But he actually got the call right!
The one thing all baseball fans can agree on is that Angel Hernandez stinks at his job. Umpiring is undoubtedly very difficult to do well, but most MLB umps perform well enough to enjoy anonymity. Hernandez, on the other hand, manages to screw up so egregiously and so consistently that he’s become a household name.
The current baseball season has barely begun and Hernandez is already getting under people’s skin. In the top of the first inning on the very first day of spring training games, Hernandez botched a strike call and the Cardinals broadcast crew didn’t cut him any slack.
“Angel Hernandez is in midseason form,” play-by-play man Dan McLaughlin deadpanned.
“Let’s not make this game too fast, Angel,” color commentator Jim Edmonds added.
But here’s the thing: Hernandez actually got this call right. MLB.com’s pitch-tracking shows that the ball was low—barely, but still low.
The broadcast camera angle is just brutal. It looks like the camera is at the base of the center field wall, making it impossible to tell where a pitch ends up. If McLaughlin and Edmonds are calling the game remotely off of a monitor (like most broadcasters are doing during spring training), then they would have no way of knowing where a pitch actually was when it crossed the plate.
Hernandez never gets the benefit of the doubt, though. His reputation precedes him. That’s not to say he wasn’t worthy of scorn on Sunday afternoon. Check out where this pitch was thrown. Hernandez called it a ball.
Hernandez may have gotten that first-inning call correct, but there’s something familiar and comforting about seeing his name start trending on Twitter. It means baseball really is back.
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