Angel Hernández Aug 15, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Umpire Angel Hernandez (5) reacts prior to a game between the Seattle Mariners and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball fans have been celebrating the retirement of reviled umpire Ángel Hernández, but should the league be doing the same?

Hernández announced his retirement Monday, ending a 33-year MLB umpiring career that was marred by so many controversial calls it prompted fans, managers, and players to regularly label him the worst umpire in baseball. The worst umpire retiring should be a good thing for MLB, right? ESPN Radio host Evan Cohen isn’t sure, posing that question to co-hosts Chris Canty and Michelle Smallmon Tuesday morning.

“Are we sure this is good for baseball?” Cohen asked. “I asked the question to Hembo from Greeny…he goes, ‘Why, because the face of the league is gone?’ I mean, are we sure it’s great for baseball?”

“It’s great for baseball,” Canty said definitively. “We don’t need to have the umpires being the story around every single game. Nobody paid money to come see you, Angel. ‘Ain’t nobody come to see you, Otis.’ It ain’t about the umpires, it’s about the players on the field. So, I’m glad that Ángel Hernández is gone.”

“We should never know the umpire’s name,” Smallmon said.

You didn’t have to be a diehard baseball fan to know Ángel Hernández’s name. The goal of most officials might be to avoid becoming a headline, but Hernández was frequently a lightning rod for attention.

Hernández garnered attention for his calls, and for filing a federal lawsuit against MLB in 2017, alleging racial discrimination after he was passed on for World Series assignments and crew chief promotions. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2021 and Hernández’s appeal was rejected last year. But if Stephen A. Smith’s belief that “negativity sells” is true, then maybe Cohen isn’t crazy for questioning whether Hernandez’s retirement is good for baseball amid all the celebration the news is garnering.

Let’s face it, MLB doesn’t get much attention nationally. You’d be hard-pressed to find national shows on ESPN or Fox Sports talking about baseball, even when it’s the only sport playing during the dog days of summer. But the morning after Hernández was behind the plate? You better believe there’s going to be social media engagement.

Hernández hasn’t worked a game since May 9 and was on just 10 games last season. Yet he’s still a household name thanks to his ability to generate buzz by garnering near unanimous national outrage over bad calls. It’s ultimately a good thing for Major League Baseball to shed any adverse attention that can potentially be damaging to their credibility. But sports fans just lost one of the few things they can unanimously agree on.

[ESPN Radio]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to