It has been a rough year for umpires already this season with several baffling calls like this one in New York, this one in Milwaukee, and this one in Philadelphia. Last night’s Royals/Indians games featured another feather in the cap for questionable umpiring this year, and to no one’s surprise, it came from Angel Hernandez.
With one out in the third inning of last night’s game, Andrew Benintendi and Whit Merrifield were at second and third, respectively. Salvador Pérez launched a long fly ball to right-center that Indians outfielder Harold Ramirez missed. Whit Merrifield scored easily, but Andrew Benintendi looked confused as to what happened.
The confused stemmed from the fact that first base umpire Angel Hernandez had mistakenly signaled “out”, thinking Ramirez had caught the ball. Ramirez had caught the ball against the video board, and the bright lights made it difficult for Hernandez to determine what happened. Benintendi, uncertain whether he needed to tag up or if he could advance to third, was easily tagged out as he stood confused on the basepaths.
The umpires conferred and awarded Benintendi third, reasoning that he was misled by the out call and would have advanced to third otherwise, which drew the ire of Cleveland fans. But Royals fans should be upset too - had Hernandez not signaled out, Benintendi likely scores from second on that play. Instead, he would be stranded at third.
Here’s the NSFW (language) breakdown from Jomboy.
Noted bad umpire, Ángel Hernández blows a couple easy ones, a breakdown pic.twitter.com/3KSAEUu3jM— Jomboy (@Jomboy_) May 5, 2021
It can be difficult to see all the way to the outfield, and the video board doesn’t do the umpire any favors. But as Jomboy points out, Hernandez is pretty slow getting out to a position to see the play (speaking of Angel Hernandez being positioned poorly)
After the game, Hernandez admitted he “basically guessed” on the call because he couldn’t see the ball.
Hernandez would like you to set the lights on a dimmer @Royals pic.twitter.com/ZJpFcYjGji— Cody Tapp (@codybtapp) May 5, 2021
So they got the play right, except for when they got it wrong. Got it?
Hey, good on the umpiring crew for at least conferring to try to get the call right, but it would help if they got the call originally right. As the calls for robot-umpires grows stronger, MLB umpires have done themselves no favors by blowing calls this year.
Oh, and Angel Hernandez is behind the plate tonight.