Angel Hernandez claims MLB ‘manipulated’ year-end reviews of minority umpires: report

Angel Hernandez claims MLB ‘manipulated’ year-end reviews of minority umpires: report

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Controversial MLB umpire Angel Hernandez has accused the league of “manipulating the performance of Mr. Hernandez and other minority umpires,” which in turn has prevented more minority umpires from becoming crew chiefs. 

Hernandez made the allegation in a legal filing this week with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, according to a report by The Athletic

Umpire Angel Hernandez during a Colorado Rockies-Miami Marlins game at Coors Field on May 30, 2022, in Denver.

Umpire Angel Hernandez during a Colorado Rockies-Miami Marlins game at Coors Field on May 30, 2022, in Denver. (Harrison Barden/Colorado Rockies/Getty Images)

In March 2021, Hernandez lost his lawsuit against Major League Baseball alleging racial discrimination. In the lawsuit – filed in 2017 – Hernandez claimed that he had been discriminated against because he had not been assigned to a World Series since 2005 and had not been made a crew chief. 

In the latest filing, an appeal to have the March 2021 decision overturned, Hernandez alleged Major League Baseball manipulated his end-of-season reviews. 

“The District Court also failed to give appropriate weight to evidence of MLB’s disparate treatment of Mr. Hernandez, including evidence that MLB was manipulating the performance of Mr. Hernandez and other minority umpires to make their performances look worse,” Hernandez said in the court filing. 

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From 2011-2016, umpires were given umpire evaluation reports (UERs), which Hernandez said did not match his year-end reviews.

Angel Hernandez watches the action during the Detroit Tigers-Tampa Bay Rays game on May 18, 2022, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Angel Hernandez watches the action during the Detroit Tigers-Tampa Bay Rays game on May 18, 2022, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“[A] review of Mr. Hernandez’s Year-End Evaluations and his UERs for the years 2011-2016 reveals that MLB manipulated Mr. Hernandez’s year-end evaluations in order to make his job performance appear worse than it actually was,” he argued. “Mr. Hernandez’s Year-End Evaluations for the 2011-2016 seasons do not even come close to accurately summarizing Mr. Hernandez’s actual performance in those seasons.”

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In Hernandez’s original lawsuit, the umpire claimed that former chief baseball officer Joe Torre had “animus” toward him, a claim the court denied. 

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“MLB has established beyond genuine dispute seniority and FEF ratings were considered as two of many factors in umpire promotions and were not decisive on their own,” U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken wrote, according to ESPN. “In multiple seasons, Torre rejected white crew chief candidates who had more seniority than the white umpires he promoted.”

Umpire Angel Hernandez looks on as the Blue Jays play the Minnesota Twins at the Rogers Centre on June 3, 2022, in Toronto, Canada. 

Umpire Angel Hernandez looks on as the Blue Jays play the Minnesota Twins at the Rogers Centre on June 3, 2022, in Toronto, Canada.  (Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

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“Hernandez’s handful of cherry-picked examples does not reliably establish any systematic effort on MLB’s part to artificially deflate Hernandez’s evaluations, much less an effort to do so in order to cover up discrimination,” the judge added. “The evidence shows beyond genuine dispute that an umpire’s leadership and situation management carried the day in MLB’s promotion decisions.”

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According to The Athletic, Major League Baseball has 30 to 45 days to respond to the latest filing. 

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