. And I had to come out with the call. I basically guessed on the wrong call. So as soon as I turned around, [home plate umpire] Edwin [Moscoso] started walking towards me. We got the crew together. And we fixed the problem.”
Indians manager Terry Francona said he told Hernandez after the bizarre call, ‘Why’s it always happening when you’re here?’
“We knew it wasn’t a catch,” Francona told reporters after Cleveland’s 7-3 win. “Everybody I think knew it but Angel.
“They said they put him where they thought he would have been…I’ve got to look at the rule. If the baserunner doesn’t actually attempt to get there, I’m not sure how you give him that base. But I was so mad at him that I didn’t even bring that up, and it probably wouldn’t have mattered.”
The 59-year-old Hernandez has been calling baseball games since 1991 and has garnered an abysmal reputation. In fact, MLB has not let him call a World Series since 2005 and Hernandez filed a federal lawsuit against the league alleging racial discrimination in 2017.
That case was dismissed by a U.S. District Judge last March, as the court ruled Hernandez is really just that bad at his job.
During the 2016, 2017 and 2018 seasons, Hernandez’s calls at first base were overturned in 14 out of 18 video reviews.
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