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Longtime Major League Baseball umpire Angel Hernandez has announced his retirement after 34 seasons in the majors. Hernandez, 62, joined the MLB ranks in 1991 as a National League umpire and has been working throughout the majors since 2000. Hernandez has gained a reputation as one of the worst umpires in the league, with numerous viral moments showcasing some horrendous calls. Recently, Hernandez came under fire for making some of the worst calls in the history of the sport, including calling a strike on a pitch that was nearly 7 inches outside the strike zone.

Hernandez’s career has been plagued by controversies and criticism, with players and fans alike questioning his abilities as an umpire. Last year, he ranked dead-last in correct-call rate at one point in August, and this season he is currently ranked 67th out of 85 umpires. Cy Young Award winner C.C. Sabathia once publicly criticized Hernandez, stating that he should not be officiating postseason games due to his poor performance. Hernandez’s reputation has only been compounded by the increasing scrutiny on umpires in recent years.

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred recently hinted at the possibility of implementing an automated balls and strikes system in the majors, following its success in the minor leagues since 2019. This system aims to remove human error from calling balls and strikes, potentially reducing controversies surrounding umpiring decisions. This move is seen as a response to the growing dissatisfaction with umpires like Hernandez, whose poor calls have affected the outcome of games and drawn criticism from players, coaches, and fans.

Hernandez has also faced accusations of racial discrimination within Major League Baseball. In a lawsuit filed in 2017, he claimed that the league had manipulated his performance and prevented more minority umpires from becoming crew chiefs. Despite his claims, Hernandez lost the lawsuit in March 2021, further adding to the controversies surrounding his career. Throughout his time in the majors, Hernandez umpired three All-Star Games, 12 ALDS, eight ALCS, and two World Series, but his legacy will likely be overshadowed by the numerous instances of poor officiating that have plagued his career.

Angel Hernandez’s retirement marks the end of a controversial and tumultuous career as a Major League Baseball umpire. Despite his many years of experience and high-profile assignments, Hernandez will be remembered for his numerous mistakes and questionable calls that garnered widespread criticism and scrutiny. The growing consensus for an automated balls and strikes system in the majors reflects the desire for more accurate and consistent officiating, which may help prevent similar controversies in the future. Hernandez’s legacy serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by umpires in the modern era of baseball, where every call is subject to intense analysis and critique. His retirement signals a changing landscape for umpires in baseball and a potential shift towards more reliable and efficient officiating methods in the sport.

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