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Ex-MLB manager Bobby Valentine discusses umpire Angel Hernandez’s legacy, gives tips on team’s winning formula

One of the more polarizing figures in major league baseball over the past three decades, Angel Hernandez, recently revealed his decision to retire. Hernandez spent the past three decades as a MLB umpire, stirring up some consternation an players along the way.

Fans have also taken aim at Hernandez over the years, and the news of his sudden retirement sparked a variety of reactions.

Former MLB player and manager Bobby Valentine joined OutKick’s “Hot Mic” show to discuss Hernandez’s decision to walk away from the game.

Bobby Valentine looks on before a baseball game

May 19, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Red manager Bobby Valentine prior to playing the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. (Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports)

Some argued that Hernandez’s calls during MLB games would frequently lack consistency.

“I managed a while ago and there wasn’t really the grading system. It seemed to be there were times when Angel was having one of those days, sometimes he was perfect I thought during a game, but of course we must’ve been winning those games,” Valentine responded when asked whether he believed the criticism Hernanzdez received was fair.

FORMER MLB UMPIRE ANGEL HERNANDEZ TOOK FINANCIAL SETTLEMENT TO RETIRE: REPORTS

“Angel was scrutinized, but I had the opportunity to go out with four Italian umpires… all who were on the same crew… when they were here in LA about a month ago, and I asked that. ‘Hey how about Angel? Do you guys get a lot of flack because of Angel’s situation?’ They went on to say that Angel is just one of those really good guys, the guy who would pick up the tab, the guy who would give to the charity that was needed, the guy to go out of his way to do good things. So the spotlight that’s been on him is probably unfair, just like all the spotlights that get on people because they get trendy if you will.”

“That being said, Angel had a bad day or two for sure,” Valentine admitted.

Bobby Valentine argues with Angel Hernandez

12 May 2001: Manager Bobby Valentine #2 of the New York Mets argues with Umpire Angel Hernandez regarding a questionable call during the game against the San Francisco Giants at Pac Bell Park in San Francisco, California. (Jeff Gross/Allsport)

Hernandez last worked as a big league umpire on May 9 during a game between the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Guardians. He filed a lawsuit against the MLB in 2017, but it was eventually thrown out by a district court judge.

Angel Hernandez behind plate

Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez works a game between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on August 06, 2023 in the Bronx borough of New York City. The Astros defeated the Yankees 9-7. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

“Starting with my first Major League game in 1991, I have had the very good experience of living out my childhood dream of umpiring in the major leagues,” said in a statement announcing his retirement. “There is nothing better than working at a profession that you enjoy. I treasured the camaraderie of my colleagues and the friendships I have made along the way, including our locker room attendants in all the various cities.

“I have decided that I want to spend more time with my family. Needless to say, there have been many positive changes in the game of baseball since I first entered the profession. This includes the expansion and promotion of minorities. I am proud that I was able to be an active participant in that goal while being a Major League umpire.”

Valentine finished his managerial career with 1,186 regular season wins. He also shared his thoughts on what it takes for a team to build a strong culture within the clubhouse and develop a winning formula. 

“There’s always the question… what comes first, the clubhouse culture or the team winning?” Valentine told “Hot Mic.” 

“When the team winning, the guys at the end of the bench can’t b—-h because everything’s going good and you’ll be sounding like it’s sour grapes. But when the team’s not winning, then it’s really easy for the guys who are down at the end of the bench to b—-h and once that happens then you have bad clubhouse culture. I think it’s something that comes from the result of the play on the field.”

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