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About MadMax

  • Rank
    The Road Umpire
  • Birthday 06/13/1975

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Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Phoenix, AZ
  • Interests
    Rally racing, Snowboarding (instructor / tech / barnstormer), Soccer (still play it), Hockey (working toward being a linesman), Baseball (umpiring, obviously), Architecture, Restorations

More information about you

  • Your Association Name
  • Occupation
    Designer / Fabricator
  • Types/Levels of Baseball called
    U18, modified NFHS & OBR; Adult Wood Bat, OBR (AL); CDP (sixth year)
  • How did you hear about Umpire-Empire?
    ABUA (

Recent Profile Visitors

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  1. Not calculus. Can't be calculus. Geometry, maybe and likely. But I was a really good catcher, and quite an adept outfielder. I was also an all-conference wide receiver and punt/kick returner for football. I sucked at Calculus. Ruined most of my collegiate academic prospects.
  2. I'm heavily encouraged by this... I'm actually considering taking a shot at the +POS Cobra and ordering one in, if for anything to evaluate it. I certainly don't want to replace my Schutt XV, but I have a hunch that the Cobra is a top-notch CP, designed and produced so as to give an All-Star or an UnEqual a run for their money. Perhaps if he gets more consistent and reliable in his order fulfillment, he could be approached and convinced by guys like @kylejt (and myself) to re-introduce the MAG magnesium mask he had on the market a few years ago. All-Star has their money behind the FM4000Mag for catchers, I'd love to see the +POS MAG, for umpires, back on the diamonds alongside it.
  3. Hello everyone, my name is Max (shhhh... we don't use the words "mad" or "crazy" here), and... I have four masks. As I look around my apartment, I have the parts to build / equip several more, though, so I have a bit of a problem. I actively use and am true to one CP. I do have several others traipsing in and out of my apartment – at all hours of the night – in varying degrees of repair and servicing. In fact, I have another Schutt AiR Flex II getting fitted for a new harness, and a (*GASP!*) DaviShield off to one side in the midst of a significant improvement project (how could you, Max?! A DaviShield?!?! You said you'd never touch one!). Besides the one set of Force3 Ultimate shin guards I own and use (near-) constantly, I have a set of All-Star LGU313's stashed in the tool compartment of my car, along with the jack and emergency roadside kit. I'll fish them out in the event I do a sub-12U game, or if I happen across a baseball tournament and am asked to be an umpire, or if a fellow umpire at a tournament lost / misplaced / forgot / broke his own shin guards. I have no qualms about loaning out my CP or masks (heck, you might actually like my Schutt, and want to buy one yourself!), but I do pause in consideration on loaning out my Force3 shinguards. I have multiple belts, base shoes, ball bags and other accessories, and am constantly rotating them in and out. I've given up on trying to maintain multiples of the same shirt style-color. Instead, I have one of everything and when I go to a tournament, I just hope I'm with partners who are as forward-&-free-thinking as I am. For a few specific style-colors, I have purchased and gifted several shirts (TOC 2010 Bermuda Blue, specifically) to good friends of mine so that when we work together, we are certain to use them. Lots of gear finds its way to my doorstep. The thing to do with it is to pass it on to the next umpire-in-need, whether by bequeathment or by sale. Identify the "new guys" in your circle-of-umpire-friends or association and supply their needs. Are they using their old catchers shin guards? Sell them your "spares" for a few bucks. Certainly don't lose money on the deal, but don't extort them either.
  4. Photo time again! As mentioned, I had performed a significant retrofit on a Honig's K-1. At the time, I neglected to take photos of the work-in-progress; yesterday, though, I worked the same complex as the owner of the K-1 and I got a chance to take photos: ... this last photo shows the detail of how I anchored the female end of the side-release buckles. That's a 3/4" Chicago Screw in a hole that has been lanced through all the layers of the CP – outer nylon, inner plastic plate, inner plastic padding, inner nylon – by a white-hot awl. The nylon webbing you see is doubled back around the side-release buckle and then melted (cauterized). I'm definitely using nylon washers, too, on both sides to lessen the chances of the nylon spreading and the screw wearing through. While I did use the Force3 NewFlex harness, which comes equipped with 1.5" side-release buckles (male side only), I instead swapped out the buckles for a complete set I purchased. If you have any concerns about the placement of the screw, I addressed them by positioning the hole on one of the peripheral sections of segmented plastic plating, which happens to be covered (on the inside) by one of those "kidney bean" velcro'd pads. Lastly, I really want to emphasize how much better the fit is once you heat-shape the ailettes and shoulder plates. Out of the packaging from Honigs, the entire CP is as stiff and rigid as a board, and so many guys wear it without contouring the plates. They look like characters out of Minecraft, are forced to struggle in and out of shirts (or, worse, forced to purchase shirts that are unnecessarily oversized), and aren't being properly protected. Honigs really should have put proper directives in place to the manufacturer in China or had better quality controls over its production. Strangely, the older K-1 has none of those problems the new one possesses. The new one features ailettes (great, but not helping when they are as stiff as brake pads), a larger neck billow, increased "vital" pads on the inside, and better peripheral protection. It even has arm guards (which, once the shoulders are re-shaped, actually feel kinda nice)! The old one lacks these amenities, but its shoulder plates are already shaped and... ready for this?... it has the side-release buckles already stitched in and ready to accept a better harness! And lacking those ailettes, the Old K-1 achieves a very slim, low-profile appearance on par with a Douglas. Collarbone protection and ailettes are necessary, but there has to be a better way to attach them.
  5. It's like you've worked with @KenBAZ before!!
  6. I took this topic thread and OP as a hopeful sign, like Noah seeing the dove returning with a fresh twig. Maybe the worst was over, and we could have +POS products again... So I visited the site... and the ZRO-G masks are on sale?!?! I couldn't get my order info in fast enough. I'd be willing to throw a few bucks into limbo at the chance of getting this mask again. But what followed next simply delighted me... I made the order on the 21st. It would seem that an actual human travelled to a post office in Illinois and put my order out in the mail. And, in a few short hours, it will be in my mailbox. I have, of course, broadcast this to my fellow umpires here in the Valley, and have no doubt there will be a run on these masks in the next few days.
  7. None of what I'm about to say, @Umpire_ar, is directed at you specifically. Also, I admire and encourage your willingness to write a product comparison and review of umpire gear – we need more of these, covering a variety of items and brands! Thing is though, when it comes to shin guards, there is no comparison between the Force3 Ultimates and anything else in that same class. If you're doing any level of baseball (or even Fastpitch softball) beyond 12-13U, want the lightest, least cumbersome, least stifling, most protective pieces of equipment available, you perform a quick but decisive logic process with that part of your brain which steps in and prevents you from making otherwise impulsive decisions – such as purchasing a 60" 4K TV, getting on a rollercoaster named "The Hair-brained Scheme", or asking out Brittany Abbindola in college (before she went on to graduate summa cum laude in economics _and_ be featured in a Girls of the Big Sky Valley Plains Gulf 12 Conference calendar). "We should get these Force3 shinguards!" "But they're $120!?!!" "They are comprised of Kevlar, and are exceptionally light and form fitting." "But they don't have the MLB logo on them like the Wilsons do! Didn't Brian Brandfellow, our umpire mentor in our local association say at the meeting that we should buy nothing but Wilson gear, because that's what the Big Leaguers use??" ... "Didn't the guys on U-E say something about how long your gear is expected to last, though, and that the Force3 shinguards will last you the rest of your career?" To be fair, I would consider the offerings of Douglas and All-Star and even Wilson when it comes to comparing items such as these. If you're operating in a budget, it's understandable that Champro or Diamond (or Honig's or +POS) guards at $65 become more feasible. However, when you consider that you'll never want to – or need to, barring theft or Tico your Rottweiler chewing them (Bad Tico! Bad!) – purchase any other shin guards again, it becomes remarkably easy to hit the Order button.
  8. While Tony and MaskIt were working on my +POS ZRO-G to apply the Sky Blue Metallic, I puttered around with some other masks, and stumbled upon another Honigs K-4. This one is decidedly older than the current version, which sports the extended crown guard, huge ear guards, and stubbier chin guard. Of course, I got it for a steal because it was navy. For some stupid reason, certain states cling like barnacles to the traditional-style navy shirt, but think it looks perfectly okay to pair up a navy shirt with black gear (masks especially) and a black hat. Based on how many states refuse to update, you'd think there'd be far more navy-colored masks in circulation. So I decided, if these states want to be so stubborn patriotic, let's go all-out. I ordered up some All-Star bicolor leather pads in scarlet and tan, and here's what I came up with: Cooperstown Dreams Park, here I come. I would also fit in for a HS tournament visit to Ohio, or Indiana, or Wisconsin, or Virginia, or Pennsylvania, or...
  9. Again, I emphatically doubt the Boombah Defcon mask is actual titanium. I just don't have the $99 and a file or hacksaw to prove them wrong.
  10. There's something more to it in Ohio, @kylejt, because they changed the Ohio athletics logo twice in three years, necessitating three compulsory purchases of the navy shirt... with the obligatory "current" logo embroidered on it. This reeks of racketeering and despotism. There is little doubt an arrangement has been struck between those in charge and the shirt suppliers. I'd be curious to know what brand of shirt Ohio employs (my guess would be Cliff Keen), but if it isn't a known brand, and instead an imported "brand" from East Asia, then this _really_ reeks of kickbacks and profiteering. The umpires' best interests are not being served.
  11. It would have to be a navy Plate coat, then, because Ohio is still a holdout state, gripping fiercely (but without any particular reason) to the Traditional Navy shirt as the enforced uniform.
  12. Exactly, @ricka56... one has to understand the context. This is 14U ball... these F2's are already in a throwing motion as soon as R1 departs, often standing up and "causing" the pitch to be a ball. They're not listening for a PU to call Ball or Strike, they're gonnaThrowThatRunnerOutWithAMightyHeave!!! On the other side of the equation, R1 has been told / signaled to steal, and coached to not look back to the plate to see / find the pitch. Just GoGoGoGoGo! They're going to get to R2 and makeThisOneBigMightySliiiiiiide!!! And, we've got a silent PU who might be drowning in his mask pads... we wouldn't know it, because one has to strain to hear him on count proclamations, directives of "Play!" and "Time", etc. So, if it was Strike 1, 2 or 3... doesn't matter, because with less than 2 outs, the ball is still live, and R1 is subject to a play upon him. And it (supposedly) is this major faux-pas to call a ballplayer "Out" then have to rescind it... yadda yadda yadda.
  13. R1, 1 out, 14U Showcase ball playing a mash-up of OBR and Fed. PU is not tremendously experienced, and is varied in his proclamations of balls (silent most of the time, occasional declaration of "ball", sporadic pointing as to where it missed (corrected in post-game)) and the count. 3-2 count (at least this umpire as BU thinks it was, may have been 3-1), R1 breaks for it. Pitch is borderline and catcher comes up throwing. PU "calls" it a ball, LHB drops bat and starts heading towards 1B. Meanwhile, R1 is still screamin' towards 2B, F6 covering, and both the throw and runner arrive. R1 slides past the bag completely, with F6 missing the tag completely. We now have a runner, on the ground, about four feet beyond the bag, on hands and knees, looking at a F6 on his knees, with the baseball, about a foot behind (on the 1BS) 2B. Both scramble to their feet, and Runner makes a mad dash towards 3B, and gets caught in a brief rundown between F5 and F6, tagged out just before 3B. OT coaches go bonkers. Phrases such as "ball should be dead", "it's ball four, and it's a dead ball", "protected", and "my kid wouldn't have slid had you (the PU) called ball four!" started to emanate from three different directions. Here's what we (the umpire community) know: It is still a live ball (and at no point became dead). BR is entitled to 1B, therefore forcing other runners before him; BR is protected to 1B, even so far as walking towards the dugout enroute so as to drop off his bat, elbow and/or ankle armor, etc.; once he obtains / achieves / touches 1B, he is no longer a BR, but the new R1. By sliding past the bag, and leaving contact with 2B, R1 is subject to being tagged out, and was in fact tagged out (and this was explained to the OTHC). Now, beyond this, I'm trying to determine what a BU is to do when his PU partner doesn't vocalize, signal or indicate the outcome of a pitch – whether it be ball or strike. Granted, in my scenario, the Runner turned into a tag-able situation because he slid past 2B and left contact with it. But what if he slid before the bag, and never reached it? Adding to that, what if F6, in receiving the throw, lost the ball and it went beyond a reach's distance from him, but instead went to F4 backing him up? R1 has slid, not achieved the base yet, and now F6 is, by definition, obstructing R1 getting to the base... a base he is, well, entitled to anyway. What are your takes on an event like this?
  14. That is the FM4000Mag. One piece cast construction. Hence the need for the "fill tabs" at the ear guards – the frame experiences the least stress there, so material variances can be tolerated here. Now, more than ever, the pads have got to be really really good. Yeah, the mask's geometry doesn't really let anything longer than a 4-stitch to go under it. We may see a resurrection of the 2-stitch! I'd love to see/hear/read of All-Star designing a "System 7" umpire-specific mask. More volume in the forehead – maybe space to house a GoPro-esque camera so we can start to fight technology with technology. Do any of the umpires at WBC have (their) numbers on their sleeves? Since the governing body is not MLB, my guess is that the numbering system (if there is one) isn't the same.
  15. Once again, Tony L at MaskIt is a master artisan of masks. And like any art, he cannot be rushed, because the end product is worth every moment of patience. This past Monday, I stepped behind the plate for a AAA/AA/A intersquad game, with a good friend and fellow Vulture (more on that later) as my base partner, wearing TOC Bermuda blues (best atypical color IMO) and carrying my newly arrived, freshly re-coated +POS ZRO-G mask. Both starting catchers, despite being completely clad in brand new All-Star gear and being paid a modest entry-level contract, took one look at my mask as I threw it on and said, "That's a badass rig, Blue". It better be. I chose this color to complement the 2016 Sky Blue, the 2010 TOC Bermuda blue, and the 2010 Sky Blue shirts. Due to some pathetic coordination by the color supplier (not MaskIt's fault), they went with my second choice – Bay Blue Metallic. Look at it sparkle!