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MLB Fires Back at Umpire Angel Hernandez

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Major League Baseball is hitting back against umpire Angel Hernandez in his latest legal filing against the league stating he was discriminated against because he had not been assigned to the World Series since 2005 and had been passed over for crew chief.

U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken granted a summary judgment to MLB back in March 2021 and Hernandez requested that the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals throw out that decision back in February.

“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 a 58-page filing on Wednesday (h/t ESPN).

MLB said Hernandez doesn’t have a legal basis to claim that he need not show discrimination statistically due to that relatively small sample sizes involved in his case. Additionally, MLB said that Joe Torre, the chief baseball officer at the time, had selected Hernandez for the AL Division Series in 2018 “with the intention of providing him an opportunity to umpire in the World Series that year.”

“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, 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.”

“For years, Hernandez has refused to admit that the call he made was incorrect and instead has attempted to blame the quality of the replay equipment,” MLB said. “Hernandez’s inability to put the Cleveland incident behind him — and his continued insistence that others were at fault for his wrong decision — was emblematic of why Torre considered him to be unsuitable for World Series assignments and a permanent crew chief role. The issue was not the bad call itself, but Hernandez’s reaction to his mistake.”

Hernandez’s team told the appellate court during a filing in June 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.”

Furthermore: “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.”

MLB also claimed Torre observed Hernandez throwing his headset after a video review overturned one of his calls in 2014 and misapplied a substitution rule which led to a significant, nearly 15 minute delay and protest during a 2019 game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays.

“During that investigation, MLB concluded that Hernandez intentionally and deceptively eavesdropped on a confidential conversation with another umpire on his crew in order to hear what that umpire would say concerning the incident; and when MLB asked Hernandez about it, he lied about his conduct,” MLB wrote.

MLB noted a few more instances as well.

Anthony DiMoro is the creator of Sports Rants and the CEO of Elite Rank Media. He is a former Contributor for Forbes and the Huffington Post where he covered sports, social media, and SEO. Anthony formerly hosted the 'Forbes SportsMoney Podcast'.

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