Umpire Ángel Hernández Ordered to Undergo Psych Evaluation as Part of Racial Discrimination Suit Against MLB

The ongoing legal battle between Ángel Hernández and Major League Baseball took another turn Monday when it was ruled that the umpire would have to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and sit for additional questioning. According to Ryan Boysen of Law 360, a New York federal judge deemed the measures necessary in light of the $9 million emotional distress claim being sought.

Hernández, who is Cuban, claimed in the suit he filed against MLB in 2017 that he and other minority umpires are frequently bypassed for promotions and coveted playoff games despite solid job performance. He also claimed that Joe Torre, MLB’s chief baseball officer, holds a grudge against him for calls he made against the Yankees when Torre was the team’s manager.

MLB had requested an eight-hour independent psychiatric exam and four hours of additional testimony, measures Hernández understandably felt were excessive. But because Hernández finally attached a dollar figure to what had previously been an undefined distress claim, and because of the size of that claim, U.S. Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein ruled in favor of MLB

This is the second big blow to Hernández’s case against the league, with the first coming last month when U.S. District Judge Paul Oetken ruled that the umpire couldn’t sue for discrimination in both Ohio and New York. Not only was the Ohio claim tossed out, but the judge then denied a request to keep MLB from accessing records of correspondence between Hernández and the umpire’s union.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t have enough context for this matter in particular or for the broader legal precedents to speak too intelligently about the case. What I can say, however, is that I can’t automatically dismiss Hernández’s claims of racial discrimination on the simple basis that it’s an everyday fact of life in these United States. Having seen Hernández at work, however, I’m not sure “solid job performance” is the best argument to make.

If the judge wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible, maybe he should have just ordered an eye exam.

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