MLB assigned one of the worst umpires in the history of sports to call balls and strikes behind the plate at the World Baseball Classic. In the bottom of the ninth inning with the already dominant Craig Kimbrel on the mound, Hernandez called a slider that was a foot off the plate and a foot below the strike zone a strike.
Pinch hitting for the Dominican Republic was Erick Aybar. He leaped out of the batters box in utter dismay, jumped around like a swarm of bees was upon him. The terrible call made a 1-1 count 1-2. It was only the top of the ninth in a tie game, so Hernandez can be given some slack for phoning it in, right? It isn't like Tim Donaghy ever needed to warm up for a season of corruption by calling preseason games, or did he? An ex-girlfriend of mine once told me that good cheaters practice, but she was faithful, wasn't she?
Aybar got his revenge on Hernandez when he hit the next offering from Kimbrel into Right Field. Did I mention there was a runner on 3B? Does that incriminate Hernandez even more? Erick Aybar's Gritty McClutchyness even got a response from the Jaba The Hut of the Anti-Stat Team Chemistry Cult, Lyle Spencer...
@herreraneftali Erick Aybar is quietly tough. Overshadowed by bigger names but a terrific player with great attitude.— Lyle Spencer (@LyleMSpencer) March 15, 2013
Aybar is a national hero tonight, and probably a Latin American hero if the cause of the Latin American ego is still hinged on beating the USA like it was back in the days where we wuz an empire.
Oh yeah, this is an Angels blog, so let's hope Aybar is this clutch throughout 2013 even though we all know there is no statistical evidence favoring the theory that a clutch hitter exists in the flesh.
A link to the BOX SCORE where you will see Fernando Rodney getting the Save (because Mike Butcher was not around?).