Controversial MLB referee Angel Hernandez resigns immediately

The most controversial umpire in baseball is ending his profession. Angel Hernandez, who has been criticized by many in the game for many years, will retire.

According to a baseball source, MLB first approached Hernandez a couple of possible retirement earlier this season. Criticism grew louder and Hernandez was able to move on. He hasn't refereed a game since May 9, because the two sides reached a financial agreement.

“He was NOT forced to resign,” Hernandez's attorney Kevin Murphy said via text message. His departure is anticipated to be immediate.

Hernandez refereed his first MLB game in 1991. Over the past decade, he has courted controversy. From his large and inconsistent strike zone to his quick dismissals to his unsuccessful lawsuit against MLB for discrimination in 2017, he has made headlines in a career where most prefer to remain out of the highlight.

USA today announced his resignation for the primary timeShortly after the news broke Monday night, MLB released a press release from Hernandez confirming his retirement.

“Since my first major league game in 1991, I have had the very positive experience of realizing my childhood dream of working as a major league umpire,” the statement said. “There is nothing better than doing a job that you enjoy. I have greatly appreciated the camaraderie of my colleagues and the friendships I have made over time, including those of our locker room staff in different cities.”

“I decided that I wanted to spend more time with my family. Needless to say, there have been many positive changes since I entered the sport of baseball. This includes the expansion and promotion of minorities. I am proud to have been able to play an active role in this goal as a Major League umpire.”

Aside from what Hernandez said in his statement, it’s unclear what prompted his decision, but it surely is feasible that the vitriol directed at him played a job.

“What hurts him most,” Murphy said in a recent profile, “is the pain his two daughters and his wife go through knowing that (the criticism) is so incredibly unjustified.”

One of the explanations the league turned to Hernandez was the constant distraction he caused. Players within the gaming industry have long been calling for Hernandez to depart the industry.

“Every year. It's the same story,” Bryce Harper said last season. “Same thing.”

“He needs to find another job,” Ian Kinsler said in 2017.

“I don’t understand why he makes these plays,” CC Sabathia said in 2018.

Even MLB criticized Hernandez, although most of that criticism got here through court filings, saying his decision-making and handling of conflict prevented him from being promoted to full-time crew chief.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred alluded to the umpires' retirement process while talking to reporters at MLB's owners' meetings last week, but didn’t mention Hernandez directly.

“Managing referees is … a physically demanding job,” Manfred said. “It goes beyond just evaluation, training and discipline. It also involves things like their career path, how long they should be on the job. And that also impacts things like your retirement plan.”

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