Angel Hernandez Gets A Performance Review

Thearon W. Henderson

He's widely known as baseball's worst umpire. I wonder what his yearly performance reviews look like?

SCENE: A nondescript office in New York. MLB Director of Umpires RANDY MARSH sits at a conference room table, shuffling papers in and out of a briefcase and whistling mostly tunelessly, though a sharp-eared listener may be able to detect occasional strains of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame."

A soft knock, and then the door opens. In walks ANGEL HERNANDEZ.

HERNANDEZ: Hey, Randy. We doing this in the conference room this year?

MARSH: Yep, we sure are. Good to see you. This won't take a minute, but we got to do these - you know paperwork.

HERNANDEZ: Sure, sure.

MARSH: Let's get going, then. The old man is prowling around today and I don't want him stopping -

The door opens with a crash, accompanied by a thump from outside the room. Both men jump to their feet.

BUD SELIG: Dang it, I thought this was one of them newfangled sliding glass doors!

MARSH: Told you a hundred times, Mr. Selig. Those are only on the outside of buildings. In here we have regular doors.

SELIG: Ah, dangit. Well, anyway, I heard that Angel here was coming in today for his performance review, since his crew is in town. Was hoping I could sit in. You just go ahead and run through your questions.

MARSH (looking uncomfortable): Uh... you sure maybe you don't want to ask your questions first? Don't want to hold you up here.

SELIG: No, no, this is the main thing I got to do today. Already finished the Jumble.

MARSH: Right... all right, question 1. Are you still breathing regularly?

HERNANDEZ: Yes.

MARSH: Were you a major league umpire previously?

HERNANDEZ: Yes.

MARSH: All right, that wraps it up for our questions. According to my sliding scale, your performance rating for this year is "Outstanding."

HERNANDEZ: Thank you.

SELIG (jumps up, knocking a computer to the floor): Now just hold on a minute here! You mean to say that's the whole performance review?

MARSH: We've been using it for years, and it never failed us before.

SELIG: Does anyone ever not get "outstanding"?

HERNANDEZ: Eric Gregg got "super-outstanding" eight years in a row.

SELIG: How?

MARSH: He ate an entire meatball sub without using his hands.

HERNANDEZ (puts his hand on his heart): The man had a gift.

SELIG: Well, blast it, I'm not going to let this go by. Sit back down, I've got a few questions of my own!

MARSH: Neither of us got up. You're the only one that's standing up.

SELIG (staring wildly): Right. Alright, question one, smart guy. If a fielder throws his glove at the ball and hits it, what happens?

HERNANDEZ: Uh... The batter gets a ground-rule double?

SELIG (to Marsh): Is he right?

MARSH: How should I know?

SELIG: I'll look it up later. OK, question two. Is this a balk? He waves his arms around wildly while sticking his tongue out and making goofy faces

HERNANDEZ: Yes.

SELIG: Wrong answer! Trick question, I wasn't the pitcher, I was the third baseman.

MARSH: That's just silly.

HERNANDEZ: Don't worry, I've got this. He winds up dramatically. All right, you're outta this game!

SELIG: What game?

MARSH (gently): Angel, you can't really-

HERNANDEZ: Nope, you're gone! Start walking!

SELIG: Or what?

HERNANDEZ: Or I'll have to make a report and send it to the commissioner's office!

SELIG: You're in the commissioner's office. That's literally where we are right now.

HERNANDEZ: Oh. Well, maybe, then... um...

MARSH (again, gently): Angel, why don't you just go. I'll take care of this.

HERNANDEZ: Right. Yes. Well. He leaves, somewhat huffily.

SELIG: Randy, that man needs to be fired!

MARSH: Yeah, I know.

SELIG: You're not going to fire him, are you?

MARSH: No, I'm not. And do you know why I'm not?

SELIG: Because after years of being an umpire, you hate everything and everyone?

MARSH: That's right.

SELIG: Me too.

We zoom away, with both men looking pensive. In the far distance, we can hear Hernandez attempting to eject two secretaries, a doorman, and a cab driver.

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