The Heartbreaking Divorce of Joe West and Angel Hernandez


Two suited MLB OFFICIALS sit behind a large desk.  In front of them are two folding chairs.  The large, epic chamber windows allow sunlight to pour in, giving the room a naturally decorative quality that makes up for the complete lack of additional furnishings.  

Joe West and Angel Hernandez enter the room the way they enter most rooms–Joe, his head held high in a false sense of celebrity, as if he’s expecting applause that will never come; and Angel, walking quietly behind Joe, waiting to be given incorrect guidance.

MLB Official:  Let’s keep this brief.  After 20 years of careful deliberation, we have decided that the best course of action is to split you guys up.


MLB Official:  Angel, you’ll be on Gerry Davis’ crew for the remainder of the season.  Joe, you’ll get Sam Holbrook to take Angel’s place.  I hope you understand, but this came straight from Torre’s office, so–

Hernandez:  I don’t understand.

MLB Official:  Well, its quite simple, actua–

West:  Don’t talk to him.  Talk to me.

MLB Official:  I’m… actually addressing both of you.

*Hernandez has pulled out a lineup card and seems to be nonchalantly checking it with a small pencil, ignoring what the Official is saying.  There is silence for a few seconds as MLB Official takes a second to absorb how weird this is, then continues, now addressing West instead of Hernandez.*

MLB Official:  You’ve both shown gross incompetence and unprofessional behavior for many years.

Hernandez:  Wait a second, are we… fired?

*Officials look at each other, then lean in for a whispered conversation*

MLB Official:  I thought you said we couldn’t fire them.

MLB Official 2:  I thought we’d get fined.

MLB Official:   … we are the ones who fine people.

MLB Official 2:  I also have a grave, irrational fear of change.

MLB Official:  Hmmm.

MLB Official 2:  I kind of feel sick just thinking about it.

MLB Official:  No, I know exactly what you mean.  Well, except for playoff expansion.

MLB Official 2:  Obviously.

*They nod and hug before turning back to West and Hernandez*

MLB Official:  Look, the truth is, we didn’t really want to do anything, but there have been a noticeable amount of complaints over the last two decades and to continue ignoring them would indicate some kind of indifference on the part of Major League Baseball.

*Silence again, until Hernandez jumps out of his seat, sending his chair skittering backwards to the floor.  He jerks his thumb in the air violently*

Hernandez:  YOU’RE OUTTA HERE!!

*MLB Official facepalms, shaking his head*

MLB Official:  No… no.  You can’t eject people from life, Angel.

*Hernandez continues wordlessly jerking his thumb, as if it is just a machine that for some reason isn’t working at the moment.  West looks up at him and motions for him to sit down.  Hernandez immediately picks up his chair and sits back down quietly.*

West:  The way I see it is, umpires are the sheriffs of baseball.  We’re out there, maintaining law and order, performing in showdowns when we need to, and basically being exactly the same as cowboys in the old west.  I mean, there’s really no differences between us and old timey lawmen at all.  And if the rest of the world doesn’t like seeing me on their televisions, they can turn them off.

*He leans forward suddenly and pounds a fist on the Official Desk of Major League Baseball*

West:  But just know that turning off a TV with me on it is the first step toward utter chaos.

*West leans back in his chair, then blows imaginary smoke off a pistol he has made with his hand before holstering it.  MLB Official hasn’t been paying attention, instead just noticing that both umpires are in their umpiring gear, which is wrinkled and covered in stains.*

MLB Official:  You guys… take those off from time to time, right?  To like… wash and stuff?

West:  Lawmen can’t take no breaks.

MLB Official:  …why are you now speaking with a cowboy accent.

West *Pulls out guitar from nowhere* Let me sing you guys a little song that I think will change your minds.  *Strums guitar, snapping two strings, but continues ‘playing’ anyway* Ooooooh, there’s a little game we play called life–

MLB Official:  This is one situation you can’t sing your way out of, Joe.  I’m sorry.  Its been decided.

West:  Bullshit.  I once sang my way out of a mugging.

*The phone on the desk rings.  MLB Official 2 picks it up, listens for a few moments, then nods at the other Official.*

MLB Official:  That was Torre’s office making sure we’ve gone through with this.  I’m sorry guys, but its over.  You’re not to speak to each other again.  There are two separate planes waiting outside to take you to your respective games tonight.

Hernandez:  You’ll live to regret this!

*He starts to jerk his thumb in the air again.*

MLB Official:  Just… stop.

*West shoves Hernandez out of the way.*

West:  Hey guys, just to show there’s no hard feelings, why don’t you take these free copies of “Blue Cowboy” and a schedule of my next appearances.

MLB Official:  We know your next appearances.  We’re the ones who scheduled them.

*West obliviously continues smiling and taps one of the CDs he’s put on the desk.*

West:  Track 4 is my personal favorite.  It chronicles the life of a mysterious, borderline obese, sexy umpire as he charms his way up the country music charts.  It’ll be your new favorite thing.  And that’s a Joe West promise.

*West points at them and winks, but then freezes in place as if end credits are about to start scrolling.  There is silence.  The MLB Officials shift uncomfortably.*

MLB Official:  You’re going to miss your flight.