Sunday, February 28, 2021

Angel Hernandez Trends on Day 1 of Spring as Sports Toxicity Returns to 2021 Season

Umpire Angel Hernandez trended on Twitter on Day 1 of Spring Training, receiving a flurry of vitriol and criticism after St. Louis Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin took issue with a ball/strike call that turned out to be correct, according to the computerized graphical strike zone the media generally enjoys referring to when an umpire's call is at odds with a team's preference.

The controversial call occurred during the top of the 1st inning of St. Louis' game against the Washington Nationals when Hernandez ruled a 1-1 pitch from Jack Flaherty low for ball two, a call that appeared to be supported by computerized graphics in use by MLB's own website.

AH called Pitch #3 a ball.
Nonetheless, Hernandez's correct call elicited a barrage of personal tweets from baseball fandom attacking the veteran umpire—in the top of the first inning, of the first game of spring.

As we have noted time and time again using the article label "Umpire Abuse," the sports world suffers from severe issues, including a harmful cultural attitude toward its officials.

In Hernandez's case, the existence of a lawsuit filed against Major League Baseball alleging discrimination based on race and national origin complicates matters in a way that compounds the abuse he, as an umpire, receives.

For instance, the consequence and character of Hernandez's pitch call in the first inning Sunday—very likely his first borderline call of 2021—in no way corresponded to the level of backlash he received ( the stadium, there was no such negative reaction). In other words, Hernandez's history influenced what occurred virtually, and largely for reasons previously discussed.

Hernandez, through his audacity in attempting to challenge a potentially oppressive system that sees a tremendous underrepresentation of Latino umpires relative to players (27% Latino players / 5% Latino umpires at the time of Hernandez's 2017 filing), or Crew Chiefs outright (0% Latino crew chiefs at the time of his filing), has drawn the scorn of a sports world not ready to reconcile a potentially uncomfortable reality that marginalization exists.

And for the crime of standing up for himself, it hardly comes as a surprise that Hernandez remains a favorite target of online bullying, personal attacks, and unmeritorious insults.

Oddly enough, McLaughin's quip that Hernandez was in "midseason form" actually was correct after all: the umpire correctly ruled a borderline pitch out of the strike zone and it is statistically true that umpires tend to get most calls right.

Video as follows:

Alternate Link: Angel Hernandez Trends on Twitter in Toxic Sports World (CCS)


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