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Everything posted by MadMax

  1. MadMax

    Can we talk HSMs?

    The MVP4000 and MVP2500 are essentially the same unit, albeit the 4000 has more “creature comforts” (I think the pads are of a different laminate structure, and are removable?). You’ll find nothing new or appealing for umpires from Wilson. The Pro-Stock has one purpose, and one purpose only – to try and recover the lost catcher sales taken by All-Star, Easton, and Mizuno making technically, functionally, and the all-important aesthetically superior HSMs for catchers. They completely ignored that the Shock FX actually was better suited for umpires, and ended production of them in favor of the Pro-Stock. Now, is the Pro-Stock a top-notch catcher’s HSM? Absolutely! It’s night-and-day different than the Shock FX. It’s narrow through the jaw (better for throwing); it’s very minimalist and lightweight, with excellent sightlines, encouraging catchers to leave the unit on instead of dumping it in the ground. The forehead and crown are substantially well-padded and pronounced, so as to better protect and insulate catchers from forehead impacts due to their shorter position and inclination to drop their chin. The chin is nearly non-existent in a Pro-Stock, allowing a catcher to drop their chin with little-to-no hinderance. But as I’ve said countless times – how does this appeal to or protect an umpire? Prior to your purchase of a (used, nice find!) Force3 DfV2, I was going to suggest an Easton M10 or M7, both with outstanding construction and sightlines, adequate padding, and very budget-friendly. I had located M7’s for my “junior” and novice umpires for $60-$65.
  2. MadMax

    Mask Porn?

    Not really all that dramatic an upgrade, in my technical opinion. Aluminum has been employed by Diamond (first) and then by Wilson because it won’t bend, or at least is far less likely to. It’s a benefit for both you, the user, and them, the manufacturer – you are less likely to incur a problem (such as a bent frame or paint flaking off) that requires a return, while the manufacturer eludes the required replacement of your “defective” mask. Wilson lost a significant amount of money surrounding the “original” Wilson Titanium (the one that accompanied the WestVest Platinum debut) due to having replace many of them that bent. If a $50 steel mask bends, what do we typically do? Chuck it and buy a new one. If a $250 Titanium mask bends, what do we typically do, especially when we have the impression (or expectation) that Titanium is supposed to be super strong and resist bending? We gripe, complain, and demand a return and replacement. Thus, Aluminum presents 3 benefits over conventional steel – it’s light, it doesn’t bend, and it holds its color better than conventional steel treatments (paint and vinyl dip). One niggling problem though, is that Aluminum is a hassle to weld fast and cheap. The faster and less qualitative you weld it, the more brittle the welds become, and the chance of breakage – the welds popping – increases. Magnesium is a step in a different direction. While it’s incredibly light, it is unable to be welded. Instead, it needs to be bonded, and instant adhesives can only be trusted so far, while other, stronger adhesives such as epoxies and cements require curing time – which works against cheap mass production. All-Star was forward-thinking enough, however, to pursue die-cast magnesium alloy, thereby eschewing welds and bonds altogether. The FM4000 Mag is an injection-molded object, devoid of any welds, bonds, or overlapping joints. By comparison, the Champro Rampage is a die-pressed object, but it too is devoid of welds or bonds. Since both are Magnesium, though, they will never bend... but they will be impressively light and stiff. With such little mass, they are heavily dependent upon their pads. This characteristic is what prompted All-Star to reengineer their pads. The point of my opinion here is that whether you have a Titanium, Aluminum, or Magnesium mask, you aren’t really upgrading or downgrading if you’re switching from one model to another, at least how the frames go. You might be getting thinner bars (Titanium), or eliminating the propensity of bending (Magnesium), or settling on the best of both worlds at an affordable price point (Aluminum). Where you will truly see the difference is in the pads. It’s the pads, pads, pads. Which is why I have opted to use the “best” pads on the market with inexpensive hollow steel masks... four times over.
  3. MadMax

    All-Star FM4000 Bars Out of Shape?

    < covers Rock Bottom’s ears with his hands > Leave him be, @BT_Blue. He has an ideal gear setup. Not one thing on his list is blemished by that stupid “W”.
  4. MadMax

    Ebay finds

    I wasn’t slow. I’m from Wisconsin ... we are inherit hagglers and deal-hounds.
  5. MadMax

    3n2 plate shoes

    And this is why we shouldn't use Facebook. Why would you catch hell over stating the obvious fact?
  6. MadMax

    Schutt XV-HDX Question Re: Attachments

    Carapace. Same term used for the exoskeleton or hard shell of a beetle.
  7. MadMax

    Help with a couple of rules clarifications

    Here's this one: And then my post locates the other three for you...
  8. MadMax

    Multiple appeals

    Okay, so there's the first out. BR out on the caught fly ball. Everything from here on is a time play. Okay, so there's the second out. This is a live, "natural" appeal, and one of the umpires observed that R1 didn't properly tag up, and is ruled out. Now, likely by this point in time, R3 has crossed the plate and scored. Are you asking if they did? If the defense ignores it, then the run scores. If they keep the ball live, and throw over to 3B and appeal, and an umpire rules that R3 did not properly tag up, then there's the third out... and that run is removed from the board. In OBR, an appeal must be a live-ball appeal. So if Time was called after the 2nd out, then in order to conduct an appeal, the ball has to be made Live again (and we have to go through the entire rigamarole of the pitcher engaging, then the Umpire calling "Play", then F1 stepping off to throw over to 3B, and making an appeal... this is why it behooves everyone to keep the ball Live as much as possible). However, in Fed (NFHS), an appeal can be a Verbal, Dead-Ball appeal, so if Time was called after the 2nd out, then all a member of the defense and/or the coach needs to do is verbally ask (appeal) if R3 left early (did not properly tag). An umpire will judge and rule accordingly. If R3 did not properly tag, then again, that's the third out, and the run is removed from the board. If the defense omits or declines to appeal, and conducts a pitch, then any appeal is waived and the run stands. Were you perhaps thinking of a different situation? Like, say... R3, R1, and 1 out?
  9. MadMax

    Ejecting Fans

    @catsbackr, I’m going to throw you a curve ball... my intent is not to oppose you, nor tell you you’re wrong. I’m actually very much in the same camp as you, that we – for the most part – have no jurisdiction over what goes on in the stands. Our jurisdiction is the game as it is conducted within the confines of the fence by the game participants. If, however, game participants are being affected by the actions or conduct of those beyond the fence, then as the impartial adjudicator of the game, we are compelled to do something. Let’s go to one extreme... let’s say that somebody (not some oblivious toddler or kid) starts pointing a laser pointer at the batter or pitcher at an amateur game (I won’t say pro or college, because there are a host of ballpark or league staff that will respond to the situation and will handle it). This cannot continue, as this is distracting, unnecessary, and dangerous. Sure, the player can point this out, and even figure out who the person with the pointer is. Thing is, in an environment absent of ethics and impartial officials, that player can’t force that person to stop, nor will that person be compelled to stop. So yes, we do have that authority. In this case, we have the authority to pause the game, identify the perpetrator, order a stop to their actions, and if necessary, their departure or removal from the stands (and likely ballpark). And, we are under no obligation to resume the game until that issue has been resolved. So let’s go from laser pointers to racial slurs and epithets... How about death threats? Extreme, yes, but in this day and age, anything is possible. My point is, Cats, that as we deny we have authority, we undermine and defeat ourselves when we are faced with a situation that truly warrants a righteous response or action to be taken. What we do need to do, and this is to bolster your own point, is fully understand and temper when, where, and how to employ that authority.
  10. MadMax

    Schutt XV-HDX Question Re: Attachments

    What didn’t you like about it? Why wasn’t it appealing to you (any longer)? You’re not going to hurt my feelings, and I not going to actively try to change your mind... I just want to identify the factors that compelled you to these decisions. There are actually 4 harnesses to consider: The ULFH “RayFlex” harness that started it all, the All-Star DeltaFlex, the Force3 NewFlex, and the Wilson About-Bloody-Time-Gettin’-to-It harness. As noted, @Razzer started this all, making a harness based off harnesses for hockey goalies, who require, as a matter of personal health, their chest protectors not to move. He has an entire background story, and it’s an enlightening account, I’m just paraphrasing for brevity. His harness is still the best of the lot, because he uses a particular combination of neoprene and elastic strap that is comfortable and durable. And, he’s even so kind as to personalize each one, if you’re so inclined. All-Star recreated Ray’s design when they debuted the DeltaFlex. Initially made for catchers, it soon featured on their System 7 CPU4000 hardshell chest protector (which itself is one of the best on the market that no one seems to know about). Prior to getting to know and meeting Ray, I had a DeltaFlex due to its availability from Ump-Attire. Its lone drawbacks are that the upper rigging straps are static nylon (ie. not elastic), and rather short. It was designed to be used with the shape of the CPU4000. Force3 discovered that one of the significant flaws in their revolutionary UnEqual chest protector is that if worn loose, the CP is then slapped against the wearer’s body when the CP takes an impact. Sure, the Kevlar is absorbing the energy from the ball, but the CP itself is being forced to move by that energy too... and if there’s a space, or gap, between the CP and the body, the CP will deform and slap against the body. Conventional strap-&-yoke harnesses just never get the CP tight enough, nor hold it there for very long, especially during activity. So, instead of telling users to “make do”, “pound sand”, or buy someone else’s solution (as the big W is apt to do), Force3 introduced their harness. Like the DeltaFlex, it has static rigging straps, but they are notably longer. The torso straps are a very heavy, high-resistance elastic, and it comes equipped with two new side-release buckles to marry with the existing buckles on the UnEqual. If you get a Force3 NewFlex to use on a different CP, you can... simply remove those SR buckled and use the appropriate fasteners for your CP. That brings me to the fourth harness... the late arrival to the party... the Wilson model. It only took them just short of 20 years to finally do something about their woeful, pathetic strap-&-yoke harness on the Gold and Platinum CP’s causing umpires everywhere – including the MLB guys in The Show – to repeatedly, constantly shift their CPs around, readjust them on the fly, and to look like big, hulking brutes. The harness itself is good, and I suppose that if you’re unaware or ignorant to Ray’s and All-Star’s solutions (or think that Wilson is some divine-to-umpires sacrilege), the use of this harness on your Gold or Platinum is a significant improvement that will keep you safer. The other thing to consider, in regards to the Force3 and Wilson harnesses, is that they are narrower than the other two. Some all-too-slim umpires may have a RayFlex or DeltaFlex bottom out, and the CP still isn’t snug despite the root of the straps right up against the buckles or clasps. For these slender guys, I do recommend a Force3 or Wilson harness... ... and some donuts.
  11. MadMax

    F3 v2 fit

    A traditional mask should bounce and easily spin on the face. Fit a conventional mask to your face, and bounce around a bit on your feet, and the mask should bounce around, too. Get into your plate stance and crouch, and the mask should be very lightly touching your jaw, such that if you tilt your head down, someone could effortlessly lift it off your face. This loose fit encourages you to take your mask off (easily) on every play you have to move to (such as Fair/Foul up the line, or a rotation to 3B). The reason for this is the energy from an impact is captured by the mask, and is less likely to transfer all of its kinetic (direct) or torsional (rotational) energy load to your face. Not so much with the Force3 Defender. Here, with this advanced traditional mask, the active spring suspension is designed to capture the majority of that energy. The pads provide final resistance, but they need to be in contact with your face; the springs need something to push back against. So, you want to keep the mask pads as still and in contact with your face as much as possible. Thus, you want it tight enough so that you stretch the harness only to take the mask off and put it on, and then once on, there is still elastic tension holding it snug to your face. You do typically wear out the elasticity of harnesses sooner on the Force3 because of it... Here’s where a shameless plug for @Razzer‘s “AboutFace” mask harness (I’m throwing word putty at the wall, Ray, forgive me) comes in: his mask harness is constructed in much the same way as his CP harness, using neoprene, and has 3D elasticity to it that holds its shape much more durably than typical nylon elastic. It really is ideally suited for the Force3 Defender.
  12. MadMax

    All Star 4000 UMP vs 4000 MAG

    No welds = no additional or lapped material to peer through. No welds = no breaking Magnesium = no bending Now, the only problem with it being magnesium is the lower density means stiff, instant transfer of impact energy to the pads. Diamond would kill people if they produced this mask. All-Star is really making big strides with this mask by implementing active, expert feedback (from catchers, but still), which resulted in the new jaw pads, with their hard-cast distribution plate and increased volume, and the newly (finally! took you companies long enough!) redesigned hard hat (skull cap) with dampening insert. All-Star does great things for catchers because catchers are wearing their products for 7-9 innings at a go! Hmmm... who else is actually wearing a mask for 14-18 innings at a go? If only we had “our company” step up and do something for us!
  13. MadMax

    3n2 plate shoes

    I raved about them until they turned into the nastiest little goblins imaginable. I am unable to wear Reeboks, and the NB M460 originals were Frankenstein-like heavy and cumbersome. I wanted low cuts oh-so-badly, and was delighted by how lightweight the 3N2’s were... until I got stepped on, and they got gouged... and both protective toe caps shattered, with pieces moving around and protruding into the toe box... and the material started to fade... and then wrinkle and flake apart... and then the stitches and seams gave out... all within about six months. Yeah, when you do some 150-200 plate games per year, it takes a heavy toll on your gear. I’d have to classify the 3N2’s as hobby shoes, where you’re doing around 20 plates per year. @Jimurray, if you did favor the original NB M460’s, do note that Smitty bought the planform and is producing it under their own name.
  14. MadMax

    Schutt XV-HDX Question Re: Attachments

    @catsbackr, not everything is going to come, ready to wear, sized to you. I give Ump Attire some props, they actually ship the XV in a box ideally suited to keeping it curved. Other places flatten it out, and our fellow umpires naively wear it like a shop apron. And the “neck too narrow” issue? I can fix that. Heck, I’ve had to fix that on a Platinum before!
  15. MadMax

    Schutt XV-HDX Question Re: Attachments

    @Rock Bottom, the way to properly adjust and fit this (and indeed, any) CP is to take all the attachments off. All of them, including the shoulder pauldrons (the caps you’re talking about). Even the harness! You should be left with the base carapace plates that are riveted together – the main chest plate, the lower torso plate, the two shoulder arch plates, and the two ailettes (gap protectors). The foam jacket should still be attached, but I’ve even gone so far as to remove that too, especially when I’m trying to get the best fit possible. The next, most critical step I do is to locate the billow pad, and make sure it is centered between the shoulder arch plates and just above the chest plate. That billow pad is to be at, or just below, your Adam’s apple. Sometimes, these CPs ship flat(tened), and you’ll start to see the problem... the shoulder arch plates are supposed to be curved, or bent, to go up and over your shoulders. So, this is where I employ a heat gun (a hair dryer works) to heat up, soften, and then bend those arch plates. It’ll take a few passes – heat up, bend it, let it cool, try it on – until you get it closer to where it needs to be. Attach the harness, and now start trying it on while securing the harness. You want the harness snug enough to hold the CP to your body in two directions: over your shoulders, obviously, which is what we’ve been working on; the other is cylindrically, around your torso. If you have a narrow body frame, you may need to bend the chest plate slightly to create a better, trimmer fit. You may also realize that you don’t need the pectoral wings afterall. Once I have the vest and carapace positioned where I want it, I have someone give me a hand on positioning the shoulder pauldrons. Use a pencil, a chalkstick, or a silver sharpie to position the pauldrons upon your shoulders, and then (have person) mark on the shoulder arch plates where the Velcro tabs of the pauldrons need to be anchored. Take the CP off, separate the vest from the carapace at those points, and stick the pauldrons in, lining up on those marks. Try it, adjust it, repeat until ideal. At this point, you may recognize that the ailettes are too low (like @wolfe_man and I do), or you may favor them there. Then, you may want to reattach the pectoral wings. Last, you can finally determine, properly, whether or not you want the tummy-protectin’ abdomen extension. Far too many times, guys wear their CPs way too low so as to protect their tummy. The carapace itself, on any CP, is not intended for that. Add the extension, if you must. At this point, too, if you want to reattach and use the bicep guards, you can. The real mind-blowing thing about this CP is, like the Force3 UnEquals and Champion P2xx’s, that once fully and properly adjusted to you, you can wear the same size shirt on the bases as you do the plate (unless you do college ball on TV, where you guys wear shirts 2-sizes tight and have the sleeves tailored)! No more wearing a muumuu on plate because you’re wearing a bulky, couch-esque CP! This is not to be worn like a shop apron!
  16. MadMax

    Why Follow The Pitch Into the Mitt?

    This needs to be framed, posted, shared and circulated to every baseball facility where coaches – especially amateur coaches of levels less than or outside of sanctioned High School ball – frequent. Invariably, at these venues, is the the air split with the sound of, “Oh come on, Blue!! His mitt didn’t move!!!” ... despite said catcher setting up in the opposite batter’s box.
  17. MadMax

    Cheap pants?

    @Aging_Arbiter, I was trying to confirm my suspicion... That's where I first started out umpiring – SE Wisconsin.
  18. MadMax

    Cheap pants?

    @Fid00 – Plates? Bases? Combos? I might have pants available, already hemmed. And M.A.J.O.R. YBL puts you... in which state?
  19. MadMax

    Mic'd up

    This isn’t a public event, though. The OP is explicitly posing this within High School. Most High Schools may be public institutions, but there are minors involved, and they are not public access.
  20. MadMax

    Ebay finds

    Sure there is. It’s a non-critical joint. In fact, if I took a good examination of it, that actually might be the end joint, butted together, and really poorly spot-welded. Titanium is a PITA to weld because it oxidizes so rapidly. In the case of steel, this oxidation is much slower and it is reductive. We call it rust. Titanium oxidizes by transfiguration, and the outer layer becomes a hardened skin, unable to be permeated or bonded. In order to weld it, the welder either has to act very quickly or has to pass a charge through it to stave off the oxidation process. So, to fix that via welding, the joint has to cleaned with acid, then the mask needs a charge passed through it and re-welded. Or, a ferrule could be crimped around it, just to immobilize it. That might be the easiest, cheapest, most effective way to do it.
  21. MadMax

    All American CP? Paint chipping off padding

    I wouldn’t drill, I would lance, especially with that kind of foam you have. It lends itself very well to melting, and thereby self-cauterizing. Drilling would just tear it. How to lance? Get a propane or butane torch, an oven mitt, and a length of copper (or brass) pipe in the desired width of the holes you want to make. The plumbing section of a Home Depot, Lowes, or Menards is where I’d start, but if those pipes are not small enough, there are typically smaller pipes, or tubes, in the air compressor sections for use in repairing air compressor components, or in craft work. Lay out the pattern you want on the foam, and then superheat the pipe until it’s nearly glowing hot (oven mitt to protect your hand! I use welding or forge gloves), then start punching or lancing the pipe down and through the foam, in rapid succession until the pipe cools off enough and the foam begins to resist. Reheat and repeat. As far as how to laminate the two foams together, I would try a sprayable contact cement like Scotch (or is it 3M?) Super-77. We used that to great extent when pressing prints to styrofoam and gator boards.
  22. MadMax

    Mic'd up

    Are you asking as an umpire, or as a non-umpire (coach)? If as an umpire, several others have given you responses, and rules aside, things will go very badly, if not far worse, for you if it’s discovered you’ve got a recording device in an amateur game without full disclosure of such. Professional games are microphoned (either directly or via a shotgun microphone aimed at the PU) by MLB for their own purposes. Within that, those recordings are rarely shared with the public, and if they are, it’s done very strategically. Same goes for the NCAA, which has mic’d up PU’s in conjunction with the broadcast partner (SEC Network, ESPN, etc.) for specific games for insight into how those games are conducted. Of course, the NCAA and the broadcast partner retain those rights; coaches, umpires, and other participants are fully aware of what’s being disclosed. Within that, there is a representative of the NCAA monitoring those recordings in real time, and is not going to allow the broadcast partner to replay (or “air”) a portion that puts a coach or umpire (and thus, the Association) in a poor light. NFHS has no such provision. If, as @Mattsays, an assigning association of responsibility inquires or directs you to wear a recording microphone, then they are accepting the ramifications of it. But if you’re doing this, independent of their knowledge or authority? You’ve just stepped into a steaming cowpie of liability. Devoid of Association authorization, do you want to learn how to handle situations-in-review? Simple – talk less. If you’re asking as a coach, then so-help-you if you’re found to have a recording device inside the confines of the field (this includes the dugout), let alone concealed on your person so as to catch me or one of our colleagues in a “gotcha!” moment. In tournament baseball, I’ve had to admonish the occasional coach who wants to record his kid or prized player during their at-bat or while pitching. I tell them, sternly but still with a sprinkle of humor, that they can either be a coach or a photographer, but not both, and not on this field. I’ve shut down coaches who have been handed a smartphone or tablet by someone outside the fence, claiming “we have the play right here!”, with something along the lines of, “If you bring that over here, you’ll be ejected”. In these same tournaments, we often have the TD and his staff recording the game (with a GoPro or iPod Touch located just behind the backstop) to use for analysis and promotion. As an umpire, I’m fully aware this is taking place, but I have no “right” or latitude to go “outside the fence” and consult that video after a play; neither should a coach.
  23. MadMax

    Schutt XV-HDX Question Re: Attachments

    That spherical shoulder cap plate thing is a shoulder pauldron (French), and while I don't like how Schutt used minimal velcro to make it re-positionable, I understand why they did it. The "gap coverage" plate is an ailette (again, French), and in my and @wolfe_man's technical opinion, is set too low by default, so we kill the rivets, move it up by about an inch or so, and then re-secure it with Chicago Screws. Once you figure out where you want the shoulder pauldrons to be, you can drill through the ABS of the shoulder arch plate and again use Chicago Screws to "permanently" attach them. Another route to consider is what I'm likely to do soon... get a whole bunch of adhesive velcro stock from eBay. Of course, Velcro is the trade name, but it's also known as hook-&-loop. Over time and use, the velcro on the underside of the carapace plates gets dirty and loses its tackiness, and starts to separate from the plates. So, we can take out the old velcro and replace it with more and newer velcro.
  24. MadMax

    New All-Star Skull Cap SC500

    They're getting closer, but not quite right (yet)... "Why do you say that, Max?" On which end is the advanced, closed-cell, shock-absorbing liner foam? Uhhhh...yeah. The backside. Why's it on the backside? Because catchers wear this "backwards", with the bill in the back... Uhhhh... yeah. Again, great for catchers, not for umpires. Besides, the bill is too broad for umpires. Non-issue for catchers. #StartConsideringUmpires #BuildForU(mp)s
  25. MadMax

    All American CP? Paint chipping off padding

    Yeah, what he said. ... although, I have this odd feeling that Keith took notes during one of my rants over the phone, and just paraphrased it. Anyhow, Keith is dead on that you don’t want to use closed cell foam alone. If it was that easy, Wilson would have done it already. Instead, you want to augment that closed cell foam and layer it with at least one other open-cell or open-lattice (think super big gaps) foam acting as a “sizing foam”. Then, you sandwich them between a durable netting or anti-scuff fabric on the outer surface, and a hydrophilic wicking fabric on the inner surface, and you’ve got the basis of your foam jacket. You’ll want to segment it. You could strategically locate thicker segments at critical points, or put reinforcement in where the means of attaching it to the carapace are to go, but it works to your best interest to map this all out and plan it to fit you... ... and the next one of us you’re bound to sell this to. All-American’s plastic plates are far denser and more survivable because they were molded here in the States. China’s manufacturing of plastics is lighter and thus more brittle because they’re trying to shave every ounce they can off a unit so as to pack as many as possible in a container for transoceanic shipment. I think critical step number one is locating and obtaining a technical wicking fabric with which to re-skin the foam jacket on that AA... that will be a big hurdle cleared.