Let's all pile on Angel Hernandez, (still) a very bad umpire
As far as I can tell, it has been two years since we last wrote about Angel Hernandez on this website, and folks, that is too long to ignore an umpire so bad that he has pulled off the incredible feat of being worse than Joe West. Angel Hernandez is not the kind of fine wine you store in a cellar for decades; you must uncork him from time to time, and remind yourself of the delicious incompetence.
Luckily, Twitter was on the case Tuesday, when Hernandez was the home plate ump for the Angels-Astros game. Take a look at this litany of questionable calls:
How can one guy be this bad! The crazy thing is, he's not even consistently bad in one direction. The minute you think his strike zone is shifted to his right by about six inches, he'll punch somebody out on a pitch that's six inches off the other corner. If I were coming up with a comprehensive Angel Herenandez theory, I might say that he's godawful on outside pitches in general, and the side of his most common mistake changes with the handedness of the batter, and also that he completely ignores the upper third of the strike zone. Even then, though, he'll throw you a curveball (pun intended?) and make you rethink everything you know.
Here, of course, we'll get into the inevitable argument of whether the strike zone should be automated, or whether the Hernandezes of the world part of the indispensable "human element." The thing is, though...most umpires are good. If you sent Angel Hernandez and Joe West on the first dog sled to Alaska to umpire Little League games, we wouldn't be having the whole Robot Umpire debate anywhere near as often. How long must these men hold the baseball world hostage??