It only took four batters into spring training for umpire Angel Hernandez to make a questionable call on balls and strikes.
In what served as a perfect “baseball is officially back!” moment on Sunday (spring training opening day), Hernandez decided a first-inning pitch from St. Louis Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty was not a strike. The call was met with sounds of disagreement from fans, the Cardinals’ dugout, and the St. Louis announcing booth.
Cardinals play-by-play announcer Dan McLaughlin of Fox Sports Midwest said, “Angel Hernandez is in midseason form.”
St. Louis color commentator Jim Edmonds followed up with, “Let’s not make this game too fast, Angel.”
"Angel Hernandez is in the midseason form" pic.twitter.com/EdJhr3xJIO
— Tony X (@soIoucity) February 28, 2021
In the third inning, MLB GameDay tracked a pitch from the Cardinals’ John Gant in the top half of the strike zone that was ruled a ball. MLB Network’s Robert Flores tweeted (with a graphic of the pitch), “Pitch 1 was called a ball. Angel Hernandez is behind the plate.”
— Robert Flores (@RoFlo) February 28, 2021
There are many, many more of these calls to come from Hernandez in 2021, and we won’t be laughing as much when these calls are impacting real games.