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MadMax last won the day on September 2

MadMax had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

1,227 Excellent


About MadMax

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

Contact Methods

  • AIM

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
    the West Valley Vultures
  • Occupation
    Designer / Fabricator
  • Types/Levels of Baseball called
    U18 – NFHS, mNFHS, mOBR; NCAA / NAIA; MiLB -level; CDP
  • How did you hear about Umpire-Empire?
    ABUA (umpire.org)

Recent Profile Visitors

7,393 profile views
  1. Starter uniforms for rookies

    Instead of khaki-colored khakis, I think that charcoal / slate grey “utility” slacks will suffice. Dickies, for example. I even tried out Nike Golf slacks in grey for a few games, just to see if they were a viable option (they are, by the way). I wouldn’t wear them for upper echelon games, but for youth amateur stuff? Heck yes. A plain black polo will be more than sufficient. The Majestic 2015 Plain is exactly that, and that was worn for an entire season in the Major Leagues (by limited crews, but still). You could dress it up by putting the association patch on the left chest, or the American flag on the left sleeve, or somesuch. If you wanted to expand it to Sky Blue, consider that, but try to get all of them the same, because while there is only one shade of black, there might be 8 to 10 different shades of “light blue”. The use of a plain black hat is key. This is where a lot of associations / groups putting new umpires on the field drop the ball. They don’t enforce a plain black hat, or even a hat at all in some cases. A few years ago, I was on 14-year old game, while on the field next one over, a 9-year old game had 2 new umpires, with both the PU and BU in shorts, light blue polos, but the BU was without a hat. It looked terrible. Another time, a new umpire greeted me at the field “ready to start the game” while wearing a white-mesh trucker hat (but the front was Navy!). I can get inexpensive, decent, Flexfit plain black (or navy, for that matter) hats off Amazon for $5-$9 each.
  2. Foul tip?

    No, I’m not 100% certain – which is why an umpire conference and/or video review should be undertaken. What you can’t tell me is that a PU, in that position, at those speeds, in that environment can distinguish a pitch hitting the bat then hitting the mitt with absolute certainty.
  3. Foul tip?

    That pitch changes direction... conveniently... at a point where the bat was in its arc so as to make contact with it. This is one of those events which Instant Replay was implemented for. I suppose that if PU doesn’t have contact (a clean swing), then there’s not much that the other 3 core umpires can help on at 100 feet away. If, though, PU is acknowledging contact, but is under the belief that it is a valid Foul Tip, he’d be mistaken, and an umpire conference, or a video review, would/should reveal that Contreras trapped that in his armpit.
  4. Plus POS in Trouble?

    After observing this for cyclic behavior for the past four (at least) years, here’s my guess: This is the time of the year everything starts to slow down for Dan up there in Illinois. Indeed, baseball is more or less crated up in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, and Minnesota, as football is in full swing and basketball will be soon upon us. +POS does not have a diverse, multi-sport catalog and as such, sales wither with half the country snowbound. Dan has, in the past, taken employment with UPS, and he may be doing exactly that again. I can tell you from personal experience (working at Big Rainforest company), that kind of work drains you, and you really don’t feel too motivated to do much else. So from the read of things, mailing labels were “purchased” and generated, but the unit hasn’t been dropped in the mail (yet).
  5. I know (of) this umpire! He’s the rare OOOO (first “O” for “Old”). He’s the same guy who calls outs for slung bats, and acts-of-exuberance by /for runners scoring (especially homeruns). He has a fondness for the Fed rulebook (which still diefies the PU), but is a master of local rules and the T3Rs or D3Rs rulesets (“Them’s There the Rules”, or “Dem’s Der da Rules”, depending on local dialect). In no way am I being ageist or a implying that a number defines your quality and effectiveness. It’s all relative, and “Old” in this context expressly means “Old thinking, stubborn, inflexible”. This guy won’t learn, no matter how, or how often, one presents it to him. In this case, this guy is of the generation or school-of-thought that believes sitting on the bases is disrespectful. And, because today’s (youth) players lack respect, and this guy doesn’t know how to exhibit / foster respect, nor know how to relate to today’s youth, he arbitrarily penalizes participants. Slung bat? Disrespectful. Bat flip? Disrespectful. Jumping up and down at the plate with/around teammate who scored? Disrespectful. And on, and on, and on... ”I’m the umpire. That stuff has no place on my watch, on my field, during my game.”
  6. "play"

    Huh! Imagine that! Every half inning. If the ball wasn’t dead during the changeover, why would a PU have to make the ball live again? Hmmmm. Thanks, @lawump.
  7. "play"

    I might be going out on a limb here, but from what I am led to believe, at the Major League level, the ball is live as soon as the F1 engages the rubber; a mechanic or vocal “Play” is not necessary. We would need a AAA or AA umpire to verify if this was the case at that/those levels too. In the extended Spring Training games we did, with R, A, and AA players, we continued our habitual point mechanic (always), combined with an audible “Play” when Runners were on base. No one – no coaches, players, staff members, or fellow umpires – gave any of us grief over it, or rolled their eyes thinking we were “over the top”. I did a AAA vs. MxPL game with a former MLB umpire as PU, and even he did the mechanic and uttered an audible “Play”... although he didn’t consistently do it. I wasn’t going to elbow him over it, and nothing occurred in the game that challenged whether or not the ball was live. The sense I got is that the guys just “knew”. At those levels, ball changes are frequent, so with a runner on, the F2 would secure possession of the ball, either vocalize to the PU to change the ball or give that “Time request” mechanic himself. PU would either vocalize or mechanic “Time” had been called, a new ball sent to the F1, he’d re-engage the rubber, and away we’d go. The PU would either mechanic, vocalize, or omit doing so (occasionally), but the ball was presumed Live. We should be mechanic’ing (pointing) the ball Live at the start of every half inning. Was that 5th warmup pitch Live? How about the 4th one? How about if the F1 is tossed the ball from the F6 catching the “come down” throw, stands atop the rubber, visibly rubbing the baseball up, and drops it? Are we really going to call an illegal pitch? Another example highlights what could be a potential mess. NFHS rules make the hybrid stance illegal. If a new pitcher climbs on the mound to start a half-inning, in the hybrid stance, I’m not going to make the ball Live until that is corrected and he is in a legal stance. Once legal, get your other components in place, then mechanic / point, and the ball is (now) Live.
  8. Pants

    Concur with @BT_Blue. I, too, have the Davis-by-Fechheimer PolyWools. I wear a 34-35 in slacks but got the 36 in these, and they fit trimmer than the 36 in the new Smitty PolyDexes.
  9. Mask Porn?

    Points time! On the Diamond iX3: +400 points for the custom work by MaskIt +300 points for selecting flat (matte, or stealth) black. It's a far superior black. –66 points for that silly gold W on the pads +314 points for a TG that makes @BT_Blue jealous (these points awards will continue until Arik finds his own white whale unique TG) On the Mizuno: +5 points for having distinguished tastes Push on the silly gold W, again +314 points for a jealousy-inducing TG
  10. Strike Call

    Mine is a bit more unique, and I'm known for it at the various venues I've called games at, from Cooperstown, NY all the way to The Oven's Gate Phoenix, AZ. I modeled it after Bruce Froemming (from my hometown) crossed with a hockey goal horn. "sTREEEOOOOOOOOOOOk!" is the best way I can approximate it. I'm a side-shooter in my mechanic (you'll never see a hammer in this hand), and evaluators, trainers, and professional umpires have all given positive (sometimes, glowing) feedback about it. A professional umpire actually pointed out to the fellow camp umpires that "this guy's call is not one we want you doing, but pay attention to his timing and his projection, because he does it really well". I do call Balls, and vary the volume in accordance to how close. Obvious misses (i.e. to the backstop), there's no reason to say anything. Ball 4 is an enunciated difference, "Ball. Four." There is no pointing or indicating (mechanic) to send the B/BR down to 1B. Swung strikes are a silent, relaxed side-shoot. Swung 3K (caught) is a curt out-fist-clench at a 45º in front of me. 3K looking? Oh, those are fun... "sTRIKE! THREE!" accompanies a chainsaw-pull-cord straight back. EDIT: Reviewing the OP and the answers, part of the question is "How did you develop the voice projection... ?" Well, a few things: 1) I played Flugelhorn, and then Tuba in marching band, 2) I was a catcher in baseball, and I would have to make a great deal of the deployment and relay calls to my teammates, but I was a small kid, so I really had to put everything I had (at the time) into it, 3) I come from a very loud family, 4) it was imparted to me to be definite in your calls. On that 4th point, so many new umpires lack experience, and therefore, lack the all-crucial timing that is vital to calling Balls and Strikes convincingly. They're sometimes calling "Ball" or "Strike" before the pitch even enters the mitt! And, they're trying to produce this bellowing "STRIKE!" call to suit it. Any evaluator or trainer is going to promptly "bolt" them down and have them stay down and sit on pitches for moments after the ball is in the mitt, then "call it". But then, all that zeal, all that fervor, all that impetus is gone and out comes a weak "strike"(?) (sometimes, you can even hear them questioning it, because they don't want to be wrong in front of all these people). Then, a substantial number of "first few games" are 9U ball, where the little tykes get intimidated by a towering umpire bellowing strikes, even on their swings! So, these umpires get asked by coaches and parents, who are only sitting 8-10 feet away, "Can you dial it down a bit, Blue?" In my case, I reserved my strike call to just that – called strikes – and just owned it. In fact, I had a coach tell a 9U player, "If you don't want to hear him call that, then start swinging!"; by and large, though, these same 9U (heck, I get it at any age clear through high school) players and fan-friends can be heard imitating my strike call in the dugouts and throughout the park! So my advice is – be definite, and let that confidence well up from the root of your spine, stand upright and erect, and then... let everyone know it's a strike. One of our colleagues here ( @KenBAZ knows of him) has an even more signature call than me, one that I cannot hope to eclipse in terms of uniqueness and popularity. It's a "HEEEE-YYYAAAAAAaaaaaaaahhhhh!" and it rolls through a park complex like a tsunami. Ken can tell ya, when that guy and I are on adjacent fields... it's a riot.
  11. When To Call The Ball Dead After a "Completed" Play

    @timelydew, you've received some redoubtable answers from others, so let me go one step further in bolstering you with calling of "Time", especially in regards to umpires... Don't call "Time" to clean the plate, unless you are working solo. Certainly, take advantage of Time being called for another reason (courtesy runner, defensive conference, F2 being given a few moments after taking a foul ball to the ________, etc.) to brush the plate, but even after a big-time slide into home, you do not need to call "Time". Check to be sure that the ball has been secured, any trailing runners aren't following in an attempt to 3rd Base or to Home, and then brush off the plate briskly. You have a partner (or two, or three, in some fortuitous events) who has eyes. Don't call "Time" to announce a substitution batter / pinch batter. If a/the coach approaches you so as to make a substitution / pinch / exchange then certainly call Time. Otherwise, the ball can remain Live while you're relaying "Substitution. Now batting Number 26 for Number 5", to the scorekeeper / FM desk (tournament ball). Don't call "Time" to get yourself back to your Initial Position. If you make a HP to 3B rotation as PU during a Live ball play, you can certainly trot back to HP with the ball remaining Live. Again, you have (a) partner(s), who (should) have eyes. If you (or your partner) is in the wrong Initial Position, don't call "Time" to correct it. Don't attach "Time" to the word "My". There is no such call of "My Time" in baseball (or softball, for that matter). "My Time" is used in football and basketball by officials so as to stop the clock without charging a Time Out to a team.
  12. NB base shoes

    I got feedback on them in person this weekend. A 1BC was wearing the Elements version, and I instantly recognized them. I would have remarked on them anyway, because they are quite snazzy looking. His opinions on them were that the shoes are very lightweight, comfortable once broken in, but do run narrow and a bit tight in the toe box. It may be out of character for New Balance, but keep in mind, they might be trying a new last for this model; also, New Balance makes (nearly) all their shoes in variable widths.
  13. NB base shoes

    @grk17, these are presented as "Turf" shoes, meaning they're supposed to be on FieldTurf (artificial) and short, well-kept grass. The white would largely be unaffected by these field conditions; the white would actually blend in with the snow us northerners (well, I'm an ex-northerner) may encounter on our fields. But we don't exist in a well-groomed, well-manicured, idyllic baseball field world... no no, we come out to do five game sets at skinned multi-use complexes that are used for softball, teeball, the Friday Night Hoedown, and Lawn-Tractor Pulls (just like the tractor pulls at the County Fairgrounds, but smaller) and maintained on budgets that are worse than non-industrialized island micro-nations in SE Asia. So, the bottoms of our shoes get assaulted by any variety of clay, dirt, sand, etc with any hopes of keeping them pristine eviscerated in short order. @HCueds – +600 points back. I'm withholding 200 points, though... 100 points because you were playing coy, and 100 points because you didn't deliver cookies as you once again, built up our hopes only to dash them.
  14. NB base shoes

    They're hiding in plain sight. New Balance Men's 4040v4 Turf Baseball-Shoes https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01NBA072L/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_2xZXzb9G68PES You have to select the Black/Black color option; this is the Elements version. The mesh version is Black.
  15. NB base shoes

    Amazon. Found the two versions – mesh and elements – listed side by side on Amazon.