As a general rule, you want to avoid becoming a household name if you officiate a sport for a living, as 99% of the people who manage to do that tend to achieve that particular distinction for all the wrong reasons.
There’s a reason NBA fans reflexively recoil in horror when they learn Scott Foster has been tapped to ref big game, and there are plenty of Major League Baseball umpires whose presence has the ability to trigger a similar response.
There’s a convincing argument that Laz Diaz is statistically the worst ump in the MLB. However, he has plenty of colleagues that give him a run for his money, including C. B. Bucknor, Doug Eddings, and, of course, Angel Hernandez.
The last man on that list has been infuriating fans, players, and managers alike since making his MLB debut all the way back in 1991 thanks to his abysmal ability to consistently call balls and strikes and plenty of other borderline inexplicable rulings with the ability to make millions of people wonder “How does Angel Hernandez still have a job?”
The MLB has quietly acknowledged his skills leave plenty of be desired when you consider it hasn’t allowed him to work in the World Series since 2005 and essentially responded to a discrimination lawsuit he filed by saying “It has nothing to do with your ethnic background and everything to do with your performance” while whipping out some receipts to support its case.
Hernandez kicked off his 33rd season as an umpire at the MLB level when he worked first base during a game between the Giants and the White Sox on April 3rd.
last saw Ángel work an MLB game on April 3 pic.twitter.com/0hDvzaTHlI
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) May 15, 2023
However, that also marked the only time he’s worked so far this season, as he was quietly replaced two days after that contest and has not returned to the diamond.
Regarding the Angel Hernandez mystery, the last game he umped was Apr 3. After that, Nate Tomlinson a AAA call-up replaced him from Apr 5-16. Since then, Edwin Jimenez (who I don't see on ump rosters) has been on Hoye's crew.
— Jason Mott (@MoxxjasonReal) May 15, 2023
As things currently stand, it’s unclear if Hernandez unexpectedly retired, was shown the door by the league, or if there’s some other explanation for an absence that has stretched than more 40 days.
What is clear, however, is that baseball fans aren’t exactly heartbroken by the development.
WHAT. I’m having an aneurism. Surely someone would have said something. Has the demon finally returned to hell?
— HK-47 ATL Sports fan (@speshul_K84) May 15, 2023
FOURTY TWO DAYS WITH NO ANGEL HERNANDEZ https://t.co/64TApAO0HA
— b (4-3) (@SargeantEnjoyer) May 15, 2023
One of those things you’re afraid to say out loud lest it changes
— Infield Fly Girl (@infieldflygrl) May 15, 2023
that’s great if he’s done. hopefully it’s permanent and not temporary. baseball is better off without him.
— Mike, Michael, or Mikey (@MikeyLikesStuff) May 15, 2023
The lack of any official announcement means the door could be open for his return, but it’s clear plenty of baseball fans would prefer to see it hit Hernandez on his way out.