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MadMax last won the day on February 16

MadMax had the most liked content!

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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

7,740 profile views
  1. Douglas Custom Gear

    Photographic evidence?
  2. Check Swing Question

    Let’s look at this from outside the rulebooks, which @Stk004, @maven and @Richvee already illuminated... Why not go to a (your) BU partner on a check swing appeal? If you are one of these PUs that subscribe to the fallacy that a BU can only interpret / judge swings of a RHB from A (1BS) or a LHB from D (3BS), and cannot from B, or C for that matter, then you’re exhibiting prejudice and biased preconceptions. You’re also missing strikes. You are, like so many adult/professional hitters and coaches, trying to nitpick and quantify what constitutes a swing. Enough of that. If it’s judged to be a swing, then it’s a swing. There are plenty of times that you will need that accessory, available judgement from your BU, regardless of where he is positioned on the field. Say you have a HBP situation, where you (as PU) tracked the pitch so intensely into its impact on the batter’s thigh that you missed his contorting his upper body in a swing attempt. How about if the batter squares to bunt, holds the bat out there, and the pitch is missed by the catcher only to smack you in a vulnerable place? Are you not going to ask your partner if the batter did attempt at it or got his bat back, something you may not have noticed while your masked face is full of baseball? So if you go to your BU, standing in C, at one of those pitches, why is another time any different?
  3. Equipment Suggestions?

    The Schutt XV and Champion P2xx are the budget-busters of their class. Hardshell, compact, and using advanced foam jackets to achieve equitable protection with minimal bulk. The Schutt is better ventilated, and is using the more advanced foam (called D3O), but comes with a wretched Y-yoke harness (hence why you need this mod inspired by some guy named MadMax; or, wait for or locate the Adams XV version), and is one-size fits most (13” tall), but does include an attachable 4” D3O extension. The Champion is available in three different torso lengths (P200 = 17”, P210 = 15”, P220 = 13”), and the harness, while simple and basic, is easily replaceable with a Flex -style harness (ULFH RayFlex, All-Star DeltaFlex, Force3 NewFlex). In regards to the masks, the Diamond iX3 family is top-notch. Diamond went all-in on aluminum, which is a tremendous benefit and value to amateur-level umpires. Only recently has Wilson wised up to this and is offering their iconic DynaLite planform in an aluminum version. Aluminum doesn’t bend, unless there is constant load applied to it in an unplanned direction. In the masks, the welds are more likely to break (pop) under a tremendous or sudden impact than for the bars to bend. Why is this advantageous to Wilson and Diamond? Because a bent mask is a customer service / warranty return issue, whether it be steel or titanium (which both do bend, albeit from differing load forces). And of course, aluminum is cheaper than titanium but just as light. Within the Diamond iX3 family, though, the only differences between the DFM-iX3, DFM-UMP, and DFM-UMP-BL are cosmetic – the frames are all the same. A semi-gloss paint job was applied to the DFM-iX3, while the BL version gets a matte black or clear anodized finish. The BL is the only one that has even remotely useable pads, as they are twice the volume (thickness) of the pathetic pads on the original iX3 and basic UMP. If, however, you are already considering advanced pads (and you should), such as Team Wendy’s or Wilson MemoryFoams, you can save yourself the premium price tag of the BL and get a “lesser” model and switch out the pads. Or, if this explanation just prompts you to snatch up a Wilson DynaLite Aluminum with MemoryFoam pads, go for it.
  4. Obstruction, Unsportsman like conduct or neither??

    @Senor Azul (and others), let me interject a post in support of @maven‘s perspective. Here in Arizona, we have a constant cavalcade of tournament and league baseball for amateurs of all ages. In regards to verbal obstruction of the sort of the OP example given, in adult leagues (MSBL, NABA, etc) playing under OBR (with mods), this is a “tough luck, you should know better”. Where it gets grey and sticky is with teams with players between 12 and 18, playing tournaments every weekend wherein they are playing under OBR, Fed, or a hybrid of both (e.g. Fed pitching “allowances”, but OBR mound visits). These same teams are competing, weekend to weekend, under different rulesets. Of course, the core differences need to be adhered to, but in regards to verbal obstruction, say we have Team Reds versus Team Greens, comprised of high school kids who all attend area high schools. While they play Fed rules for sanctioned HS games, or a Fed -rules based tournament on a weekend, they are prohibited from verbally baiting or fake-tagging. Team Green gets a runner, Mikey, on first base, who attempts a steal of 2B. He arrives well before the throw, only to have the shyster shortstop, Ricky, tell him, “Foul ball, dude. Didn’t ya hear it?” Mikey, like any teenage kid, believes his peers more than adults, and starts to head back to 1B, only to get tagged by Ricky or his defensive teammates. Ha! What a dumbass to fall for that, that Mikey! But this sort of shenanigan is prohibited in Fed, and Mikey isn’t (or shouldn’t be) Out. And what are we told not to do as umpires (especially as Base Umpires)? Not to advise or coach the kids (ballplayers), nor to “overcall” (embellish or mechanic an otherwise obvious foul ball to the backstop, or a safe mechanic on an otherwise uncontested steal of a base). So are we going to then allow shysterism and shenanigans between Team Greens and Team Reds the following weekend tournament solely because its modified ruleset is based on OBR instead of the usual NFHS rules? In amateur baseball, we (as umpires) are fairly quick to shut down and negate a Base Coach (or a member of the OT bench) vocalizing “That’s a balk!” so as to unnerve (and prompt or cause) the teenage F1 into stopping his motion or stepping off improperly, thinking that one of the umpires declared it, regardless of it being OBR or Fed ruleset. Shenanigans like this are very unsporting and are not in the spirit of the amateur game; it shouldn’t require a specific ruleset to be employed and a five minute reading of a Sportsmanship Code at the plate meeting.
  5. Slim-fit Pants

    As long as your shin guards are low profile or tight(er) fitting, you’ll achieve a slim look as a PU by using Combos. Where it all goes wrong for combos on PU is when the shin guards are so “over the top” with double and triple knees, or far too bulky (e.g. Wilsons), or have these elaborate foot /toe guards creeping out the bottom (e.g. Wilsons, or standard catchers guards), which are completely unnecessary when you wear even an average set of plate shoes. I wore Combos for the first five years of my umpire career, teamed with All-Star LGU313’s, which are a very minimalist and low-profile set of guards. When I purchased my Force3 Ultimate Shinguards, I continued to use my Combos for 1.5 years until they faded, shrunk, and lost their professional look. When that happened, I purchased an actual Plate & Base set of Fechheimer polywools and have been tremendously pleased with them since. Recently, I did purchase the Smitty PolyDexes (again, in a Plate & Base set) and have them as a major part of my rotation. The Fechheimers are a very top-notch style, and lay quite well and complimenting for being pleated. The Combos I used for so long were Boombah -brand and flat front (Western cut), and I resisted getting another brand for so long because I hated how pleated pants were cut so unflattering. One of my advantages is that I’m tall with a very athletic build, and I did not like how pleated pants made me look (especially Smitty and other brands). Because of the material used in the Smitty PolyDexes, though, the pleat is not very pronounced or noticeable. The really interesting pant product is coming very rapidly on the horizon, though... from UnderArmour. Next year may bear witness to a paradigm shift for us in uniforms because UnderArmour will employ many of their forward-looking designs from golf and tennis into baseball (finally!).
  6. MadMax/Schutt XV retrofit

    Hollllly crrrrrrap! Not only did Adams eliminate the Y-yoke harness with the inclusion of D-rings at the shoulders, but... they also eliminated T-hooks in favor of side release buckles. Check the photo!
  7. MadMax/Schutt XV retrofit

    Waaaaaiiiitaminnnnnute... According to that photo, @wolfe_man, I spy a... D-ring on the trailing edge of the shoulder arch plate. Thus, that means no sewn-on Y-yoke harness, and no need for my MaXV modification! I don’t know whether to be relieved and jubilant, or saddened and slighted. ... and I don’t need any foo-foo bicep protectors.
  8. New Umpires Section

    Must-need info for new umpires: - How to find assigners, umpire directors, associations, or tournament directors. - How to talk with said persons, once found, and what sort of expectations should be considered. - How to construct and maintain an Umpire Resumé.
  9. MadMax/Schutt XV retrofit

    Not necessarily, @chadozee, but it may be possible. The website store lists them as "NA" or "Not Available", but if you were to click on just about any other product, you won't find an active store page for it. The entire webstore is likely down. Manufacturers will occasionally do this as they are mitigating costs and inventory. They often need to turn their inventory over, and will outlay them to third-party vendors (such as Ump Attire, Sports Unlimited, etc.) so as to get their ledgers back in line so they can order another production run. It doesn't mean that the planform is ending or being retired. I mean, look at Wilson's CP's... those haven't changed in over 15 years, and are still priced on their own website at $200+! Sure, the hope is they'll be updating the XV, with some design/planform adjustments... such as dropping that stupid poorly designed harness.
  10. Odd colored shirts

  11. Who's Out

    1st - Nothing good will come from a Facebook discussion group. Nothing. 2nd - Those arguing with you, in that Facebook group, are either antagonizing trolls... or idiots. 3rd - What are they telling you otherwise?
  12. Odd colored shirts

    Ah, @65corvair, I see you're one of Paul's (TOC) best customers. The greatest challenge to variety (in umpire shirt colors) comes along two fronts. The first is a very valid perspective – we, as umpires, should be as inconspicuous as possible. Our mechanics, our vocalizations, our conduct and mannerisms, and our uniforms should remain standard and unembellished. And I like I said, it's a sound, logical, agreeable reason. The second one is more complex, but just boils down to stubborn-ness and laziness. State and local associations stubbornly hide behind the codified laziness of the NFHS Rulebook, which states that barring state or association directives, the umpire(s) shall wear a navy blue shirt. Guarded by this, there exists a type of guy who will vehemently refuse to buy anything new or updated. This even goes beyond frugal. As new officials are added to the ranks year-by-year, each governing or association body encounters the same conflict between the latest generation(s) and the entrenched vanguard – the "we want to dress for success, and wear modern styles the NFL/NBA/MLB/MLS employs" movement versus the "the uniform has been in place for 10 15 20 30 years, why change, just to look like those flashy guys on TV the pros?" codgers crowd. It would be fascinating to see what would happen if a major manufacturer like, say, Smitty was to discontinue production of all the "traditional" styles, across all sports (football, basketball, soccer, and baseball), and even offer the latest style at an extremely attractive price. I'm certain someone, somewhere would raise high hell. You know what's tragic? When you have that guy in the group who wears a navy (I'll be fair, "traditional" 2-stripe in powder, navy, etc.) shirt so old and faded, it's coming apart at the seams. It finally gives up the ghost, or his assigner says, "Clarence, why don't you get yourself a new shirt? This one has seen better games," while his fellow umpires are all around him in the common area or locker room, wearing their new 2010's and 2016's -style shirts in black or sky blue, and he shuffles off only to come back next weekend... with the exact same style shirt as the one that expired. Heard of this happening? I've witnessed it! With that said, I have the 2016 Panel shirts in Black and Sky Blue; the 2010 Single-stripe shirts in Black (2), Sky Blue (2), Bermuda Blue, Grey, Cream, Maroon, Black (with Pink trim), Olive Drab Green, Pink (for that lone Cancer Awareness Game, as I wear it in memorial of someone), and Navy (with red trim) and Red (with navy trim); a fairly new, "trial" style I call "Roughneck" (since it has a black collar) in Grey and White; the Camo style shirts (one of our Umpire Directors here in PHX really likes 'em) in Black Camo and Sky Camo (no, I will not get Woodland); and last-but-not-least, the Traditional Dual-stripe shirts in Black and Powder / Baby blue (yup, the ol' softball one... just in case). Yes, Corvair, it's only a matter of time before golf shirts and baseball umpire shirts will look near-identical. Back in 2015, we saw Majestic release a plain, all-black polo shirt that could easily fit in golf, tennis, or casual attire. Of course, it was cut longer so as to be tucked in over plate gear. Why'd they do this? Well, they wanted to introduce their newly revised, smooth CoolBase fabric, but they couldn't settle on a new design to put it into – the Panel -style shirts were still on the drawing board. So, they produced it in plain Black and... <ugh, groan> traditional Navy so as to get the (primarily State) associations to take an interest in what they were developing. Why the sudden concern? Why are umpire shirts going to get a radical shake up very soon, and will look more and more like golf shirts? Because UnderArmour is looming ever-closer on the horizon. @tpatience has it right on the pants. PU's pants would look revolting after just a few innings, given all the chalk, dust and dirt that goes airborne. And we'd still have the "shade variety" problem (fight, sometimes) because not every manufacturer would make "true black". Then you throw in fading due to sun, fading due to improper laundering, and lo-and-behold, we're right back to grey'ish / black'ish pants again... ... and guys unable or refusing to buy new pants.
  13. West Vest Revamp

    @TNump, you need a finishing spray. We used it often in the design industry to "fix" graphic design work, which, prior to digital printmaking, was a mash of paper cutouts, paint, marker, and film. We'd spray finishing spray atop it to give it a uniform, fairly abrasion-resistant (scuff, for certain) surface. Krylon makes a version in matte, semi-gloss and gloss, as does Rustoleum. Oh! And it can't hurt to give it a "heat glazing" prior to and after the finishing spray. Take a heat gun or hairdryer and wave over it smoothly and with even motions. Don't linger in one spot too long, but you'll be driving the moisture out of the paint and "baking" or "glazing" it. Then use the finish spray.
  14. MadMax/Schutt XV retrofit

    No, as Max has been strapped for time and cash. As I've received various umpires' CP's to modify, I tell myself I'll do a video... then I realize I don't have that GoPro or other camera with good audio pickup to do the video capture with... then to get the money to buy said camera, I have to work games and do design work... then I end up using that money to pay bills (having to outlay $500 for a deductible on my Umpire Vehicle after we got rear-ended by a 19-year old on her phone hurts), and get more gear, and pay for an Umpire Camp (will tell details later). Then, the umpires invariably want their CP's back so they can start using 'em. I'd like to coordinate with Warren ( @Umpire in Chief) in getting videos like this posted in the same format / style as his Quick Tip videos, perhaps posted under the same account. However, the more I do this mod, the more I realize that I can't just give this process away, especially when Schutt isn't exactly ringing my phone off the hook in trying to seek out my input and opinion on how to improve their CP.
  15. HSM suggestion large head

    @Jmaytx, that changes things... A Pro-Nine, as a HSM (or in a Traditional Mask*, for that matter) offers nothing unique for protection or for umpires different than what any other HSM offers for catchers. It's not even of the upper echelon of HSM's (Such as the All-Star MVP25xx, Easton M-series, Mizuno Samurai, or the brand-new Wilson Pro Stock (I can't believe I just typed that)) for catchers, instead using the same, common, "budget" planform that All-Star, Easton, Rawlings, Louisville Slugger, TPx, and Worth all use on their mid-range catchers HSMs (Schutt and Diamond use a different planform, but it's much the same – for catchers). Again, I keep stressing – catchers, catchers, catchers. They are designed for catchers, the vast majority of them who, if trained properly, are taught to drop their chin, and will be unceremoniously and recklessly dumping their HSMs off their head. These same catchers are typically youth-age (if you notice, college and adult age catchers have the capital or sponsorship to obtain upper echelon HSMs which I listed before... can you name a college or pro catcher using a $60 Louisville Slugger HSM?), and very very few of them have a 6'6" body frame with a 7-&-3/4" head! That brings up another point – you, sir, are 6'6". How often will a backswing get you up by your head? If you were concerned about wood bats breaking and having that freak Kerwin Danley accident occur, I can understand. But you have to address the context in which you are calling balls and strikes. Is this a strictly amateur environment, with non-wood bats, and speeds less than 90 mph? Chances are you won't need a conventional HSM, and if you're starting out, having a HSM might actually be a hinderance instead of a benefit. Let me explain... The single most important tool for an umpire is our eye(s). I shouldn't need to go into a long explanation as to why they're important, but I will say, that a major component to selling a call – making it credible – is having your eyes unobstructed and seeing the play in its entirety. For this, we are encouraged, nay, directed to take our masks off whenever able so as to have an unfettered, unobstructed view of the play, and so the participants can see that we're looking at the play as well. If and when we do move out from behind the plate, we should have our masks off and carried in our left hand. We (as PU's) must practice and get used to making every mechanic with a mask being in our left hand (safe, foul, etc.) without the "luxury" of being able to dump it on the ground like a catcher (as an umpire, your mask or HSM should never touch the ground unless it was knocked off your head). Some guys have gotten very well practiced with this, as well as repetitively taking the HSM on and off again. If you're new to umpiring, a great degree of the credibility-building you'll be employing is how you dress, how you conduct and carry yourself on the field, how you use your voice and mechanics, your hustle on rotations, and... whether or not they (the participants) can see that you are observing what you're supposed to be. You'll have your mask off far more than on, if you think about it. So too, when you're starting out, you're still learning how to lock in and keep yourself stable so as to fully read and judge pitches. The arrival of a baseball is a violent, sudden act, and it takes practiced and tuned nerves to remain stable in the face of a baseball comin' at you. Many avert their eyes, instinctively and reflexively, often turning or dropping their head. After catching for the many years that I did, I had to overcome a formed habit of mine of dropping my chin on low pitches. By turning your head, not only are you taking your eyes off the pitch, but you're also exposing the sides or top of your head to an uncaught pitch or foul ball (foul tips are directly caught, remember). Now, you might think I just talked us into a HSM; however, that same HSM can give you a false sense of security, because if your entire head is protected, what reason would you have to lock in and not turn or flinch your head? Peril will always change bad habits much much faster than Prescription. If I tell you, "Don't move your head because you don't see the entire pitch", you might nod and say "I'll work on that", but reflexively revert back to it after a few pitches. Whereas, if I tell you, "If you move your head, you're going to be concussed or killed"... I think you're going actively endeavor to stay still. A Traditional Mask is just as protective against frontal impact as a HSM; in fact, I'm of the camp that believes a TM is better protection against frontal impact than every current HSM (which, again, are designed for catchers, not umpires). The only reason NFHS (the Fed) and NOCSAE outlaw TM's in Fed-sanctioned games is because they cannot provide overall head injury protection guaranteed. In summary, if you want to pursue down the path of TM use, I can assure you that you'll be just fine (I can't guarantee it, but insofar as how life is a chance anyway). If, however, you do want to use conventional, current HSMs, at your size... look into getting an All-Star MVP25xx or try and get a Wilson Shock FX before they're gone for good. * : a Pro-Nine Traditional Mask is a decent mask. It is hollow tube steel, of a clean, good-visibility design, and has a subtle, yet functional extended crown guard. This crown guard protects the button of your cap from being impacted, just like the Diamond DFM-iX3 family, the Honig's K-4, and a few Champro masks, but done in a very discreet way.