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MadMax last won the day on June 9

MadMax had the most liked content!

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About MadMax

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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
    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)

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8,330 profile views
  1. Dropped third strike

    I’m addressing all my fellow umpires generally, more as a preventative, precautionary observation than to target any specific behavior by a member or group here. Firstly, in today’s digitally networked age, this shouldn’t happen. OBR is available online, and most leagues and tournaments either publish their rules modifications via website or circulate them via email. Unfortunately, NFHS Rules are not available online (but really should be), but again, most tournaments that modify NFHS for their own purposes publish these electronically or post them onsite. All umpires and coaches should have the rules at their disposal. Secondly, there isn’t an excuse for not knowing the rules, or refusing to find or determine the proper rules. We need to start doing a more consistent and redoubtable job of distinguishing rules as opposed to judgements. Far too often, we use the “(umpire) judgement” label so as to defeat an otherwise valid question or justifiable challenge to a rule. If you have solid rules knowledge and proper application of them, you will find less challenges to your judgements. Admission of ignorance to rules is dangerous and damaging to one’s credibility as an umpire. Thirdly, an umpire should never approach coaches or parents in a parking lot, much less outside the ballfield, to discuss a call! Umpires do not want to be approached or harassed after a game, so why would the reciprocal be tolerated?? Lastly, and most grievously, this statement is toxic and unacceptable. It’s bad enough when it’s said within a game (here’s where the PU/UIC “deification thing” shows up ugly), but then when it’s said by a UIC, externally, damages and undermines the relationship between umpires... and everyone else. All that effort, by umpires across baseball, to lessen the “us versus them” mentality that so many participants carry is eviscerated by an asinine statement like this.
  2. Little batter catches pitch

    Know where this comes from? When the kids play stickball / wiffle-ball. Batter just catches the lobbed-in “pitch”, tosses it back, and says, “C’mon Joey! Gimme something to hit!” Go to any tournament or baseball event, you’re sure to find the little brothers and sisters, or, if the event involves 12U’s the players themselves when they’re in idle time, engrossed in a game of stickball / wiffle-ball. They’re happy as can be! Most of these kids all know each other anyway. We adults ruin everything with formal rules, keeping score, and pitch counts. Huh. From my experience, I now always assume “Little League” to be 12-or-less in age, especially when I see it on my potential game postings. Sure, there’s LL-Juniors and Seniors, but even that’s not real baseball. Most of the older kid baseball is under different “titles” like Babe Ruth and Connie Mack.
  3. Little batter catches pitch

    And this is where your feelings don’t matter. I’m saying this kindly and civilly, but bluntly and impersonal... feelings are not a part of baseball or its rules. By your expressed sentiments, you’re either a coach or a parent, probably with the opposing team. As umpires, we have to know the rules, the situations that they govern and apply to, and what impartial judgement we have to wield and implement within those rules. There is no “well, he oughta be out!” for doing “this” or “that”. Either the rules outline that he is, or isn’t, out. In this case, he isn’t, or wouldn’t be, out. Understand, too, the context of the game. It’s Little League. From my 26 years of baseball experience, Little League equates to little more than instructional ball (sectional / regional / national championship ball notwithstanding). If the Batter actually reached behind him to catch a pitch – in flight – then I can derive two things: A) the pitch wasn’t thrown that fast, hard, or accurately, and B) they’re of an age where runners on base, and advancing them with basestealing and errant pitches, really isn’t a priority. In fact, by omitting any baserunners aboard in the OP, the Batter may have done this with no runners on... in which case, it further strains the claim that “he should be out!... for something!” Now, granted, by how the situation and the context is described, the umpire should not have awarded 1B. But, on that same vein, any time a batter is hit by a pitched ball, the ball is immediately dead, and any baserunners return to base occupied at TOP. In this case, it should have been called dead (“Time”), the Batter should be directed to stay (“Stay here”), a Ball added to the count (“Add a ball to the count”. If that’s Ball 4, then award a Walk), and the Batter admonished for pulling that stunt (“You can’t do that.”).
  4. Little batter catches pitch

    I endorse Coach's answer. By not attempting to avoid the pitch, instead actively catching it, the ball should still be called Dead ("Time!"), and the Batter remains at bat with a Ball registered in the count. Normally, I would just upvote the proper answer (In this case, @Rich Ives's) and move on... but this option was a bit disturbing. Why would the batter be out??? We gotta start cutting off these myths where they crop up.
  5. Some bits after watching the video, none of which refute the consensus that the PU got this ruling wrong (which everyone has pointed out in other responses). The BU is in a crappy position. With R1, he should be in B. So why is he in C, and deep at that? Laziness or ignorance. PU has a pathetic way of calling Time. Arms lazily out, cruciform -style, and can't hear him? Yeah, way to take your job seriously, dude. PU also awards bases out of sequence. Umpires should always award bases starting with the runner closest to the plate, then work back to the BR. If a Runner is to stay, then the Umpire should indicate that the Runner is to be placed (still) at that base. That limp-wristed pointing of where Runners are to go by the PU in the video is pathetic. This PU did not "find a unicorn". He dressed up an old, sway-backed cart-horse with a broom handle taped to its forehead and claimed it was a unicorn.
  6. Molina's Foul Tip

    Nope. It is/was supposed to be a simple Foul ball. Batter should have still been at bat.
  7. Call at the plate

    Generally (we’re talking about 99.9% of the time) not. Plays at the plate are typically the domain of the Plate Umpire (or attending Base Umpire in the event of a rotation). @Mudder did mention one of those rare plays where asking the calling umpire (PU, in most cases) to discuss with the other umpire(s) may be considered. This would be for a tag play wherein the ball is not in possession, and the PU was so fixated on the tag action, he didn’t see the ball come out or absent until after he’s called “Out”. I’ve been witness to this before; I was the BU while my PU was at 1BLX on a tag at the plate and called it way too fast... while the uncaught ball was obscured from him by the F2’s body. Another play at the plate that may invoke a call or consult with the other umpires is a missed Rules violation, specifically illegal slide or non-avoidance of contact. Some leagues and tournaments will have a modified Rule that head-first slides at the plate are not allowed, and the PU will so fixated on the tag / no tag action, the head-first slide won’t register as illegal. So too, the PU may be so focused on tracking the throw that he doesn’t see the runner initiate contact – or target – upon the catcher (or fielder at the plate). The other umpire(s), away from the play, may have a better view of the entire sequence, and/or know that that was a Rules violation. I’ve been witness to one of each of these, too. But consider, I’ve worked well over 3500 games in my 10 years of umpiring, and only been a part or privy to _3_ of these occurrences. In each case, the correct call was ultimately made, not a “bad call made good.”
  8. Champro Magnesium

    It is completely overpriced due to name. Just a few years ago (3?), we could get the Diamond iX3 Aluminum frame for $40, and the complete mask – albeit with some of the most pathetic pads imaginable – for around $55–$60. Recently, however, that exact same iX3 mask, now painted instead of anodized (to reduce costs), but with those same pathetic pads is sold for no less than $70. The anodized version, now paired with pads with double the volume and clad in leather, is at $90! So what’s changed? Why the dramatic price increase? Wilson showed up with an aluminum mask! Consider, too, that we can get these “vaunted” Wilson Memory Foam pads, on their own, for $28. There is no way – no way – you can prove to me that leather-clad pads, whether they be wraparound or otherwise, are more protective than tech fabric clad pads. So not only are the masks with Memory Foam pads overpriced at $110, but the leather pad ones at $145 are deeply gouging. Fellow umpires, we are not paying for a better mask (because Diamond has already done all the work!). We are not paying for a new technology (weld-less magnesium) or an advanced design (active-spring suspension). Instead, we are paying for Wilson’s efforts to keep everyone else in anonymity in MLB, as well as the past losses due to titanium and the slow (frugal) purchase cycle we umpires exhibit. A part of me shudders at what could have been had Wilson, and their fanciful price inflation, debuted a magnesium mask. At least All-Star did it first, and a company like Champro brought it back down to realistic levels.
  9. Injured player

    “Participation over penalty” Cooperstown Dreams Park was one of the inspirations for this way of handling injuries, and other tournaments, invitationals, and leagues have adopted it to satisfaction. CDP is surely not the sole origin, but it handles several different structures into a system that, while initially confusing to some (adults... the kids just wanna play), allows for participation over penalty and makes for some memorable baseball. At the root level, if the teams bat everyone (usually 11 or 12, possibly up to 15), then it is to foster participation and development and not have to go through the rigamarole of substitutions and the eventual shenanigans that ensue. Defensive positions can be exchanged freely (the term “free substitutions” is used here) for all but the pitcher. Leagues and tournaments often have their own rules for pitchers (usually governed by pitch/out/inning limit). Regardless, the batting order, once submitted to the TD/FM/LD/PU, is not touched... except if there is to be an “injury (or issue) withdrawal”. Kid gets injured while on defense? Swap him out. Is the injury just temporary, and he’d be otherwise good-to-go after having it attended to the next half-inning? Sure, he can resume participation, and he can bat again. If that injury prohibits further participation, then he is removed / scratched / withdrawn from the batting lineup for the rest of the game completely. The lineup just compresses, condenses, or he is skipped with no penalty... except if the resulting lineup drops below 9. Some leagues / tournaments allow for a team to field 8, but this isn’t the norm, and the batting order is still built around 9, so if it is less than 9, then the absent spot in the order is (only then) an Out. As @Rich Ives mentioned, this withdrawal or scratch can be for any reason – injury, allergic reaction, band recital, family event, family emergency. The point is, that kid can no longer participate in that game. So what to do if a kid gets injured on offense (and he’s not Out on the play)? Attend to the kid, place a “special, one-time courtesy runner” on the base in his stead (either last out, or if the DC is being a real hada$$, let him choose the Runner), and once that SCR is Retired, or Scores, or the inning ends, we check on the injured player. If player can no longer participate, then he is withdrawn from the lineup as previously explained. If he turns out to be alright, and the coaches (and parents) are fine with it, he can resume participation. This is crucial to do for HBP in the head area especially! You do not want a kid who may have a concussion running the basepaths! There may be no way to tell for several minutes. It is far more prudent to get the kid to the dugout or beyond, and be attended to and checked over, than it is to get him physically on base. Typically, the coaches and parents will notify the TD/LD/PU that the kid can no longer participate, and then he’s withdrawn. The same is enforced for Ejections (players only). If a kid is ejected, and there are no substitutes (for the batting lineup), then his spot is struck from the lineup and it compresses or condenses... again, so long as it doesn’t drop below 9. Individual kids can do, or say, the stupidest things. Now, there are some variations to this that leagues and tournaments can build in. Some will cap a “bat everyone” lineup at 10, with a DH (like NFHS, covering a player who can’t / doesn’t bat) and an EH. Or, 11-12, with those Extra Hitters able to freely exchange on defense at any time. In these cases, the team may have 13-16 (or more) players with them, and those players are treated as (potential) substitutes. You would most often see this in tournament / academy teams carrying a bunch of pitchers, wherein they don’t necessarily want to “bat everyone”. Keep in mind OBR was codified in a time of gentlemen. Injuries were rare, and if they did occur and there were no available substitutes, then the game would be delayed or even postponed to be resumed later. In amateur (youth) baseball, any number of things may affect the lineup during a game – including having to go to granny’s funeral – that can be rectified without having to impose the draconian Out.
  10. Came off an Icon, did they? Hmmm?
  11. Completely and utterly false. I can trot out prime examples of video review in which this “all aspects” is overlooked or ignored, to frustrating ends, in the other three sports of The Big Four. NFL – Video replay of a catch / no-catch by a receiver. Sure, the video reveals that the tip of the football touched the turf, but it also reveals blatant pass interference by the defensive back, who clamped onto the receiver’s forearm prior to the ball’s arrival. And we won’t even go into the Fail Mary, or the Tuck Rule. NBA – Offensive player dribbles up the sideline, and defender attempts a steal, shooting his hand across the dribbler’s body to knock the ball out of the dribbler’s possession and out of bounds. Referees go to video review, where it is revealed that the defender never touched the ball... because he smacked the dribbler’s hand, causing the dribbler to propel the ball out of bounds. So who touched it last? Offensive player. Who gets the ball? Defender. NHL – Video review is performed on all scoring plays to determine legal last touch of the puck, if the puck crossed the goal line, and if the goalie was interfered with. Video review validates the goal, but it also reveals that the offensive skater performed a wicked cross-check so as to not only gain space to get his shot off, but to propel the defender into the goalie. Is the goal negated? Nope. Last I checked fouls, penalties, violations and other infractions are crucial “aspects of a play” in those sports. The thing is, those officials are restricted from assessing a foul or penalty based off video review.
  12. Getting older vs. getting old

    @Stan W. has a whole trove of sound advice. To supplement, I’ll add, from the perspective of a trainer, evaluator, and the guy-who-Assigners-count-on-to-work-with-anyone... Let your Assigners know your limits. If you determine that you can only do two games per day, and only one of them can be (scheduled) plate, it will make everyone more at ease going into a set of games than once you get onsite and meet your partner(s). Establish, and reinforce, that if an Assigner needs/wants to use you beyond your limits, they need to ask you well in advance. Recognize the context (level) of baseball you’re about to do, and strive to know the appropriate, current rules thoroughly. One of the most frustrating things for coaches is when an umpire is uncertain about a ruling, or appears to be making it up, and it’s compounded by the age or composure of the umpire. It’s also frustrating when an umpire is not up to speed with recent rules modifications. Angle beats distance every time. Determine – pre-pitch – where you will, or should, go so as to get the angle(s) you’ll need to cohesively read, rule and judge a play. Establish, and reinforce, with your partner(s) that you are an umpire team going into and during a game. There is no hierarchy or seniority crap. Sure, you have differing roles and responsibilities, depending on position, but don’t assume that you have to “pull rank” over the other guy because you’re older; with that said, don’t let the other guy assume that he has to carry you or over-extend himself, or that because he’s younger and more “with it” he’ll have to make all the calls. Oh, if ya really want to be “with it”, get one or two of the latest shirts, or whatever the “young guys” are wearing.
  13. Fly out/tag ups

    Right, but then we get coaches/parents of a third grade game asking us, “So our left fielder bobbled a fly ball, and the shortstop kept it from hitting the ground. The umpire called Catch, but why wasn’t the kid on 3rd out for leaving early?”
  14. For Fed, yes. The OP is set in USSSA, which is based in OBR.
  15. Slim-fit Pants

    Follow-up on Smitty PolyDex (Poly-Spandex) in Combo: I’m 6’2”, 210, wear a 36 in Umpire pants, and use Force3 Ultimate shinguards... I already own and use Smitty PolyDex plate pants, but after noticing how much they “billow in the breeze”, I gave combos a try. Well, I can report, they worked perfectly. Still roomy enough in the waist and seat for a personal protector and repetitively getting into a plate stance (and the combos do have the reinforced seat), while there is adequate space in the legs and shins to cover the Ultimate shinguards. Standing upright, you can’t tell that shinguards are worn. And even when I go hands on knees for my stance, there are no hang-ups or tightness. All-in-all, for a slim or athletic body frame, these might be the way to go.