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Dodgers’ Kiké Hernández makes error during in-game interview, but doesn’t think he was distracted

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Baseball fans have differing opinions on players being mic’d up for TV interviews while in the field. Some like the access and insight provided, and it’s an opportunity to see the players’ personalities. However, others worry that talking to the broadcast team while playing defense could be a significant distraction.

Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Kiké Hernández realized those concerns during Friday’s matchup with the New York Yankees on a play in the second inning. Hernández had a microphone and earpiece in while talking to Wayne Randazzo and Dontrelle Willis on the Apple TV+ broadcast.

Willis asked Hernández about the Dodgers being a close-knit ballclub when the Yankees’ Gleyber Torres hit a ground ball to him at third base.

“After this play,” Hernández responded while running to his left to field the ball. The ball took a hop, hitting Hernández on his bare right hand, then bouncing off his groin before he fielded the grounder and made the late throw to first base.

Torres reached base and Hernández was charged with an error.

Would Hernández have made the play if he wasn’t talking to the broadcast crew? Was he distracted by doing an interview while he was on the field during the game? Or was the veteran infielder crossed up by a bad hop that would’ve vexed any third baseman?

“Maybe a little bit,” Hernández acknowledged after the game when asked if the interview affected him. “But I think I let the ball eat me up. It had a weird hop.”

However, Hernández said the error wouldn’t make him reconsider whether or not to do in-game interviews.

“No, because we’re getting paid,” he said. “I like money.”

Players get paid a $10,000 stipend for wearing a two-way microphone for at least one inning during a regular-season game, according to The Associated Press. (That goes up to $15,000 during the postseason.)

The Dodgers won, 2–1, in 11 innings and Hernández batted 1-for-3 with a walk. Teoscar Hernández drove in the Dodgers’ two runs with an 11th-inning double off Ian Hamilton.

Hernández’s attention was likely divided by the interview, but he seemed to indicate that his focus was on the game when the interview continued.

“What was the previous question, before I made that error?” Hernández asked Willis.

“I don’t want to ask it again, because I don’t want you to boot the ball again, to be honest with you,” Willis responded. “I’ll take that E for you, big dog.”

Torres did not score, by the way, though he advanced to third base on a Trent Grisham single before Dodgers starter Yoshinobu Yamamoto struck out Jose Trevino.

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