Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Real Reason Why Angel Hernandez Blew The Home Run Call

On Wednesday night, infielder Adam Rosales of the Oakland Athletics hit what appeared to be a dramatic game-tying homer off Cleveland Indians' closer Chris Perez with two outs in the ninth inning.  But the long drive was ruled a double by the umpires, and after a quick check of instant replay, the call was upheld.

There was only one problem.  Instant replay clearly showed that the ball was indeed a home run, striking a metal railing above the yellow line at the top of the left field wall.  But even with a set of electronic eyes in the replay room, the umps still got it wrong.  And who was the crew chief that was probably watching Law & Order: SVU instead of the actual home run replay?  None other than longtime Mets' nemesis Angel Hernandez.

But even though Oakland manager Bob Melvin might not forgive Hernandez for his egregious call, we at the Studious Metsimus staff do.  After all, we know that Hernandez is still mourning the loss of his umpiring mentor.

In November 2010, the great comedic actor, opera singer and umpire Leslie Nielsen passed away at the age of 84.  The versatile thespian was influential to many comedians for his deadpan delivery on screen, but his work in the first "Naked Gun" film was a little too influential to an enemy of Mets fans (and now A's fans, as well).

For years, Mets fans have had a hate/hate relationship with umpire Angel Hernandez.   His strike zone has been wider than CC Sabathia's waistline whenever the Mets are batting.   He has also developed a rare form of temporary blindness that has resulted in numerous calls at the plate going against the Mets, as Mike Piazza (circa 1998) and Paul Lo Duca (circa 2006) can attest.

Whenever Angel Hernandez has been on the field for a Mets game, bad calls have always followed.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise to Mets fans that he has based his entire style of calling games on the umpiring work of Leslie Nielsen.  Don't believe me?   Take a look at this video clip, which Hernandez accidentally left behind the last time he umpired a game at Citi Field.

When John Franco went ballistic on Hernandez after his blown call at home plate gave the Braves a crucial victory over the Mets in 1998, that was Leslie Nielsen's influence.  Similarly, when Paul Lo Duca spiked the ball at home plate after another poor call by Hernandez during a game in 2006, it was right after the arbiter had viewed his favorite film (or as he liked to call it, his umpiring instructional video).

Angel Hernandez has been working with a heavy heart since the end of the 2010 campaign, when his mentor and inspiration passed away.  Most teams honor those who have died by wearing black patches or armbands on their uniforms, such as the "Kid 8" patches the Mets wore in 2012 to honor Gary Carter.

Hernandez has also worn black to honor the late Leslie Nielsen, but he has been wearing it in a way that is not only appropriate in cold weather cities (like Cleveland last night), but has allowed him to come up with new excuses for missing critical calls against the Mets and other big league teams (see photo below).

Yes, that really is Angel Hernandez under all that black.

Leslie Nielsen starred in countless films over his long career.  His passing in November 2010 has been mourned by millions of fans worldwide.  But one fan has been taking it just a little harder than most.

Nearly thirty months ago, Leslie Nielsen passed away at the age of 84.  This Mets blogger has missed him for his comedic acting ability and impeccable timing, but surely Angel Hernandez has missed him for quite a bit more (even if he just called you Shirley).

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