Monday, November 9, 2020

2020 UEFL Award for Honorable - Hernandez & West

Angel Hernandez & Joe West are 2020's Honorable Umpires [2019: Eric Cooper & Chris Guccione].
Voting Results: Hernandez (13.3%), West (11.1%), Ted Barrett (10.6%), Laz Diaz/Jim Reynolds (10.0%).

Angel Hernandez & Joe West are UEFL's 2020 Honorable Umpires of the Year.

With a spotlight thoroughly focused on him during a still-in-litigation dispute with Major League Baseball over the league's purported failure to promote him to Crew Chief prior to 2017, Hernandez finally had an opportunity to lead a crew as an interim chief during the COVID-modified 2020 season.

Hernandez's 21 points in Crew Division were the most for any Chief during the 2020 season.

Said RIABUAvp, "Went out and led his crew capably + earned a playoff plate despite all the usual ridiculous noise from the general public and the pending suit with the league in the background. Then had a terrific plate performance. Not to mention he was obviously working through some injury with some type of cast or brace on his arm all year, but I don't believe he missed an assignment."

Hernandez's Division Series plate during San Diego-Los Angeles NLDS Game 2 produced a 97.8% score, which was second-highest during the series to Bill Miller's 98.4% in Game 3, and prompted a slew of tweets from usual Angel-critics praising Hernandez for a quality plate performance during the postseason.

Joe West, meanwhile, began 2020 testifying on Hernandez's behalf in the ongoing discrimination lawsuit against MLB, while simultaneously winning his defamation lawsuit against Paul Lo Duca when the latter opted to defend his position by ignoring the suit.

After initially complaining that COVID-19 deaths were exaggerated, West nonetheless began wearing a face covering during the season's second week, battled through a bloody bat-to-the-head injury by later returning to that game as a base umpire, and backed up crew mate Hunter Wendelstedt in requesting Nationals GM Mike Rizzo's removal from a game in Atlanta.

West thus wins this award not necessarily for one specific action—and perhaps in spite of several of them—but for his long-held philosophy and creed for officiating:
"My first responsibility is to the game of baseball. That doesn’t mean the commissioner’s office. That means the game. The second responsibility is to your profession. When I get on my pedestal at the union meetings, I tell them to be moral, honest, true and correct. If you do them in that order, nothing you do out there will be wrong."
UEFL Awards History, Angel Hernandez
Promising Umpire of the Year: 20102012, 2014
Most Improved Umpire of the Year: 2015, 2016

UEFL Awards History, Joe West
Honorable Umpire of the Year: 2009
Ejection of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2016, 2018

Angel Hernandez now has 21 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (19 Prev + 2 Award = 21).
Joe West now has 4 points in the Umpire Ejection Fantasy League (2 Prev + 2 Award = 4).
The next postseason award to be announced will be Promising Umpire of the Year.


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