“It’s Angel again. It’s the same story every year.”
Umpire Angel Hernandez, known as the “blind man’s umpire” in Major League Baseball, has struck again. This time, he drew the ire of Bryce Harper (31, Philadelphia Phillies), one of baseball’s biggest superstars and the owner of a 13-year, $330 million contract.
Hernandez was the third base umpire for the Philadelphia Phillies-Pittsburgh Pirates 2023 Major League Baseball game at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., on Sept. 29 (ET). With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning and the bases loaded, he called Harper out for check swinging.
Harper worked a full count against then-Pittsburgh starter Luis Ortiz. Ortiz’s six-pitch slider was low to the body. It was clearly out of the strike zone, and Harper let his bat drop for a second before bringing it back up. It was hardly a check swing.
The umpire asked for the opinion of third base umpire Hernandez, who was in the best position to determine whether the left-handed Harper was swinging, and Hernandez called it a strike. Understandably, Harper was furious, as he thought it was a grounder and tried to walk to first base with his wrist guard off.
Harper then walked to third base himself and appealed in a strong tone of voice. Umpire Hernandez then called him out. Harper became very agitated and got closer to the umpire. It looked like they were going to have a physical confrontation, but the bystanders stopped them. On his way out, Harper shouted harsh words at umpire Hernandez and threw his helmet into the crowd.
Harper told Bleacher Report, “It’s Angel again. Him in the middle of something again. It’s just, it’s the same story every year. He does it over and over again. He’s not right.” Philadelphia coach Rob Thompson said, “He was very emotional. You don’t have to say anything to him. I understand how important it was to him.” 메이저사이트
Hernandez officiated in the Toronto Blue Jays-Colorado Rockies game on March 3, where he made calls against Hyun-jin Ryu (Toronto Blue Jays) and Chris Flexen (Colorado Rockies) that failed to distinguish between strikes and balls. He has also drawn ire this season for a botched call against Bae Ji-Hwan (Pittsburgh Pirates).
This isn’t the first time Harper and Hernandez have had a falling out. In 2021 against the Houston Astros while still with the Washington Nationals, Harper angrily protested a strikeout call by Hernandez. For the Phillies, in the 2022 season, Kyle Schwarber slammed his bat and helmet into Hernandez after a strikeout call against the Milwaukee Brewers, according to Bleacher Report.
Umpire Scorecards shows the accuracy of the call. According to it, Hernandez has a strike call accuracy rate of just 91.5% this season. According to Bleacher Report, that’s 80%, or 80th out of 100. Hernandez has been labeled a “blind man’s umpire” or “blind umpire” by American baseball fans.