Veteran umpire Angel Hernandez has accused Major League Baseball of manipulating its umpiring reviews to prevent minority umpires from becoming crew chiefs in a legal filing, according to The Athletic.
Hernandez’s filing with the Second Circuit Court of Appeals stems from the discrimination case he brought against MLB back in 2017. That case was dismissed by U.S. District Judge J. Paul Oetken in March 2021. Judge Oetken’s decision read in part: “The explicit reason MLB offers – that according to Torre, Hernandez ‘has not demonstrated the leadership ability and situation-management skills in critical high-pressure roles on a consistent basis’ – is presented in clear and specific terms.”
Hernandez and lawyer Kevin Murphy made the following argument as part of their appeal:
“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’s argument claims that there was a disconnect between his midseason umpire reviews and those that came at season’s end. Hernandez alleged that his midseason reviews were always positive, but that the league then altered its evaluations to make him look worse and to prevent him from climbing the ladder.
When Hernandez first filed his suit in 2017, he noted that MLB had employed just one minority crew chief in the league’s 150 years of existence. During the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Hernandez was named an interim crew chief due to other umpires opting out of assignments.
In the past, Hernandez has suggested that MLB executive Joe Torre has a grudge against him based on a call he made against the New York Yankees while Torre was the team’s manager.
Hernandez has been an MLB umpire since 1993, but he hasn’t worked a World Series since 2005.