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Showing most liked content since 04/28/2017 in all areas

  1. 16 likes
    As many of you get ready to head out for a three-day weekend of tournament baseball and eating 'burgers, 'dogs and Bar-B-Q, remember that a price has been paid for you to have this beautiful weekend. Two weekends ago my parents drove 5 1/2 hours from their home to my brother's home. They went there even though no one would be there: my brother was deployed in the middle east and his two children were with their mom, my brother's ex-wife, at her home. They did not go there to see anyone. Rather, they went to clean his house. They went to make it spotless: to put fresh sheets on the beds in all four bedrooms, fresh food in the refrigerator, new bars of soap in the soap dishes in the showers, and to mow the lawn. See, my brother was letting some of his brothers, and their families, use his house...so they wouldn't incur any hotel expenses...so they could attend the memorial service of their fallen brother who was killed in combat three weeks ago. My parents were giving up their weekend to make sure that these grieving sailors and their families would have a clean, spotless place to stay. A safe place out of the public's eye where they could grieve. This past Tuesday my day began the worst way possible. My phone rang at 5:00 a.m. It was my mom. I knew my mom wasn't calling that early to tell me good news. All she said was that my brother had been seriously wounded in combat on Tuesday night; he was shot twice. Luckily for us, the news got better as the week went on. Later on Tuesday we found out his injuries were not life-threatening. After two surgeries, the neurosurgeon today opined that the paralysis in his arm should go away over the next "few months". He even cleared him to return to the States this weekend and begin his rehab at home instead of in Germany or at Walter Reed. It is by the Grace of God...just a few inches to the left and it would have been a different outcome...that I will not be experiencing the worst Memorial Day weekend of my life. Instead, my parents...who often go to Arlington this weekend to visit my brother's fallen brothers...will instead meet my brother as he comes off a plane. And they'll be able to hug him. Soon, I'll be able to hug him and tell him he's my American hero. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many families. Too many parents, children, brothers and grandparents will be reminded this weekend that they cannot hug their loved one. That their loved one came home in a flag-draped coffin. A price has been paid for this weekend. It has not been paid by me. It has been paid for by the thousands who lay in eternal rest in Arlington and other national cemeteries. It has been paid for by my brother and thousands of other "wounded warriors" who have the one medal that no loved one ever wanted them to receive: a purple heart. It is paid for by the loved ones who must go on...often as single moms and fatherless kids...without their soldier, sailor or marine. Please remember that price, and remember our soldiers, sailors and marines, when you are enjoying America's greatest pastime this weekend.
  2. 13 likes
    Here are my suggestions for having quicker games (when you are the plate umpire): (1) Stock up on your baseballs between innings. At the time of the first pitch of the game, I have 6 baseballs (3 in each ball bag). I make sure I start each half inning with 6 baseballs. If I run low during in an inning, I look at the home dugout and say, "I need (insert number) baseballs, please." I then make sure that someone runs out to me with the baseballs during a natural break in the game. (2) Stand on the foul line a few feet up from the dirt circle between innings. Stand in front of the dugout of the team that is coming to bat. Except for the first inning (or when there is a new pitcher), quietly tell the catcher after the pitcher has thrown 3 warm-ups, "he has two more, (insert catcher's name)." After the pitcher throws his fourth warm-up, hold up your right hand above your head while giving the "number 1" signal, and look at the pitcher and say, "last one!" Then, turn to the on-deck batter and say "one more!". Usually when I do this, the batter immediately removes the weight from the bat and starts strolling toward the plate...even before the catcher has thrown it down to second base. Saying "one more!" usually causes the third base coach to start moving toward his coaching box, too. (3) If someone doesn't come out to warm-up the pitcher, sternly say to the coach, "coach, I need someone to warm-up the pitcher or your pitcher is not going to get any warm-ups this half-inning." Usually the coach turns to the kid who is supposed to take care of this and says, "Johnny, pay attention. Go warm up Mike!", or an assistant coach trots out. (4) Have a short-hand system for quickly notating substitutions. [All substitutes are required to be listed on the line-up card. So, if the head coach comes up to me and says, "I have number 14 for number 22 in the ninth hole,"...and this is his first substitution of the game...I go to the bottom of my line-up card (where the substitutes are listed) and I put an "A" next to number 14. Then, I go up to the ninth spot in the line-up and write the "A" again. I also make a "22" through the starter's number. If the starter re-enters later, I just strike through the "A" and write a "Re" next to the "A". For the second substitute, I write a "B", etc. However you do it, having a short-hand system for substitutions will shorten your game.] (5) We always say, "don't signal or verbalize obvious foul balls". (For instance, if the batter hits a rocket straight back to the backstop behind home plate, we shouldn't throw our hands up and yell, "foul!".) I suggest that you take this a step further: don't watch obvious foul balls! If a batter hits a towering fly ball that is going to land in the softball field behind the first base dugout and well out-of-play...don't stand there and watch it. I guarantee you that if you watch me (and most, if not all, pro and college umpires), F1 will have a new ball before the foul ball even lands. This can literally knock 5-10 minutes off of your game time. (6) If your state uses the FED batter's box rule (mine doesn't) enforce it. Even in my state, I will tell a batter, "let's go" if he is strolling between pitches. (7) Call strikes. I know that there are some games we all have (especially in high school) where neither team has an F1 who can throw it in the ocean standing knee deep at high tide...much less throw it in the strike zone. But, if you want quick(er) games, you must enter each game with the mentality that every pitch is a strike until it proves to you that it is not a strike. (8) Unless it absolutely gets buried in dirt, don't brush the plate off except when there is a natural break in the game (for instance, between batters.). The plate doesn't move. If you've been umpiring for more than a few games, you know where the corners are located. (9) Break up mound visits in a timely manner. Here is what drives me crazy: after deciding that it is time to go to the mound to break up the defensive conference, some umpires take an eternity to get to the mound. I watch some guys, when they start walking to the mound, walk up the first base foul line to the 45-foot line. Then they turn left and actually walk toward the mound, but they go to the back of the mound. Then, they walk up the back of the mound. It is like they are afraid to get to the mound; they take the most non-direct route possible while strolling. When a defensive conference occurs, I immediately note it on my line-up card. By the time I put away the card, it is just about time to break up the visit. I walk directly and with purpose in a straight line from the plate to the mound. Once I am sure that the coach and players (other than F1) are leaving the mound, I jog back to the plate area. As i am jogging back, I glance over my shoulder to make sure that the coach and/or catcher isn't trying to return to the mound. (10) Hustle. When you hustle, it will encourage others to hustle. If you are "popping out" from behind the plate and trailing the batter-runner on grounds balls (with no runners on base), or having a crisp first-to-third rotation...it encourages the game participants. This won't work for all teams, but it will work for many. This stuff works. I have the game times to prove it.
  3. 10 likes
    We haven't had one of these threads in a while: (1) Poster presents a scenario and asks for advice. (2) Members of this message board provide near unanimous advice...even if said/advice went above and beyond simply answering the specific question posed in the OP. (3) Original Poster doesn't like the unanimous advice so he (a) decides everyone else is wrong, (b) proceeds to tell everyone else they're wrong, argue with everyone else and/or belittle those who have offered advice suggesting he make a change, and (c) proceeds to double-down by rationalizing why his way is correct OR demands that we stop addressing the specific issue altogether. All of you (the posters who "replied" in this thread) have shown a lot more patience than would have been shown such an original poster had this occurred on one of the umpire message boards that existed in the early days of the internet. (McGriff's anyone?) VolUmp, many posters have tried to give you sound advice. When I read your original post (before I had read even a single reply), I thought to myself, "why did he tell the coach that the runner was safe?" And, I'm an umpire with a lot of experience. Imagine most coaches' reactions. If you don't want to take the advice that has been given...that is your right. This is America after all. Please continue to answer the "Did he not make it" (or variations thereof) question any way you want. But please promise that when you have that huge sh!thouse (and you will...its only a matter of time), where they're burning down the dugout, that you will post the YouTube video on this site so we can all watch.
  4. 10 likes
    When I saw the thread title, my first thought was "What did the GHSA do this time?"
  5. 10 likes
    Tonight I had the most ridiculous balk I'd ever had in my life. F1 let's just say - thought very highly of himself. He strutted on and off the field. Gave any number of obnoxious facial expressions. When he struck out a batter he brushed off his shoulder. He's roll his eyes at my partner if he disagreed with a pitch call. Just an obnoxious prick. Through the game F1 kept blowing bubbles with his gum. Now we have runners on 2nd & 3rd. F1 (a righty) in the set position comes set and starts dicking around with the runners turning his head back and forth and giving them a wise-ass smile. Then while staring down R3 he starts blowing a bubble with his gum and then spits it out accidentally. The dufus then tries to catch his gum. And I come up from the C position with one of the biggest balk calls I think I'd ever done and forcibly pointed R3 home then R2 to 3rd. Karma...
  6. 9 likes
    Umpiring with my son, 2001-last night
  7. 8 likes
    Not sure the phrase "machine pitch"and "umpire" should be in the same sentence.
  8. 8 likes
    Carl was my brother Jimmy's best friend in high school, sort of a protective big brother to Jimmy, who was a year younger. Carl was the captain of the football team his senior year. An offensive lineman and linebacker, Carl was a natural born leader, and my brother Jimmy desperately wanted to be as good and more like Carl, in spite of Jimmy's smaller size. Carl was his idol in many ways. Despite the times (Carl graduated in '67), he volunteered to enlist in the Marine Corps, and of course was sent to Vietnam. May 19, 1968 was a fateful and terrible day. When Jimmy got the awful news, he would go to Carl's parents house nearly every day after school, asking "Is Carl home yet?" Carl was buried in our local cemetery. I don't remember much of the events of those days (I was only 10 years old), but I recall that Carl's death seemed to make Jimmy a more somber person. Just a few weeks' later, Jimmy would graduate high school, and was planning to head to a local college to being working on a degree. A little more than two months after graduation, and exactly three months to the day that Carl was killed, we lost Jimmy when his motorcycle was hit head on by a drunk driver. Those events I remember as though they were yesterday, even after all these years. On the day we buried Jimmy, my Mother was inconsolable. She walked away from the grave site service, and moved along the gravel road just beyond a short hedge, and stopped to look at the first gravestone that was there. She called out to my Father, who went to her side. There they stood, not believing what they were seeing. It was Carl's grave. Jimmy's grave was located just to the opposite side of the hedge; they were buried head-to-head; friends for eternity. This Memorial day, let us remember the real meaning of the day. Take just a moment, if you would, before the barbecue grills are lit, before the first beer is opened, and remember those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Here's to you, Carl. Semper Fi. Never forgotten.
  9. 8 likes
    I feel bad for all you guys who actually miss calls. I can't imagine what that's like.
  10. 7 likes
    I know that some around here are reluctant to "judge," and I get why. But for me, this reluctance is "old school" and about something other than officiating. I can respect an official's competence, skill, and achievement, and still say (based on video) that he missed a call — hell, even he might watch it and say the same thing. Replay gives us a different angle and time to think and discuss, so it's not really a tool for "judging" an official (in any sport). If we watch video and think that a judgment call is missed, the question becomes: what could we have done differently in the same spot to get it right? That could involve mechanics: if we did something mechanically wrong, we can fix that and be in a better position next time to do it right. Or the mechanics might be great, and it was a timing issue. Also fixable. Or, we might have just made a bad call. And video is useful here too: the human brain is a pattern recognition engine, and it gets better the more patterns are uploaded. That's why we rely so heavily on "experience" to move up: we need to have seen a lot of different plays, including goofy ones, so we know how to rule when we see it again. When we watch a lot of training tapes, we benefit from the experience of other officials, including many who are better than we are. We can see what their judgment was and why they were right (as they usually are) or wrong (as everyone sometimes is). The goal is not self-aggrandizement, but self-improvement, and the guy who made the call usually aims for that as much as we do. "You can't judge me, you weren't there" is over. I'm not judging him, I'm trying to learn from his call (which in this thread, I think, was wrong). Here endeth the lesson.
  11. 7 likes
    At the Mid-American Umpire Clinic (shameless plug) we always say you have to deal with coaches and players like you would your child. So to put this in some perspective... Let's say your child has a fit and throws things (could be crayons, legos, or broccoli) everywhere. Even the "express your feelings" parents among us are going to address this situation and your child will face some sort of consequence. Now, the question is, are you going to clean up the mess your child made? If you answer no, then you should also answer no to, "Are you going to clean off the plate?" when the head coach has a fit. And if you answer yes to either, I have no desire to umpire with you...just being honest.
  12. 7 likes
    Skip covers the plate = Nope, I'm not cleaning it. Skip kicks out a foul line = Nope, I'm not rechalking it. Skip throws a base = Nope, I'm not putting it back in the ground. Skip throws SH*# out of the dugout = Nope, I'm not picking any of it up...but we ain't starting again until it's off the field.
  13. 7 likes
    We have a job to do. We should ignore obnoxious fans until we can't: when they start to become a distraction and to impair the performance of our duties, then they lose the privilege of shouting their mind. Ask game administration to warn, then eject. One of the reasons I stopped working youth baseball was my diminishing tolerance for asshattery from the stands.
  14. 6 likes
    "Ball, strike, fair, foul, safe, out are words reserved for me. Knock it off! You back to 1B."
  15. 6 likes
    Says a coach... Kids at that age are very impressionable. If they see Daddy go out and go batSH*# crazy on an umpire, kick dirt, throw stuff, and/or cover the plate and only get ejected...it lets kids know that behavior is acceptable (with minimal consequences). Forfeit the game, send the team home with a loss, and the message is: there is a professional way to disagree with a person in authority, maintain your composure or suffer major consequences. Maybe a little more of that and a few less participation trophies and we wouldn't have people standing in the middle of the interstate blocking traffic
  16. 6 likes
    Didn't see in the OP where he sang out of tune.
  17. 6 likes
    I'm going to go out on a limb here................and say.............the pads are definitely Nike.
  18. 6 likes
    My thoughts (without having actually seen the brawl) (1) In my state (SC), if there was a true "bench clearing brawl" (where all the players run to the fight from either the dugout or their position on the field)...the game is over. Everyone (except peace making coaches) are ejected. If you (the umpire) did not so eject and then terminate such a game, you will not be umpiring another high school game anytime soon. (2) Both teams would be banned from the post-season. (SC consistently does this every single time a brawl breaks out...no matter the sport. This has happened in football several times over the last 20 years...including 3-4 years ago when arguably the best team in the state (they were nationally ranked in USA Today) was banned from the post-season for having a post-game brawl.)
  19. 6 likes
    Another month has come and gone and that means it is time once again to name our Member of the Month. April's winner is @Richvee. Rich has been a valued member for nearly 6 years. His contributions to the site are invaluable and help make Umpire-Empire the site I envisioned it to be. Our membership as a whole has expressed their appreciation by making him among the top all time in liked posts. Thanks for all you do Rich and congratulations!
  20. 6 likes
    The batter's box would be a bit crowded.
  21. 6 likes
    Max, With all due respect, Smitty is not changing their name. I've said it before. The name Smitty came from an actual person's nickname that started the company. His last name was Smith. Who else knows a guy named Smith they nicknamed Smitty? I do. He's a friend in high school who's now a doctor. I will add that Smitty has worked very hard to improve the quality of products since their inception about 9 years ago or so. Everyone knows that. Is everything perfect? Of course not. If you look at our website reviews, there are many products with many great reviews and several with some not-so-good. Each year, the positives go up and negatives go down (the new poly spandex and poly wool pants are evidence of better products in the marketplace as well as their commitment to it). The ideal brand name? Probably not. Smitty has also added many products compared to their competitors in the market. For us, I count we have 164 total Smitty products. I know how much work and investment that amounts to. Besides, they have nearly 20 hard-working staff in Canton, Ohio. Plus they are owned by a retired NBA basketball official. I estimate we, alone, have over 50,000 customers who wear and/or use Smitty products. I know you mean well. Feel free to suggest actual golf pants for use on the bases if that helps anyone, but I think your comments are off-base and not a reflection of the overwhelming majority of umpires out there.
  22. 5 likes
    If the 'use of technology' is a violation of GSHA policy, then discipline the officials. In no way should the outcome of the game be reversed because of a violation of policy. Would you change the outcome of a game because an official wasn't wearing the correct patch or hat?
  23. 5 likes
    Surgeon, looking glum, approaches his patient's wife in the waiting room. Wife: "Did he not make it?" Surgeon: "He made it." Wife: "Oh thank God, Thank you doctor. You saved his life!" Surgeon: "Well, he died on the table, but he made it to the OR."
  24. 5 likes
    You make a volump out of you and me?
  25. 5 likes
    Solved: You get the ejected manager to clean the plate off the next time you see him. http://mediadownloads.mlb.com/mlbam/mp4/2017/05/23/1417374683/1495498063094/asset_1200K.mp4
  26. 5 likes
    OK, thanks to you guys that provided some information / experiences with the Diamond mask. @MadMax - invaluable overview of the BL and iX3. @BobUmp, @Scotty_Ump @Richvee, @Thunderheadsand all others that chimed in, thanks so much. I have just placed an order for the iX3 mask and TW pads from Ump-attire.com . I will follow up once I have received and tried it out. @Umpire in Chief, your site is clearly the best; glad to be back; this sort of referral and input of experience alone makes the site so very worthwhile. Thanks!
  27. 5 likes
    I'll say this. I agree call what you see. However, if you have a play like the OP, and you have a runner making a great swim move or hook slide to the back of the bag, indeed, call what you see.....and come up BIG with the call... SAFE...MISSED THE TAG!! or something similar. Had a game this week and my neophyte BU made a safe call on a pick off at1B. Kid did a great swim move, and got back in, even though the throw beat him. He got a little crap from the OHC. In our post game, he told me he was 100% sure there was no tag, the swim move was made perfect. I complemented him on calling what he saw, but added, if he came up big on the call, he may have prevented the confrontation with the OHC.
  28. 5 likes
    If it's bothering you, you can bet it was bothering others. People like this ruin other fans' enjoyment of the game and distract players. In an instance where someone is over the top, there's no shame in asking the game admin. or the head coach of the home team to address the fan directly. And if he keeps up, ask them to remove him from the facility.
  29. 5 likes
    How about these? They're black, so you'd have the standard look. Plenty of ventilation. They're not 'baseball specific', but they are certainly multi-functional. They're comfortable, and they look decent.
  30. 5 likes
    Had the hidden ball trick ran to almost perfection last night in a high school game in MN. BR doubles to RCF and second baseman held onto ball in his glove. I was moving over into 'C", and seeing it coming, checked the pitcher and he was on top of the tabletop portion of the mound without the ball. Sure enough, runner begins taking a lead and second baseman charges over to make the tag in time. I ruled the ball dead, called the balk, and gave runner third. DC came out and argued his pitcher was not on the rubber and he saw the play ran on a clip in a minor league game. I said, "Yup, I saw that one too. Problem is that's OBR, we're playing FED rules." I further explained in FED the pitcher can't be in the vicinity of the rubber (within 5 feet I believe) on the dirt portion of the mound. He took it pretty well, ha.
  31. 5 likes
    I'm sorry but I've never regretted an ejection for malicious contact...... plus I have no interest in who wins or loses......I just want the game to be well and fairly officiated....
  32. 5 likes
    Oh, sure. And risk THIS?!?
  33. 5 likes
    Runners intentionally crashing fielders with or without the ball is illegal by rule at every amateur level and, now, in most instances in pro ball as well. Why would you coach a player to break the rules? Youth umpires will often not have much experience with this kind of play. If you want to help, simply ask the question: "Does that count as OBS, because the fielder blocked the runner off the base without the ball?" If he says no, let it go. The ruling might not go your way, but I'd bet the young umpire will learn something from the conversation.
  34. 5 likes
    happened just a couple weeks ago .... both teams good, both coaches I know well and they know me ...... visiting team coach goes out to third base for the top of the 2nd and says ...that first runner that scored was a strike out Jeff ....... and he looked away and kept walking ....I said (insert coaches name here [which I used]) .... "you're absolutely correct" ......... he stopped, thought about it and said .... thank you, I appreciate that!
  35. 5 likes
    Some of you may recall last year I ran the Tough Mudder. I have coworkers who run it regularly and every year I'd say, "Yeah, I want to do that one day." Well about this time last year they were registering and as I started my 'maybe next year' routine they stood over me at my desk and essentially shamed me into registering right then and there. And now I'm so glad they did I loved it and now they've created a monster. For 2017 I've already registered for 4 Obstacle Course Races including returning to the Tough Mudder and A Spartan Sprint. For those who aren't aware the Spartan series of OCR is the real deal. While most others are for the experience and just a good ol time. The Spartan series is both timed and carries a penalty for failing an obstacle. So what's the penalty??? 30 Burpees - If you don't know what a burpee is Google it and try just doing 10. It will kick your A$$. Now get this. One of the guys I work with is a Spartan Elite racer and after we both completed our first Tough Mudder he convinced me, "If you can do the Tough Mudder, you can do Spartan." So I registered for the Spartan Sprint (Their 3-5 mile event with 20-23 obstacles) he said he'd run it with me, but the next year (2018) I have to do a Trifecta with him too - and stupid me agreed. The Spartan Trifecta is doing 3 of their race series in 1 year : The Sprint - 3-5 miles 20-23 obstacles The Super - 8-10 miles 24-29 obstacles The Beast - 12-14 miles 30-35 obstacles Well I asked him if he'd registered yet as I got an email saying the Sprint I registered for is now 95% full. That's when he announced to everybody his wife is expecting and due within a week of that race. So, I let him off the hook, but I'm still on the hook for the Trifecta. So I'll be running the Sprint solo this year. So Saturday May 5th is my first race of the year and it will be special. It's not a terribly difficult course- it's actually the easiest I will do this year, but my son will be running it with me so I'm really excited about that. I look forward to that and besides it's local and supports my county's FOP so its for a good cause.
  36. 5 likes
    In my opinion, intentionally making a false call is not the way to make your point and teach a kid a lesson. In some fashion, tell him to shape up, eject him, whatever might be appropriate in the circumstances, but don't deliberately violate the integrity (and rules) of the game. That disrespects the game. Luck, weather, sun, a bad call (like the first strike call in the OP), etc., are all incidentals; the second strike call in the OP was not. I'm not sure there is a good way to approach an umpire with such a mindset.
  37. 5 likes
  38. 4 likes
    I use TW and wilson memory foam. The wilson pads are much softer but i think TW handles shots better.
  39. 4 likes
    Latest update, adding to the (new) trend: Ordered a ZRO-G mask at $49 for one of my "junior" umpires who was attempting to call balls and strikes while wearing a Rawlings PWMX-LP and avoid neck strain. Also tacked onto the order a set of simple black mask pads. Order placed on Wednesday... ... box arrived Saturday afternoon. The mask is just simply stunning. I think it's the best value in masks on the market. The stock micro-mesh pads won't win awards, but are quite lofty, alot like the All-Star LUC pads. The additional set of mask pads I got are called Air-Chamber pads, in leatherette, and are quite comfortable and lofty too. They arrived in their own kit bag (like a shaving kit), and for being $20, will be a marked improvement over Diamond's common stock pads.
  40. 4 likes
    So I had a 9u game that turned out to be one probably one of the best games I've ever worked. Not because of the level of play-these guys were 9 year olds. But rather because of the attitude of the coaches, parents, and players. First taste of it was at the plate meeting. The HCs were good friends, and you could tell that this was truly a friendly game. As my partner discussed ground rules (I was BU), the coaches first asked him to have a big strike zone to promote the kids swinging the bat. They didn't want a walk-a-thon. Also, they asked us if we saw something in the field, to "coach the kids up". Holy SH*#!!?? coaches that want input from the umpires about their kids' play?? So being the BU, I knew I was going to have a SH*#-ton of balks, but I said if it's not egregious, then I'm not calling it. So as the game went along, both teams were putting in a new pitcher every inning. So each half inning, I would walk over to the dugout, and would talk to the pitcher AND the coach. I made it a point to compliment them on what they did right, then pointed out things they should work on. Only told them 1 or 2 things, and only the obvious ones, not stopping at the set position, glove position in the set, shoulder turns, etc. One kid after I talked to him asked me about how he was supposed to step when he went for a pickoff. Mind-Blown!!!!! Without any hesitation, I found myself explaining to this bright eyed, curious child what a balk meant, but I laid it out for him in a way that he could understand. He listened, and then explained to me what he heard me say, as if to confirm that he had heard the right thing, which he had. After that conversation was over, I went back to the "A" position. Didn't realize that everyone was waiting on me. After the game was over, my partner and I were heading off the field, and the boy who I had a conversation with ran up to me and said "my Mom wants to talk to you". So I waited for her to come over, and when she did, she reached out and began to hug me. Not what I expected. After a short embrace, she thanked me for talking to her son. Apparently he had gone over to her after that inning and had cheerfully, and with so much delight and enthusiasm, relayed the contents of our conversation.
  41. 4 likes
    None. Since you posed your question this way, I'm hanging it up. Stupid computers...
  42. 4 likes
    Under those circumstances, I wouldn't either. Or maybe I would drag my foot right down the middle to form a reverse Mohawk sort of thing, and leave the implication that the zone just got tightened up a bit.
  43. 4 likes
    I have a critique for you, Radie... HOW DARE YOU buy the right gear the first time? Don't you know how this works? You are supposed to try and go cheap at first, but still spend around $200-$300. Then, a few months later, you realize it's not good enough. THEN you spend several hundred more to get all the stuff you have now! You haven't pissed away enough of your hard earned dollars yet to earn the right to buy gear of that high quality. Now send that stuff back and do it right! Who do you think you are, anyway?
  44. 4 likes
    It's a Nike Titanium, one of the earlier "pure" ones. How can you (well, I, in this case) tell? It is the iconic planform. Arrowhead < > earguards. Curved chin guard with next-to-nothing forward rake on it; it is nearly straight down. Blunt-cut, solid-wire construction (in this case, titanium). Hollow steel has to be plugged and/or crimped. Uniform wire gauge used throughout (less earguard struts). The latest renditions on the planform have varying gauges. Gentle curve on the 90° bend at the upper corner of the earguard. Hollow steel will have a crimp. Lesser-quality shops will aggressively wrench that corner hard. The welds are so gorgeous, they're practically invisible. Latest renditions have sloppier welds as the shop is trying to meet quantity requests by a deadline (that's my professional guess). That you bought it in what amounts to be a glorified sports equipment pawn shop shouldn't besmirch what this mask is. Buying it in Oregon is akin to buying a box of cigars in Miami and questioning whether they are Cubans or not. If the wrapper on the cigar says "Made in Havana", it probably was. Now, I understand the skepticism. It seems that over the past 2-3 years, with UnderArmour ramping up its involvement in baseball, the other Big Brands are starting to get nervous. There has been such a mudslinging campaign against titanium, undeservedly, that Nike has likely scaled back its requests to the Asian (it may be China, it may be Taiwan, it may be Japan... don't exactly know) fabricator who holds that planform. With reduced work orders, that fabricator has likely entertained work orders from Adidas, Reebok and Mizuno, anyone with deep enough pockets and a fairly secure legal department (for contracts). Do notice, that we haven't seen this mask sold on the retail market. We see it supplied to various athletes or institutions so as to showcase the brand, and then from there, it hits the open market. The one you bought, @BT_Blue, was either hot or one some College catcher or team equipment manager had "lying around" and wanted the extra cash, selling it to Play-It-Again. How fortuitous for you. Now, why you didn't ask your good buddy Mad Max first, I'm surprised, but not hurt; why you didn't buy two of them and ship one to Mad Max... I'm gobsmacked.
  45. 4 likes
    Been wearing the low tops since February. They're okay, but I'm not really ga-ga over them. Ups I do like the soles, as they seem to release mud pretty easily. Plenty of mucky fields in San Diego this year, and they've got good grip, and don't clog up. Easy to wipe off the plastic parts. Comfortable fit. They ran pretty true to size for me, at 10.5E. Nice insole. Downs Plastic. Plastic toes. Plastic uppers. We deserve a quality shoe. I'd pay more for leather, and a real hard toe cap. This one I can flex with my two thumbs. The mesh is nice, but a bitch to clean. It will only get worse over the years. You can spray what ever chemical you want on it, but it won't make the dirt disappear. They'll need to be scrubbed and rinsed. I take a brush in my utility sink after games. I'm not sure how long they'll last, as I'm not convinced on the quality of the build. And the black finish is starting to turn a tad gray, too. So I'll wear them this season, and probably next. I don't see NB coming up with a replacement anytime soon. But perhaps Under Armour, when it takes over the uniforms, may not wish to have a competing brand on the feet of the umpires on TV, and will come up with something new. One can hope. My wish: The soles of the v3, the leather of the 450, and looks of the +POS low top. Something classy, yet athletic. Something I can go over with Parade Gloss and a Zippo, and see myself in the shine.
  46. 4 likes
    I take dibs on trying to get back down to a 36" waist........
  47. 4 likes
    Had the bases on a 10 year old championship game a couple weeks ago. Team had fallen apart and all of a sudden it was our fault. Past ball and the winning team is trying to steal home, pitcher gets the toss in time but puts down a high tag and my partner calls him safe. I'm in C, and as the pitcher is walking towards me, I notice one fan in particular is yelling at my partner about the call. I shrug it off until I see the ten year old pitcher who's halfway back to the mound stop in his tracks, turn and yell "Mom, shut up. " It took everything I had to keep from laughing. He took the words right out of my mind.
  48. 4 likes
    All, I have been browsing this site for about two years now and I finally decided to register a profile. I first began umpiring for some local youth leagues when I was 14 years old and seven years later, here I am. After progressing through the umpire ranks in youth leagues, I became fascinated by the intricacies of the rulebook and I have a thirst to learn more each day. I have found that when I watch baseball games on TV, I watch the umpires just as much, if not more than I watch the players and the action. The year after I graduated High School, I decided to make the jump into umpiring high school ball and I fell in love with it. I was fortunate enough to befriend an experienced veteran who once umpired in triple-A. He had the dream of making it to the MLB but some health problems derailed his career. After being away from the game for several years, he then decided to get back into doing some high school ball, which is where I met him. I was fortunate enough to work with him for a season before he retired for good. I have learned so much from this site and I continue to learn from it each time I visit. I have asked guest questions (some of them were rather stupid as I think back on them) but nevertheless, experienced umpires always answered with professionalism. I hope to continue learning from this amazing site.
  49. 4 likes
    The rule is slightly different in different codes, but it's never batter INT. It's an illegally batted ball. IIRC, for OBR, touching the plate in itself is not a violation: the violation is having a foot on the ground completely outside the box and contacting the pitch (bunt or swing).
  50. 4 likes
    No opportunity to eject John Gibbons should ever be passed up.