Things got feisty in the broadcast booth on Wednesday afternoon while the Washington Nationals played the Milwaukee Brewers, not because of any of the players but because of longtime umpire Angel Hernandez.
Often skewered by fans as one of the most notorious umpires around, Hernandez was the subject of criticism again. In the second inning, working behind the plate, he made a questionable call on a pitch that went for a ball. The Brewers’ Tyrone Taylor later clobbered a home run in the same at-bat. The Nats’ commentators weren’t thrilled about the sequence at all.
“Here’s the bad call,” Nationals color commentator Kevin FrandsenAng said as they went to replay. “You know what the difference between 1-2 and 2-1 is? Well, let’s try about 200 points on the average and over 340 on the slugging percentage. Literally, with a horrendous call by Angel Hernandez yet again.”
The struggles continued, and so did Frandsen’s annoyance. Umpire Auditor collected clips throughout the game, and the disgruntled commentator could be heard scoffing.
In Umpire Angel Hernandez's first game behind the plate since an April injury, he struggled to find the bottom of the zone.
The Nationals announcers were VERY vocal about what they thought of Angel.
Especially after a missed ball led to a hitter's count and a HR. pic.twitter.com/IVCLgOmT28
— Umpire Auditor (@UmpireAuditor) August 3, 2023
It’s not too often that commentators go completely in on umpiring or officiating like that. Appeasing the broadcast partners is often thought in the back of everyone’s mind while they call a game. So, it usually results in criticism, but nothing scathing. But this, however, was an instance where it was the opposite.
Frandsen’s audible displeasure over Angel Hernandez and his umpiring was something no doubt felt by the audience at home. While bias is sometimes something people bemoan over when you’re a local announcer, you have to know your audience. Knowing that fans probably don’t like the calls just as much, if not more, expressing that dissatisfaction can get you places. At least among the fans watching at home.