Umpire Angel Hernandez was slated to work the 2018 World Series, but lost that opportunity after getting three calls overturned at first base during that season, according to a Major League Baseball response to Hernandez’s recent legal filing. Hernandez had three calls overturned following video review during Game 3 of the 2018 American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
In 2017, Hernandez, who was born in Cuba, sued the league alleging that he was discriminated against due to his race. He was unhappy that he hadn’t been assigned to work the World Series since 2005 and was also passed for the crew chief position on several occasions.
Hernandez, still currently an MLB umpire, did serve as an interim crew chief from 2011 until 2016, but was never made a permanent crew chief.
“Hernandez did not capitalize on that opportunity and did not rise to the occasion,” MLB wrote. “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, (former MLB 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.”
Back in March 2021, U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken didn’t find any evidence of discrimination, but Hernandez recently asked the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to toss out Oetken’s ruling.
The league also stated that Hernandez doesn’t have a legal basis to back up his discrimination claims.
“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 on Wednesday.
Referencing the 2011-2016 seasons as an interim crew chief, Hernandez’s attorneys told the court in a June filing that “MLB manipulated Mr. Hernandez’s year-end evaluations in order to make his job performance appear worse than it actually was. Mr. Hernandez’s year-end evaluations for the 2011-2016 seasons do not even come close to accurately summarizing Mr. Hernandez’s actual performance in those seasons.”
MLB also wrote on Wednesday that “Hernandez has been quick to eject managers, which enflames on-field tensions, rather than issue warnings that potentially could defuse those situations. Hernandez also has failed to communicate with other umpires on his crew, which has resulted in confusion on the field and unnecessary game delays.”
The league also brought up a previous allegation in the most recent lawsuit that Hernandez asked former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Homer Bailey to autograph 11 baseballs following Bailey’s no-hitter in 2012.