MLB umpire Angel Hernandez accused MLB umpiring executive Randy Marsh of making “disturbing comments” as part of Hernandez’s discrimination lawsuit against the league.
Hernandez, 58, originally brought a lawsuit against the league in 2017. The suit accuses MLB of passing over minority umpires for promotions in favor of white umpires who grade lower in reviews.
As part of a filing Friday, Hernandez accused Marsh of making “disturbing comments” regarding minority umpires, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.
MLB provided excerpts of that deposition, and Marsh said, “Having taught at umpire school, I know that every year, Harry Wendelstedt, sent, contacted, the athletic directors at many major colleges and schools that had — that was mostly African-American students and sent brochures, everything, trying to get them to come to umpire school. The problem is, yeah, they want to be in the big leagues tomorrow, and they don’t want to go through all of that.”
The second “disturbing” Marsh comment Hernandez cites in the Friday filing is redacted. Hernandez’s lawyer says that it was in reference to another Latino umpire.
Angel Hernandez also expresses frustration with Joe Torre
Hernandez also took aim at MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre. In his original lawsuit, Hernandez accused Torre — who was in charge of promoting umpires from 2011 until February 2020 — of passing over Hernandez and other minority umpires for promotions. Hernandez’s attorney, Kevin Murphy, said Torre believes intangible leadership qualities are more important than balls and strikes accuracy when it came to promoting umpires.
MLB responded to that statement, saying Hernandez was passed over partially due to “significant complaints over a multiyear period.”
“The crew chief position is a leadership position that is responsible for training less experienced umpires, controlling the game on the field, and defusing conflict. All decisions regarding Angel Hernandez have been made on the merits, including taking into account significant complaints over a multiyear period from Clubs and players alike on his overly confrontational on-field demeanor. We have provided Angel multiple opportunities to prove himself in an interim crew chief role, and will provide him with another opportunity this season. While we are making substantial efforts to diversify our umpiring staff, and placing diverse umpires in crew chief positions, we will not put an individual in the role on a permanent basis – irrespective of his race or national origin – unless he is fully qualified for the role.”
Hernandez, who was born in Cuba, has been an umpire since 1993. Despite his longevity, Hernandez has not been promoted to crew chief, though he has temporarily filled that role throughout his career. The last time Hernandez umped during the World Series was 2005.
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