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BlueRanger

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Everything posted by BlueRanger

  1. BlueRanger

    Back Up Mask

    Absolutely! They're also super annoying, since when they (over)crush it sounds like someone hacking at styrofoam with a box cutter. I'll probably order some TWs off UA with a throat guard in a week or two. I don't start fall ball until September.
  2. BlueRanger

    Back Up Mask

    Not to derail the thread, but I just got a new backup mask off of craigslist... Still in the wrapper... For $20...
  3. MESSAGE FROM @Thunderheads Original Post: Texas vs. Oklahoma PU sporting a Diamond with Team Wendys and a properly (!!!) attached Mizuno throat guard. Calling a great, consistent zone too! Kinda wish I had him when I played LL eons ago...
  4. The old mizuno catchers equipment bag I've been using has finally fallen apart, so I'm looking for a new bag. I have heard the Champro isn't very good, but it is pretty cheap. Some guys have said the Diamond and Force3 are awesome. And one of my partners heavily recommended the Wilson. What do you guys use? -BlueRanger
  5. BlueRanger

    Looking For A New Equipment Bag

    I don't fly around to umpire, though that does sound pretty fun! I asked a few of my association's vets for their advice and they suggested the Ebag for travelling and the Diamond or Champro if just putting it in the car.
  6. BlueRanger

    LLWS Discussion / Umpires / Plays / Etc ...

    Ok, I love the LLWS and all the rah rah for the never-appreciated umpires and volunteers. But, there are two things that irritate me out the wazoo with the LLWS, despite my enjoyment of the event otherwise. 1) ESPN Commentary Its awful. There is so much needless filler shoehorned into the broadcast its insane. If you took the filler out, there might be a solid five minutes of legit analysis of the game. 2) ESPN Graphics Pitch Speed: 71 MLB: 93 I actually thought "The Ocho" was doing a LLWS game the first time I saw this.
  7. BlueRanger

    LLWS Discussion / Umpires / Plays / Etc ...

    Max would've loved it, the PU for the N. California vs. Nevada game had a set of Wilson memory foams loaded on his mask with the 'dubya blacked out, You could only see it on the really up-close shots.
  8. BlueRanger

    LLWS Discussion / Umpires / Plays / Etc ...

    I like that they've stayed away from the professional uniforms, it reminds everyone that the LLWS is umpired by volunteers who donate their time, not professionals. I can understand why one would advocate for the pro uniforms though. Just my
  9. BlueRanger

    Apparel n' Equipment Guide v2

    ***Edited and restructured for ease of reading and clarity The New Ump’s Apparel n' Equipment Guide (Vol. 2) Created By: BlueRanger, July 2018 Note: I want to give a huge thank you to the numerous members of Umpire-Empire.com whose posts have contributed to the creation of this guide, including, but in no way limited to MadMax, BT_Blue, blue32, umpstu, Majordave, tpatience, Warren, and many more! The Basics - Quality, quality, quality - Make sure you order from a site with a good return policy, like UmpAttire.com - Make sure to properly measure your body for equipment sizing before ordering - Buy equipment according to the level protection required for the highest level you will call. (Ex: If you call 13u+ tournament ball and high school ball, then purchase equipment that will protect you well from HS pitching.) - It is better to spend money on quality equipment, and avoid preventable injury, than on medical bills and new equipment every time something breaks or wears down. - Do not use catchers gear for umpiring! =========================================================== I have broken this guide into sections and subsections according to each piece of plate equipment and clothing you can be expected to purchase. AND REMEMBER: IF IN DOUBT, ASK!! =========================================================== Masks Material Most modern umpire masks are made out of steel, aluminum, magnesium, or titanium. Steel: cheap and replaceable in case of bends Aluminum: won't break or bend, cost-effective Magnesium: if weld-less, won't break or bend, pricey to very expensive Titanium: rarely breaks or bends, thinner bars offer improved visibility, expensive Pads Often sorely neglected, pads are what make or break the mask. Stock pads are almost universally garbage and should be replaced with "Tech Pads" Team Wendy Pads: highly advanced pads containing Zorbium, which significantly lowers the force of impacts Wilson Memory Foam Pads: advanced memory foam pads, smoothly compress on impact to reduce force Should you find tech pads not to your liking, make sure that the pads you do choose have enough volume and do not excessively crush on impact You should replace your mask pads every 2 years, regardless of how frequently you umpire Throat Guards I cannot strongly recommend enough the importance of attaching a throat guard to your mask. I have seen too many people get caught in the throat by wild, bouncing pitches, even in my brief time as an umpire, so please don’t add yourself to the ranks. It’s also important to make sure your throat guard is long enough that, when it’s properly attached, it swings and smacks the upper part of your chest protector when you’re in your stance. If in doubt, get the longer one! DO NOT attach it to the bottom of the throat extension, as it is almost completely useless in that position. Instead, imagine your mask with the throat guard cut off, and attach it the lowest bar. Mask Fit Always wear your mask loose on your face, if you wear a traditional mask. This helps to prevent your head from absorbing the full impact of a shot, reducing the chance of injury. A good measure of appropriate looseness is to put on your mask and then bend over as if reaching for a ball on the floor. If your mask hangs off of your face enough that the lower pad is floating in open air a few inches from your face, then you’re good. Chest Protectors Soft Shell Soft shell CPs are primarily made of foam, though some do contain minor internal plastic plates to dissipate impact. These CPs are best used for lower velocity baseball and most levels of softball. DO NOT attempt to use these CPs at higher (60mph+) baseball, as they will not provide sufficient protection. Hard Shell Hard shell CPs, on the other hand, are mainly made of plastic attached to and/or covered in foam, which allows them to safely dissipate more forceful impacts from higher velocity baseballs and softballs. Chest protectors should entirely cover your ribs and your clavicle, if it doesn't, replace the harness or the chest protector itself. Shin Guards Shin guards are like cars: they'll all work, just to varying degrees of comfort. If doing lower level ball, any dedicated umpire shin guards will work fine. If doing upper level ball, it's advisable to get shin guards with better padding and/or higher quality plates. Protective Cups You need one. Period. Get a good one, like a shock doctor, nutty buddy, or other well-regarded brand. Plate Shoes Plate shoes should be worn behind the dish at every level of kid-pitch ball, as not doing so is begging for a broken foot. Many new umpires choose to forgo buying plate shoes due to their cost, and the inaccurate belief that the toe caps some shin guards come with are sufficient protection. Not to mention it looks remarkably unprofessional. =============================================================================== Hats Umpire caps come in three sizes, 4-stitch, 6-stitch, and 8-stitch "Stitch" refers to how many rows of stitching there are on the bill of the cap To start off, you should probably use a 4-stitch or "combo" hat when working the plate to develop good mask-removal technique Once you develop good technique, you may choose to move up to a higher stitch hat, just make sure that the bill stays within your mask You can use any size hat on the bases, though many umpires wear 6-stitch or 8-stitch hats on the bases Shirts Baseball: Unless your association requires specific colors, it's advisable to, at a minimum, have both light blue and black uniform shirts. I also recommended to have cream for the summer heat. Softball: Again, barring association requirements, you should probably have at least powder blue and navy.* *I don't umpire softball, so this is based off of what I can glean off the internet Belts Umpire belts are a staple of your appearance and should not be neglected. Belts come in either regular or patent leather, and should be worn snugly to keep your shirt tucked in, your pants looking good, and your ball bags sharp. Pants Baseball: Unless your association requires otherwise, you should have charcoal/dark grey pants. You should also have a pair of base and a pair of plate pants, as combo pants generally look like wearing gym sweats. Softball: Again, unless otherwise noted, you should purchase heather/light grey pants, have plate and base pairs. Pants come in poly-wool and poly-spandex material. Poly-spandex is more expensive, but is also lighter and more breathable. Poly-wools are usually cheaper, but are heavier and do not have the same ventilation properties. Make sure your pants are pressed to a clean crease Pro Tip: You only need to wash your pants when they smell or are dirty, needlessly washing them too often can cause them to fade quicker. Ball Bags Equally important not only as apart of your uniform, but also as a practical storage device. Should be of good quality material and have inside pockets for your brush, pen, indicator, etc. DO NOT GET A BALL BAG THAT HAS THREE BELT LOOPS AND OUTSIDE POCKETS These bags immediately make you look like an amatuer when you step on the field, not mention they absolutely suck at holding balls and your brush. Softball umpires often use navy ball bags, while baseball umpires typically use black.
  10. BlueRanger

    Apparel n' Equipment Guide v2

    On further reflection, Im going to remove that part. This is supposed to be a factual and informative guide, not my personal opinions. Thanks for the feedback!
  11. BlueRanger

    Apparel n' Equipment Guide v2

    Original guide restructuring has finished! Please continue to offer criticism so I can improve it. Thanks, -BR
  12. BlueRanger

    Back Up Mask

    Sounds like a perfect question for @MadMax
  13. BlueRanger

    Mask Porn?

    If you were wearing a black shirt it probably looks badass, but with blue and cream I would say there should be a bit more contrast. But, hey, to each his own. You were willing drop the big $$$ to get one, so who am I to critique?
  14. BlueRanger

    Mask Porn?

    If the straps were black or a really dark grey that would be one of the sexiest masks in existence imho.
  15. BlueRanger

    Looking For A New Equipment Bag

    Thanks!
  16. BlueRanger

    Apparel n' Equipment Guide v2

    Good idea! I'll include that in the reboot
  17. BlueRanger

    Apparel n' Equipment Guide v2

    Not sure if all, but most of those that I use recommend that. I'm restructuring this later in the week anyways.
  18. BlueRanger

    Situation From the Other Day

    @jmadigan001 I'm pretty darn close to you in age, and let me say right off the bat; thank you for seeking out the advice of our elders! Take what they say to heart, I guarantee you will quickly see yourself getting better and more confident. Now, the key to being taken seriously, and warding off a load of issues, is pure and simple professionalism. Now, don't interpret that as me accusing you of lacking it, crap, I just remember how unprofessional I was when I first started out compared to now, and I still see ways I need to improve my game management. I know it's a cliche, but it's true. So, based on your OP and remembering my experience from being your age a couple of years ago, I would recommend you do the following: 1) Remain the calmest and most even-keeled person in the entire complex. Nothing good ever comes from getting angry, even when it's totally reasonable to be. It also helps to either de-escalate the situation or make the guy yelling at you look like an unhinged fool. 2) The plate meeting is crucial. Take the time to write out the main points you need to cover (rule set, equipment check, etc.) and then practice reading it. This, and debate, did wonders for my stuttering and "uhh...ummmm"ing at the plate meetings. 3) Remember the 3Ps of ejections: Prolonged - Repeatedly bringing up past calls and refusing to cease and desist after saying their piece. Personal - Anytime a coach says "you suck" or "you're a disgrace" dump them. Profane - If a player or coach lets loose a four letter word, they're done. Keep an index card and pen on you or in your field bag so you can jot down what happened. I realize this is going to be imposing, and even a little scary if you're solo, but you are the authority on that field and need to be able and willing to bite back when someone crosses the line. Now, obviously, don't go dumping everyone because they look at you crooked. 4) Don't appeal everything to your partner just because the coach asks/demands. If they ask you to check on a swipe tag/pulled foot, that's one thing, but don't ever appeal a tag play at second to your partner unless you know with total certainty that you blew it. Appearing weak in the face of coaches arguing may buy you some temporary respite, but things will only go down hill from there, b/c now they think they can go umpire shopping for the call they like. Another thing on this: if your partner makes a call and the coach comes to you, the only thing you that should come out of your mouth is "Sir, you need to talk to partner, he made the call." I made this mistake early on, thank god, but it was indeed embarrassing to be getting gently shredded by someone I respected after the game. 5) LOTS of younger players see young umpires like you and me, and will often get chummy. Be kind of course, but professional, otherwise you'll start running into issues. 6) Find a training camp or clinic! I started out as an in-house rec umpire, and the training I received was very, very, very basic. Going to a camp or clinic will help you immeasurably, especially when you get behind the plate for kid-pitch. I'd recommend looking up free clinics run by your HS association, MLB camps in major cities (!!!), and maybe your region's Little League. And of course, keep asking questions here! 7) Hustle. Again, cliche, I know, but if it looks like you're trying to get in a good position to make the call, that looks really good on you, and helps your street cred on close calls. 8) Have some freaking fun man! Baseball is the greatest game on God's green Earth, and you get the best seat in the house! Edit: Found a great quote from @ElkOil on one of my first posts on the site. -BlueRanger
  19. BlueRanger

    Suggestions for CP?

    That's a reasonable point. I made that statement assuming we were talking about baseball, given how rare softball equipment threads are that aren't making fun of that Adams T-Shirt CP. I would agree that the iX3 is perfect for softball, but there are way better and cheaper options for baseball in my opinion. But thanks for bringing that up, I've never really thought about gear through a softball lens before.
  20. BlueRanger

    Apparel n' Equipment Guide v2

    Haha, I have been known to be a bit of a Diamond and Champro guy But yeah, looking at it a few days later, it seems like it would be a lot better if I went into greater detail on what to actually look for than just waving my hand in the general direction and hoping for the best. I'll toy around with it a bit later.
  21. BlueRanger

    Suggestions for CP?

    I borrowed an iX3 once, and those things are absolute GARBAGE. The foam crushes too much, the plastic is too thin, and the plates are far enough apart it's covered in weak spots. Don't get a Wilson CP at all. Way too bulky and hot in the summer, plus there are way better options out there as far as advanced protection and affordability. Personally, I have the 15in. Champion off a recommendation from @MadMax and I love it! It's really light, pretty breathable, and the protection for higher veolcities is fantastic. And did I mention it's a 1/3 the price of a Wilson?! Just make sure to order it from ump-attire.com, because every once in awhile a batch of plastic is too brittle and it'll get hairline cracks.
  22. BlueRanger

    Coach Buckets

    This past weekend I had a game on a field with really close dugouts and backstops, but still solid 11u baseball. Only problem came later in the game in the bottom of 4, R1, 1 out, FED rules, batter smokes one to the fence, R1 scores, and BR holds up at second after the throw gets sailed past third and skips off VHC's bucket. BR doesn't move off of second, nor did he attempt to move past second, and the ball is returned to the pitcher. HHC calls time and asks, respectfully, why we didn't award BR third, to which we reply, the ball skipping a few feet off the bucket had no effect on the outcome of the play. Honestly, neither of us had any clue what we should have done, but thankfully HHC politely said he disagreed and walked away. Did we get this right? I couldn't find anything on this from a quick google search in between games, so any help is appreciated. (We did not allow buckets on the field the next game, btw) Thanks, LBS
  23. BlueRanger

    Well If That Don’t Beat Al(l)...

    Where was this found listed for $70? The best I could find it listed for was $85 at EpicSports.... -LBS
  24. BlueRanger

    Champro Magnesium

    This sounds like a thread right up in the @MadMax wheelhouse. How does this mask compare to the Allstar Magnesium, besides being about half the price? And are the pads decent?
  25. BlueRanger

    Interesting Plate Stance

    Came across this plate stance tonight at one of our city's varsity games. The picture was taken prior to the pitch, just to be clear. I'm no expert by any stretch, but that stance just seems like a bad idea. Thoughts?
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