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Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Umpire Angel Hernandez seeks ‘sensitive’ documents in MLB discrimination suit

Relations between umpire Angel Hernandez and Major League Baseball won’t be warming up anytime soon. Hernandez is suing MLB for discrimination, alleging that he’s been passed over for numerous promotions to crew chief due to his Latino descent, and his lawyers have requested a number of “sensitive” MLB documents that could possibly help prove his case. And as you may have guessed, MLB isn’t on board.

According to the New York Daily News, Hernandez’s lawyers have requested “several categories of highly sensitive documents” from MLB, including evaluations and performance reviews of other umpires, confidential grievance proceedings, umpire training documents and instant replay protocol.

As a side note, should he succeed in getting this stuff admitted as evidence, it could be a rich documentary source for the scholars among us.

 

QLE Posted: December 04, 2018 at 07:48 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angel hernandez, evaluations, grievances, instant replay, the documentary trail, umpiring

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   1. dejarouehg Posted: December 04, 2018 at 08:16 AM (#5793651)
The very definition of "chutzpah."
   2. The Duke Posted: December 04, 2018 at 08:45 AM (#5793657)
I hate replay and the strike zone tech they use but it ought to be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he is the worst of the umpires. I don’t track this stuff but does he get over turned more?
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2018 at 08:48 AM (#5793658)
As a side note, should he succeed in getting this stuff admitted as evidence, it could be a rich documentary source for the scholars among us.
In all likelihood it would be filed under seal.
   4. villageidiom Posted: December 04, 2018 at 09:15 AM (#5793663)
It's rare that umpires get fired. If I, just some schlub who watches baseball, were asked to fire 3 umpires I think I'd say "Angel Hernandez!" before they could finish asking the question. Like, I wouldn't know if the question would end with "from their jobs" or "out of a cannon" or "into the sun", and I would already be volunteering Hernandez for it.

That's obviously exaggeration. I don't mean him harm. I just no longer want to see him as a major-league umpire, and I'm certain that the game would be better off if he were dismissed. I know I'm nowhere near alone on this. Like, if the BBWAA had the vote, yeah even they wouldn't be unanimous because some idiot will turn in a blank ballot in protest of something, or someone will try to write in "Pete Rose", or other nonsense. But Angel Hernandez would be a first-ballot fired umpire. If we formed a Hall Of Demerit, Angel Hernandez might be in the inaugural class.

Given all that, I'm left to wonder why Hernandez hasn't been fired yet. The MLUA WUA MLBUA isn't so strong of a union that they can keep bad umpires from getting fired. No, wait, maybe they can. I started this rant with, "It's rare that umpires get fired," so it stands to reason that MLBUA is at least that strong if bad umpires happen to good baseball. That should absolutely be the simple answer: the CBA negotiated between MLB and MLBUA defends umpires against being fired for incompetence or failure or embarrassing ineptitude on the job. Without even seeing it, I get why it's good to have a system in place by which umpires are given opportunities to show improvement.

But this has been, what, almost 20 years I've been saying Angel Hernandez is a horrible umpire? And while we shouldn't take one anecdote as evidence that an umpire hasn't shown improvement, but having 3 calls overturned in one ALDS game this year isn't really an argument in his favor. In the words of Pedro Martinez, "Major League Baseball needs to do something about Angel. It doesn't matter how many times he sues Major League Baseball. He's as bad as there is."

And there it is. Is Angel Hernandez still employed as an umpire because he's suing MLB for discrimination? I mean, firing nobody except the one guy who's suing you does kinda look like discrimination. And firing him for being a crappy umpire, without also firing C.B. Bucknor and a couple others, would also look a bit like discrimination. Again, the most obvious answer for why Angel Hernandez hasn't been fired is that he's likely not achieved grounds for firing per whatever is in the MLB/MLBUA CBA. But I can't dismiss the notion that his suit is one of the reasons he's still around.
   5. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:10 AM (#5793697)
Hernandez and his lawyers are trying to prove that MLB discriminated against him, consistently passing him over for crew chief jobs despite a history of excellent evaluations.

How terrible is MLB's system if it's been giving Hernandez excellent evaluations? If it can't distinguish between good umps and, say, Angel Hernandez and C.B. Bucknor, then it's probably time to get some new evaluators. I'd suggest people who know baseball exists and aren't blind.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:46 AM (#5793710)
Hernandez’s lawyers have requested “several categories of highly sensitive documents” from MLB, including evaluations and performance reviews of other umpires, confidential grievance proceedings, umpire training documents and instant replay protocol.

Hernandez will likely get those documents, perhaps with some redactions and/or a protective order preventing him from releasing sensitive material. His performance compared to other umpires and the MLB standards is the main issue in his case, so the info looks to be quite relevant. Doesn't mean he'll prevail, but if MLB has actually given Hernandez "excellent evaluations" for years they'll have some embarrassing explaining to do.
   7. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2018 at 10:50 AM (#5793719)
How terrible is MLB's system if it's been giving Hernandez excellent evaluations? If it can't distinguish between good umps and, say, Angel Hernandez and C.B. Bucknor, then it's probably time to get some new evaluators. I'd suggest people who know baseball exists and aren't blind.
Bring on the robot ump evaluators!
   8. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 04, 2018 at 11:18 AM (#5793742)

How terrible is MLB's system if it's been giving Hernandez excellent evaluations? If it can't distinguish between good umps and, say, Angel Hernandez and C.B. Bucknor, then it's probably time to get some new evaluators. I'd suggest people who know baseball exists and aren't blind.

Sounds like this is not so much a problem anymore. According to Wikipedia:

He also cited a long-standing feud with Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, dating back to Torre's managerial career, saying that prior to Torre's arrival in 2011, Hernández's evaluations were consistently positive, but since then evaluations have turned neutral or negative.


(emphasis added)
   9. JL72 Posted: December 04, 2018 at 02:06 PM (#5793840)
He also cited a long-standing feud with Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre, dating back to Torre's managerial career, saying that prior to Torre's arrival in 2011, Hernández's evaluations were consistently positive, but since then evaluations have turned neutral or negative.


So he is saying that Torre is biased against Latinos and MLB agreed with him? Because otherwise, this would seem to hurt his case.
   10. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 04, 2018 at 02:25 PM (#5793849)
So he is saying that Torre is biased against Latinos
I mean, he almost always waited until the very last inning to bring in Rivera. You tell me.
   11. The Duke Posted: December 04, 2018 at 02:55 PM (#5793876)
That was lol funny
   12. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: December 04, 2018 at 03:02 PM (#5793877)
Can someone point me to web sites that have data on how terrible an ump he is?
   13. Bote Man Posted: December 04, 2018 at 05:55 PM (#5793962)
then it's probably time to get some new evaluators. I'd suggest people who know baseball exists and aren't blind.

Well, that excludes his fellow umpires then.
   14. manchestermets Posted: December 05, 2018 at 05:58 AM (#5794056)
Are there any other notably bad umpires who have been made crew chiefs? As bad as he is, "Angel Hernandez is a terrible umpire" and "Angel Hernandez is being racially discriminated against" aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.
   15. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: December 05, 2018 at 08:12 AM (#5794067)
I don't see race. And Angel Hernandez doesn't see strikes.
   16. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: December 05, 2018 at 09:16 AM (#5794074)

So he is saying that Torre is biased against Latinos and MLB agreed with him? Because otherwise, this would seem to hurt his case.

I don't know, haven't read the suit and am not a lawyer. But Torre oversees umpiring in MLB and presumably the assignments and evaluations of the umpires. Nobody else in MLB necessarily would need to "agree" with Torre for Hernandez to have been discriminated against.
   17. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: December 05, 2018 at 10:02 AM (#5794091)
The very definition of "chutzpah."


"Cojones'?
   18. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: December 05, 2018 at 02:09 PM (#5794213)
Are there any other notably bad umpires who have been made crew chiefs? As bad as he is, "Angel Hernandez is a terrible umpire" and "Angel Hernandez is being racially discriminated against" aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.


Joe West, but he was a crew chief long before Torre arrived. Also, I think statistically he is more average than bad, but his unprofessional behavior and antics obviously effect people's opinion of him. If he was 15 years younger it is quite possible that he would be in a similar position to Hernandez. Now that West is at the twilight of his career I expect MLB hopes/expects that he will retire soon and solve their problem.

What are the most likely outcomes of the Hernandez discovery? My power ranking:

1) Torre/MLB thinks Hernandez is a bad umpire and nothing about race is discovered
2) Torre/MLB thinks Hernandez is a bad umpire, but hasn't fired him because they fear a wrongful termination lawsuit, retribution from other umpires, or bad optics from firing the longest tenured Latino umpire
3) Torre/MLB thinks Hernandez is fine, but has a personal grudge (non-racial) against him
4) Torre/MLB thinks Hernandez is fine/good, but is discriminating against him
   19. Master of the Horse Posted: December 05, 2018 at 02:19 PM (#5794218)
18--Hernandez' lawyers want his peers performance reviews one imagines to compare and contrast to Hernandez' reviews. Do we know what the Hernandez reviews state? Did Hernandez sign in agreement or did he write a rebuttal on one more reviews? Was Hernandez ever put on a PIP? If so were other umps with similar reviews also assigned PIPs? I could continue but with that being the discovery motion that is what I think is going to be the focus. Hernandez was given reviews of x,y,z. Umpire A was too but he was assigned to these opportunities and Hernandez was not. Something like that
   20. Master of the Horse Posted: December 05, 2018 at 03:07 PM (#5794253)
   21. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 05, 2018 at 03:35 PM (#5794269)
If I, just some schlub who watches baseball, were asked to fire 3 umpires I think I'd say "Angel Hernandez!" before they could finish asking the question.


Can I just kill Jerry Meals three times and call it a day?
   22. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 05, 2018 at 03:36 PM (#5794271)
I don't see race. And Angel Hernandez doesn't see strikes.


He just wants all the baseballs to get some exercise and have a good time, regardless of where they go.
   23. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: December 05, 2018 at 05:47 PM (#5794339)
18--Hernandez' lawyers want his peers performance reviews one imagines to compare and contrast to Hernandez' reviews. Do we know what the Hernandez reviews state? Did Hernandez sign in agreement or did he write a rebuttal on one more reviews? Was Hernandez ever put on a PIP? If so were other umps with similar reviews also assigned PIPs? I could continue but with that being the discovery motion that is what I think is going to be the focus. Hernandez was given reviews of x,y,z. Umpire A was too but he was assigned to these opportunities and Hernandez was not. Something like that


Yeah that makes sense. The publicly available data for Hernandez puts him as one of the worst umpires in baseball (stuff like percentage of calls overturned on replay) so without MLB's data it doesn't seem like he has much of a chance. IANAL, so I have no idea how much information he is entitled to with discovery.
   24. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 05, 2018 at 07:02 PM (#5794370)
Yeah that makes sense. The publicly available data for Hernandez puts him as one of the worst umpires in baseball (stuff like percentage of calls overturned on replay) so without MLB's data it doesn't seem like he has much of a chance. IANAL, so I have no idea how much information he is entitled to with discovery.
The standard for discoverability (at least in federal court; I'm too lazy to look up where this suit was filed) is whether the requested information is relevant to any claim or defense. Asking for comparable other employees' evaluations is bog standard in an employment discrimination suit.
   25. JL72 Posted: December 06, 2018 at 08:49 AM (#5794486)
I don't know, haven't read the suit and am not a lawyer. But Torre oversees umpiring in MLB and presumably the assignments and evaluations of the umpires. Nobody else in MLB necessarily would need to "agree" with Torre for Hernandez to have been discriminated against.


Thanks. I was not clear about the structure of MLB, so this helps.

But I think my main point is still there. Taking action against an individual because you don't like them personally is a far cry from doing so because you don't like people of that race or ethnicity.

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