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MadMax last won the day on September 2 2017

MadMax had the most liked content!

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1,241 Excellent


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
    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

7,636 profile views
  1. What is this mask?

    Alright guys, here is where I have to eat a few of my own words. That image of a silver mask with black TW pads against a beige wall with sand-tan carpeting is mine. I claimed it was a Nike Steel because that’s what I had bought it from another guy here on U-E as (I don’t remember who, and frankly, don’t feel that it’s relevant anymore). I know the Nike “Icon” planform so very well, as it was designed by someone at Nike at the behest of Jorge Posada in the early days of his HoF (likely to be) career. It was styled to have simple lines, and give an excellent field of view. The chin guard was made taller (longer) than every other mask on the market at that time because Posada made it a trendsetter to prop the mask on his head, like a knight’s flip-up visor, and he eschewed wearing a dangling throat guard. To be strong enough to withstand the battering and abuse a catcher’s mask takes, and to be thin and lightweight enough to forgo thick vinyl cladding, it was fabricated in titanium. To Posada’s wishes, the chin guard was tall and featured very little forward rake (the angle at which that shape projects off the vertical plumb line) so it would behave like a dangling throat guard, easpecially when a catcher is trained to drop his chin when blocking a ball down off the deck. Now, here’s the important part – I have been unable to determine which was first; Wilson’s Catcher’s DynaLite (with arrowhead ear struts) and Nike based their design planform on it, or Wilson produced theirs in response to Nike’s iconic Titanium getting so much attention in the catching community. Of course, producing a mask in titanium incurs a rather premium cost. So, the next best alternative (at that time) for mass production was steel. In order to give the mask better survivability to corrosion and the constant physical abuse, the hollow steel masks were dipped in vinyl. Even in this construct, the two masks looked vaguely similar, but they still retained their unique characteristics; namely, the shape of the “bullring and wicket”, and the size and rake of the chin guard. Why were the two chinguards so different? That’s best answered with another question – between Nike and Wilson, who sells (thousands upon thousands) more dangling throat guards as accessory purchases? Why, Wilson of course. At some point, Wilson changed their ear struts from arrowheads to single, simple horizontal bars (I have been unable to determine when, or for what specific reason). At around this same time, Wilson introduced their new West Vest CP model variant – the Platinum – in conjunction with a titanium version of their DynaLite, perhaps at the behest of MLB umpires who had taken a liking to Posada’s (and other Nike-supplied catchers’) mask. It had similar lines to Wilson’s DynaLite, with the more-pinched, angular bullring and wicket U-Bars and single bar ear struts. The big, glaring difference was the dramatic forward rake of the chin guard. This was certainly intended to allow a dangling throat guard to be mounted behind it. Accordingly, the Platinum CP received a padded cushion so a dangling throat guard would bounce against it instead of clacking. Keep in mind, though, that the companies are still producing and supplying masks to wholesale and retail outlets in any and all planforms they have. This would be severely hamstrung by the NFHS board outlawing the traditional mask from use within its ruleset. Nike scaled back their production of their iconic mask in steel, relegating it to supply for college catchers and foreign markets. Alternatively, Wilson ceased production of the catcher’s version of the DynaLite, instead forging ahead with the updated DynaLite planform for its captive market – umpires. So, through researching all that, I have since arrived at the conclusion that that mask I had was a Wilson DynaLite-for-Catcher, having been stripped of its vinyl and powdercoated. To make matters more complicated, it looks like the exclusive contract between Nike and the shop in Asia (Taiwan?) where the Icon was produced has ended, and recently the shop has been producing Icons, in Titanium and Steel, with a variety of pad branding on them (Reebok, Adidas, etc.). A few MLB catchers, too, sponsored by Mizuno, have taken to putting Mizuno pads on a titanium Icon.
  2. Runner

    This is very much like Keg League Softball, of which I observed when I attended the Wettest Campus in the Midwest – the University of Wisconsin - Madison. 2 kegs, one near home plate, the other just behind 2B. A whole mess of plastic cups, most "collected" from the Badger home football games they gave out generously prior to 1993 (when Wisconsin (finally) beat Michigan, and the entire student section rushed the field, landing some 50-80 people in the hospital, 9 of them critical; hard plastic cups were identified as objects that could be thrown (they were, like a blizzard) and incite unruly behavior). All fielders must have a cup on hand or nearby. A batter must have a (somewhat) filled cup while at bat. Upon hitting the ball, the batter must scoop up their cup, run to 1B with it. A fielder may field the ball; if the ball or the fielder knocks over their own cup in the process, spilling the beer, the batter is automatically safe on "Inter-beer-ance". If the batter arrives at 1B with an empty cup, and the ball arrives, he/she is Out because the ball beat the beer to 1B. Refills between plays by fielders are allowed. The Keg at 2B (2nd Barrel) was routinely used for this. Its real reason lay in doubles, triples, and potential HR's. Having touched 1B with beer in cup, the BR could drink it or spill it before advancing to 2B. If he/she carried it beyond a touch at 2B, there would have to be beer in the cup in order to be safe at 3B or Home (the ball beats the beer). So even if a Batter smacked a long one, and the Outfielders were chasing it down, the BR would have to either run cautiously so as to have beer when he/she arrived at Home, or refill it at 2B or at Home Plate Keg prior to the ball arriving at Home. Failure to have beer-in-cup, and touch home, prior to the ball touching Home was an Out. There were a lot of doubles.
  3. Douglas Custom Gear

    Know why these customization options are available? Do you know why Douglas CP's are so expensive? It's the same reason Force3 gear costs so much too... They're both made in the USA.
  4. Logo removal

    Honig's makes an outstanding, top-quality mask harness with no printing or logos on it whatsoever. It's available in black or navy. Sell your existing Wilson-MLB harness to one of the fanboys here, one of them will be sure to gobble it up.
  5. Champion CP Question

    Yup, they’re the same. Ump-Attire is just displaying it “flattened”.
  6. CP advice for college games

    I, too, do college-level ball with a Schutt XVm (“m” for modified). I even do Adult leagues and MiLB spring training games with it. Several of my colleagues, doing the exact same games, use Champions, Champros, Douglas-es, and Force3 UnEquals, primarily for two reasons – less bulk, and the desire to look sleeker and more athletic. Force3 UnEquals get a bit hot here in AZ because they’re so dense. The Douglas uses Qualux sofa-cushion foam, just like the Wilsons, but in a more compact, narrower style. The Champros and Champions are very good value, and because they use advanced foam sandwiches, can reduce the bulk significantly. The only reason they don’t get more “Play” is because they lack the MLB endorsement that Wilson clings to. The Schutt can be included in this discussion because it is using advanced D3O foam, keeping the weight and bulk down, but adds a feature by being exceptionally well ventilated. If it was any more hole-y, it would be blessed by the Pope! I’m still entertaining the idea of getting a +POS Cobra, and putting it through its paces – it uses a five-layer advanced foam sandwich, is less bulky than its ZRO-G sibling, but uses the same PVC shell plastic, thus lowering the overall weight and increasing flexibility. The Cobra and Force3 UnEqual Mk II are the two newest CPs on the market, and just look, well, right. All CPs can and will benefit from having a Flex-style harness, and the best Flex-style harness is @Razzer‘s UL “RayFlex” harness. Nothing about the Wilson Golds or Platinums make them more beneficial for collegiate or professional baseball. They’re both really good CPs in their own right, but not exclusive.
  7. Is this advice being given as/to a BU or as/to a PU? If to a BU, absolutely, if FPSR is judged, it should/shall be called. But if to a PU... What then? Especially with a quick touch of 2B and a release/throw, the BU is, as we’ve discussed throughout this thread, already turning/turned to watch 1B and the BR. The throw arrives, and F3 (F1 perhaps, rarely) either touches 1B or tags BR to bring a call of “Out!”. Meanwhile, the (retired) R1 has committed a FPSR violation that the PU sees from his vantage point. What is a PU supposed to do? More often than not, in this case, nothing is said by the PU during the play sequence because, oh well, the backend Out was made anyway. That’s what I meant by “not applied”, @ALStripes17. Usually, that backend out comes with no one else on base or is an IEDP (the third out). Sure, some crews might get together on the 1BL between innings and share that FPSR was violated, but what is the prescibed method? Yes, of course FPSR is a form of interference, thus, if the backend Out is only the 2nd Out – whether it be naturally completed or applied via penalty – then the offense should not be gaining an advantage. Runners should be returned (yes? I’m making sure). I’m mentioning this as encouragement / reinforcement to PU’s, some of whom may fail to apply FPSR, despite them seeing its occurrence, because the backend out of the DP at 1B was completed. So here again, what is the proper protocol to apply a FPSR violation penalty, by a PU, when the backend Out is completed anyway?
  8. Witnessed @KenBAZ do this first-hand (I was PU) and he nailed it. Which resolution is best for us, as an umpire crew? If a FPSR violation occurs post-F4/6 release, should the PU wait for the BU to come to him? Should the PU call time and go counsel the BU to coordinate a ruling/call? Or, should the PU just call it, tacking it on the end of the BU’s call of “Safe” at 1B of BR (because, of course, if BR is Out on the backend throw, FPSR is Interference isn’t applied). But we do have to consider it, especially with the results being 2 outs only, yes? Say we have R3 & R1, 0 Outs. Grounder to right side of infield, freezes R3 for a moment, then flips to F6 at 2B. Gets the out at 2B, throws on to 1B, and gets taken out in a FPSR violation. Throw to 1B gets BR... what occurs now? Do we put R3 back at 3B?
  9. What frame is this?

    Ah yes, the FM2000. This is/was the sibling to All-Star’s innovative FM4000. All-Star really put some thought and research into their new masks, and arrived at a design that employed shaped hollow tubes to gain strength and allow for (slightly, but still) greater visibility. They named this “I-Bar”, and incorporated these bars into a curved design and bar layout that further increased the strength and decreased the weight. By curving the brow (upper section), All-Star determined that the mask was more resistant to impact bends, as well as allowing more of the pads to make contact with the hat or helmet beneath it. The resulting bar layout has become iconic and almost trademark of All-Star, used on their tremendously popular MVP-25xx line of HSMs and the FM4000 TM. In those cases, the All-Star logo is present, whether it be on the shell of the HSM, or on the catcher’s helmet, or on his CP and shins, and the bar layout becomes a “secondary branding mark”. The FM2000, though, was made for umpires, who normally eschew any obvious branding marks (other than the Big Gold W). So, All-Star thought out a counter, and designed the bar layout on the FM2000 to be their logo. It also forgoes earguard struts because how often are umpires struck upon the earguards? It also allows the use of any type/brand of pads without having to cut a center split, like what has to be done in the FM4000.
  10. My thoughts on the 2017 World Series

    Do you not have a smartphone, Warren?? ESPN App streams the World Series feed for free!! We get to hear the best voice in baseball (currently), Dan Shulman. Only downside? Aaron Boone flapping his gums as a former player. Dan Shulman at the top of the 8th inning – “This is insane.”
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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).
  15. 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.”