We tend to only pay attention to player-umpire conversations when they’re contentious. When a call is blown or, at the very least, the player thinks a call is blown, and the parties get to shouting at one another. Last night, however, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo had a conversation with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez that was pretty sweet as far as these things go.
Rizzo had assumed a ball four earlier in the game and started to head toward first base. It was called a strike, however, and it was one of those situations where an umpire could have, if he wanted to, assumed that Rizzo was showing him up or whatever it is that umpires get cranky about in those instances. When Rizzo came up later in the game he started to apologize to Hernandez for that, but Hernandez wasn’t having any of it:
Hernandez tells Rizzo that he totally understood, that Rizzo was just in the heat of competition and such things happen. He said, speaking for his umpiring crew, that Rizzo was “awesome with us.”
Hernandez blew a call at home plate last night and, at many points in his career has caused players, managers and fans to tear their hair out because, well, he has blown some other calls as well. It’s good to see, however, that for whatever faults he has an ump, holding grudges and perceiving slights and disrespect on the part of players is not one of them. In that respect he seems pretty chill. Far more chill than a lot of older umps who seem to look for signs of disrespect at every turn.