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Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell on Angel Hernandez retirement, 'good relationship'

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell didn’t go as far as Yankees manager Aaron Boone in defending retiring umpire Angel Hernandez against the sometimes vicious criticism and piling on the controversial ump has been subjected to, especially in more recent years.

But Bell’s response to this week’s news of Hernandez’s retirement, effective immediately, was similar in measured tone and perspective to Boone’s.

“I always had really respectful interactions with Angel,” Bell said. “Personally I’ve had a good relationship with him.

Controversial umpire Angel Hernandez retired, effective immediately, drawing many reactions from MLB, including criticism. Reds manager David Bell said,  “I always had really respectful interactions with Angel.”
Controversial umpire Angel Hernandez retired, effective immediately, drawing many reactions from MLB, including criticism. Reds manager David Bell said, “I always had really respectful interactions with Angel.”

“That’s a long career in anything. Hopefully, he feels good about his career. It’s a long time to be successful at one thing.”

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Both Bell and Boone — a former Reds All-Star infielder — broke into the majors as players in the 1990s after Hernandez’s 33-year big-league career as an umpire began.

As umpires came under greater scrutiny from MLB in the last 20 years, and as strike zone technology more recently became available during the social media age, Hernandez became a lightning rod for players and fans alike for bad calls that often went viral. He became a target for some of his more conspicuous ejections as well.

“I think he’s wrongly been a poster child (and) can be a punching bag of officiating,’’ Boone said Tuesday, saying the treatment of Hernandez has “sometimes been unfair and over the top.”

Bell and Boone both know something about being criticized as managers.

“I have not thought about that specific to umpires,” said Bell — whose major league baseball roots, like Boone’s, run three generations deep.

"But I’ve thought a lot about what we do, performing on the field, on TV, in the public eye every night, playing a baseball game,” Bell said. “It kind of comes with the territory, at least as a player, a coach or a manager.

“I know lines can be crossed, so I’m not really talking about that,” he added. “But talking about the normal, typical stuff, I’ve always felt gratitude that people care about what we do. The fact that people are passionate and care about the game is going to bring a lot of emotion. I’ve always thought that that was a positive.

“And we’re all human. We can have our feelings hurt, for sure,” he said. “But in the big picture, to me, it’s a good thing that people care enough to have opinions.”

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati Reds' David Bell respectful of Angel Hernandez' long career