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Seven times umpire Ángel Hernández and the Milwaukee Brewers collided

News broke Monday that much-maligned umpire Ángel Hernández was retiring. The 30-year veteran of the craft has been associated with a number of strange and often incorrect calls during his tenure, making him one of the more scrutinized game officials in pro sports.

Although the examples aren't as high-stakes as others, the Milwaukee Brewers have seen their share of strangeness during Hernández games, sometimes in their favor and sometimes otherwise. Here are seven examples.

Wade Miley's 'balk' earlier this season

In the current events category, Wade Miley appeared to pick off Luis Campusano of San Diego on April 16, but Hernández assessed a balk to the veteran left-hander, prompting manager Pat Murphy to immediately spring from the dugout. The Brewers lost the game, 6-3, though Campusano didn't eventually score.

Kyle Schwarber ejected on national TV in 2022

This one favored the Brewers on April 24, 2022, but Hernández again became a national talking point after ejecting Kyle Schwarber of the Phillies on an ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcast.

Both teams were taking issue with his strike zone, but it was Schwarber who argued the most aggressively when he took a 3-2 pitch for a strike in the ninth inning against Josh Hader. The pitch looked outside, and Schwarber threw his bat and helmet to net the quick ejection. Hader's 1-2-3 inning helped preserve a 1-0 victory.

Even Hader seemed to know it was a break, based on his reaction.

Said Brewers catcher Omar Narváez: "Everybody saw the game and everybody saw that he was at least consistent for both teams. I’m not gonna say he was good because he wasn’t, but at least he was consistent for both teams. Sometimes you just gotta adjust and not leave the decision to the umpire."

Brewers manager Ned Yost gets tossed by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez during the second inning against the Cardinals Tuesday night at Miller Park on Aug. 9, 2005.
Brewers manager Ned Yost gets tossed by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez during the second inning against the Cardinals Tuesday night at Miller Park on Aug. 9, 2005.

Ned Yost gets fed up with the balks

Brewers manager Ned Yost was ejected in a 5-2 loss to St. Louis on Aug. 9, 2005, when Hernández assessed a balk to starter Doug Davis.

The Brewers led the league in pickoffs (19) at the time but had been called for five balks, including back-to-back nights.

"That’s, like, the third time they’ve called balks that weren’t balks," Yost said. "I’m getting sick of it.

"These guys work hard on their moves. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do. If they have to fill out reports, they’ll end up looking at the video (of the call) and maybe they’ll think twice before they call a frivolous balk.

"My complaint (to Hernández) was it wasn’t a damn balk. The first-base umpire (Chad Fairchild) didn’t even flinch. (He) had a better look at it. It wasn’t a balk."

May 22, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez ejects Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell (30) during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
May 22, 2018; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez ejects Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell (30) during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Craig Counsell's sprint saves a closer's ejection

On May 22, 2018, the Brewers secured a 1-0 win over Arizona, though it took some quick thinking by manager Craig Counsell to absorb an ejection that would keep closer Corey Knebel in the game.

The Brewers won for the ninth time in 12 games, though Counsell caught the tail end from his office after arguing with Hernández about balls and strikes. He sprinted out to the field when Knebel took issue with consecutive balls that appeared to be strikes earlier in the game, but this time led to a walk.

"The next pitch was down the middle," catcher Manny Piña said of ball four. "He called it a ball again. I said, 'Why you don't call that a strike?" He said, 'Stop yelling at me. If you keep doing it, I'm going to throw you out.' So, I was quiet. I wanted to finish the game."

Knebel walked toward the plate, openly questioning the call by Hernández. Realizing his closer was about to get tossed, Counsell ran from the dugout to get between Knebel and the umpire, drawing the ejection instead.

"I was happy with how fast I got out there for a 47-year-old," Counsell said. "(Third base coach) Eddie (Sedar) said he should have given me the green light more (as a player)."

The catching box becomes a thing in 1999

On May 26, 1999, the Braves beat the Brewers in 10 innings, 3-2, but not before some Hernández fireworks. Atlanta's Javy Lopez was warned about setting up outside of the catching box twice, a request that got Braves manager Bobby Cox ejected in the first inning (and prompted him to protest the game).

"That's what he threw me out for — telling him to get them inside the batter's box," Cox confirmed after the game. "If you're going to tell the catcher he has to be inside the box, then you better get the batters in their box, too."

MLB had decreed that the catcher's box insistence would be an emphasis that season, so this particular run-in didn't truly seem to be a poor application of the rules.

Chipper Jones, the third baseman for Atlanta in that game and a future Hall of Famer, once tweeted in 2013, "I will not watch a game, any game, officiated by Angel Hernandez! His incompetence amazes me and I'm tired of MLB doing squat about it! Nite"

A safe call that created a hiccup in 2011 home stretch

On Sept. 8, 2011, the Brewers were in the middle of a five-game losing streak that would prove to be the team's final lull before the National League Championship Series. TV replays showed that John Mayberry should have been ruled out on a play at first base in the sixth that would have kept the score 3-1 in favor of Philadelphia.

But when Hernández ruled safe, it allowed a fourth run to score, and Philadelphia added two more before the end of the inning. The Phillies went on to win, 7-2.

"I can't tell 100 percent (from the dugout)," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "I thought he was out. But that changes the game. It changes what we do. If we're only down two runs, we play that game a lot differently."

Hit by pitch? Not so fast, Atlanta

On Sept. 23, 2013, Brewers starter Marco Estrada worked seven innings in a 5-0 shutout of Atlanta, though Braves manager Fredi González was tossed by Hernández following an unusual call in the seventh.

With a runner on and two outs, Estrada hit Paul Janish with a pitch, but Hernández ruled that Janish leaned into the pitch and called him back to the plate. González protested vehemently before his ejection, and Janish eventually popped out.

"I said something, because he didn't move," said Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy. "He just stuck his knee out. You've got to make an effort. To me, it was no question. Ángel said it was a tough call to make; no one ever calls it. I said, 'Yeah, but that one was pretty obvious.'"

Other Brewers moments involving Ángel Hernández

  • In 2021, Counsell was ejected when Hernández overruled a call from home plate that Willy Adames had hit a two-run homer, with Hernández calling it foul. "In the end, I think they got that call right," Counsell said later. "When a guy that's 75 feet away from the call gets the call reversed, it's just a little suspicious. That was my argument but they got it right."

  • In 2014, the Brewers scored a 5-1 win in extras over the Mets. Brandon Kintzler escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 11th when Mets catcher Anthony Recker was called out on strikes and argued, earning an ejection.

  • Former Brewers pitcher CC Sabathia unleashed on Hernández when Sabathia was pitching for the Yankees in the 2018 playoffs (after elimination at the hands of the Red Sox in the divisional series), and apparently Sabathia still feels similarly based on his reaction to news of the retirement. "I don't think Angel Hernández should be umping playoff games," Sabathia said then. "He's absolutely terrible. He's terrible behind the plate today. He's terrible at first base. It's amazing that he's getting a job to umpire in these playoff games. … He shouldn't be anywhere near a playoff game."

This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Seven times Ángel Hernández and the Milwaukee Brewers collided