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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/06/2023 in all areas

  1. For those not in the know, I'm in the 14th year of my umpiring career, and am faced with an inevitability. Barring some medical miracle wherein cartilage can be regrown via some pill you ingest, I'm going to need my hip replaced. In late 2019, I started to experience a shooting, stabbing, lancing (how many more weapons can I employ?) pain down my left leg as I would move around on the baseball field. It would be most evident when I was on Plate, shifting my weight from one foot to the other between pitches, or when coming out of my plate stance and moving to my left (as in a rotation to 3B). As a Base Umpire, it would occur any time I would start or stop a move to my left. Pivoting – not that I ever did it often, because I favor the Dash & Glance – was near-impossible without severe pain. Of course, the s#itshow pandemic of 2020 took me off the field (and kept me out of the gym and fitness centers) for 2 months, and when we resumed baseball, my leg was somewhat better. I attributed it to "giving it a chance to rest / heal". So I went thru the rest of the 2020 summer season, but it wasn't getting all that better. In fact, it got worse. I limped on through the fall of 2020 season, into the 2021 season, and in the 2021 summer season, it got bad. So I consulted my resident expert – my brother, who is an orthopedic surgeon – and after a full imaging and examination session, dropped on me the bad news. I had arthritis. Well, not just any run-of-the-mill arthritis, but in my left hip, I had severe cartilage damage, bone spurs, calcium nodules, and the head of my femur was shaped like an axe head. The inflammation was so acute, it was pressing on my sciatic, thus the "oh my God!" stabbing pain. His advice? Anti-inflammatories, and lose 20 pounds, and "we'll see where we're at in 6 months" as far as if there were cortisone or steroid injections next. I lost the 20 pounds, worked out on a regular basis, but when I tackled the spring of 2022 season, started with a month at Wendlestedt Umpire School, I really got beat up. My hip got worse (again), and it really showed in limited mobility running drills on a daily basis at HWUS. I finally got in to see my brother again, but this time, he included his hip specialist colleague on the consult, and within a few minutes of observed movement, and one more imaging session, they confirmed that I needed a hip replacement. I was down to 20% cartilage left in my hip socket. No injections necessary, or would help. I would have to prepare myself to become a cyborg. The surgery was set for November 17th, 2022. I undertook the entire 2022 summer and fall baseball seasons with that anticipated... I was going to get a new hip in November. I wrapped up the fall season, and headed back home, ready to face surgery... but then was dealt a concerning blow. When the Orthopedic Clinic (OAW) presented my Health Insurance Provider (HIP, ain't that ironic??) with a "Preparatory Invoice", my HIP rejected it, and stated they would not cover it. I'd be looking at a $27K surgical procedure, with no insurance, requiring a $15K down payment. Yeah, no, I'm not that type of umpire. My only other option was to obtain a new HIP (health insurer, not hip, which I was supposed to get), but the complication there was that coverage would not be enacted until January 1st. So I had to postpone my surgery. In the meantime, I obtained new insurance (goodbye previous non-insurer!), but lo-and-behold... I was hired to another college conference, and both my existing conference and the new one started to assign me games, beginning with late January. So, I had to arrive at the decision to further postpone my surgery (there is a minimum requirement of 2 weeks in close proximity to the clinic so as to clear infection protocols) so as to not affect my forthcoming college schedule. So, one more 4-month prescription of the ultra-anti-inflammatories was made out (which really dry me out; I'm practically poopin' rabbit pellets), chomp on the gum and wince-my-way-through-it, and I'm projecting I'll have the surgery in May. How much worse can it get? As long as I keep movin', then that won't allow the joint to freeze and lock up completely! 🥶 🤕 For all those who've heard most of the story already, and have been wishing me well, thank you for your support. It's not going unappreciated and undervalued. If ya hear any creakin', groanin', or the sound of grinding like an ol rusty train throwing on the brakes from the next field over... it's only me, doing a game.
    6 points
  2. Since language is not race based, it can't be racist behavior. The adjective you might use that's a better fit is xenophobic since most Americans choose to communicate in one language and their language of choice is English. And to answer your question, there is no way of not looking xenophobic (or ignorant) when demanding that people speak only one language. The same teams may also have an advantage because their players are better or their coaches are more effective in teaching the game. Should those teams use fewer players or forget what they learned because their opponents are fat, awkward, and have awful fundamentals? If being able to know what your opponents are communicating, the use of signals would be prohibited by rule. It is not and there are some organizations that frown upon opponents trying to steal those secretive communications. Almost every state in the country requires that students take language courses other than English and almost every person graduating American schools leave being somewhat fluent in only their native tongue. Most American families place no value on continuing a multilingual heritage. Hence, if one group has an advantage because they are multilingual they should use it to the fullest. If those who do not understand the chosen language are uncomfortable in their ignorance there are ways to rectify the situation that have nothing to do with banning languages other than English. My .02. YMMV
    6 points
  3. I’m surprised someone with umpiring knowledge would fall for the unwarranted media driven criticism that drives the ignorant public opinion of a professional umpire.
    6 points
  4. Welcome to the ranks and the ways it gets complicated ... If you believe it was malicious, make sure you can explain your reason for ejecting or not ejecting. That's my standard. If possible, do not eject immediately, gather your thoughts, talk to your partner if you need to. It is far better to eject after you show the situation was considered and you are certain. NEVER "uneject" if you pulled the trigger too fast and changed your mind. Two different examples of plays at the plate that I had in recent years, which I will do my best to explain: Play 1: R3 is coming home and, while the ball is coming in, there is no play going to be made. Catcher is out in front of home plate, but not by much. He is not obstructing. R3 dips his shoulder and chucks the catcher in the back as R3 crosses home. He didn't drop his shoulder in an effort to miss the catcher and accidentally get him (which is what his coach claimed). Malicious? Pretty obvious. So what did I see? I cannot say, "He hit him. Hard." Too hard." My explanation to his coach for ejecting R3: R3 had a clear path to and through the plate. I saw R3 dip his shoulder, grab his forearms as if preparing for an impact which could only be created by him altering his course and "launching" at the catcher. The runner was not being carried by momentum as he changed direction. Play 2: R3 (who is a BIG kid) is coming home and the throw has him easily beat. About 20 feet from home he stops and starts retreating to third by running backwards (still facing home plate). The catcher, with the ball, starts to chase him. As the catcher goes to apply the tag, R3 begins to fall backwards and the catcher starts to go down with him. To some people, it looked like a tackle. What did I see that I did NOT eject the catcher? I saw the catcher move for the tag and the runner start to go down first. Since the runner was falling down, there was nothing to stop the catcher and he went down on top. Unfortunately, R3 took offense to the perceived "hard tag," hopped up, and went after the catcher and was ejected for that. My explanation to the coach *and to the runner, who came to talk to me after the game* : I saw the catcher extend the tag and it would have been just that if the runner had stayed upright. Since the runner began to fall backward first, the catcher's momentum took him down the same path. The catcher did not leap or launch at the runner, he leaned and reached out. There was nothing to indicate he was out to hit, push, or tackle the runner. The coach and the player were content with the explanation (and explanation why the runner was ejected for going after the catcher). After the game, the runner was one of the nicest kids I have met in the game. He was apologetic and sincere about wanting to know what happened. TLDR: Contact is going to happen. Hard contact is going to happen. If you think it is malicious, you best be able to explain exactly why (including where the line was that was crossed). While that POE (and Merriam-Webster) uses the term "intent to injure" I would caution against that as your standard. A deliberate act done recklessly can still be grounds for ejection. You will always hear, "I didn't intend to injure him, I was just trying to get him out of the way." If a reasonable person would look at the action and conclude harm would come, consider it the same as malicious.
    5 points
  5. I agree, if it is more of a clinic, and I'm not working the whole game. Rotate people in and out, get feedback, absolutely. Training is always good. However (here comes a rant), I've decide this year I'm not working for any organization that requires me to pay dues or give game fee kickbacks. Why the F*#K should I have to pay to work SH*#ty minimum wage games with lousy working conditions? Here's an idea, pay me for the games I work, and the association can figure a way to get their money from the customers. What the F*#K is this crap paying dues? I'm sick of it and not doing it anymore. Paying someone for the privilege of working a crappy job? Really? Golly, we have problems getting umpires. Here's an idea. Lets charge them $200.00 up front before we start paying them. That's a great idea, let's put up more barriers to recruitment. Lets make that SH*#ty paying job even more SH*#ty. What a F*#King archaic and antiquated system. Seriously, why do we put up with this? You either pay me to work games with no up front fees or kickbacks, or I'll be happy to work LL games for free, and not put up with HS coaches and players, or adult babies that think they still might get that pro contract. At least with LL I almost always get an appreciation for what I do, and something out of the snack-bar, as well as having a good time with my partner. I'm not doing pay to play any longer.
    5 points
  6. Meeting tonight and a D1 post-season ump said "How do you get a rule changed? Enforce it exactly as written"
    5 points
  7. Mizuno frame stripped and powder coated flat black, mizuno catcher pads, mizuno harness and mizuno shovel. Mizuno all around! FYI, if you strip the vinyl off a steel mask, it makes it significantly lighter. I stripped this one and a dyna lite and they’re gonna be my two gamers this year
    5 points
  8. The "hybrid" is in quotes because it is not a defined position and a "hybrid" windup position would be illegal in HFHS if the pivot foot was parallel to the rubber. So best to use the rule and not say the "hybrid" is legal. The angular pivot foot windup, free foot allowed anywhere, is legal until the pivot becomes parallel. While OBR and NCAA allow a sideways pitcher with a parallel pivot foot to windup, declaring a windup if runners are on, NFHS does not allow a windup from parallel pivot foot position.
    5 points
  9. Exactly. Not that anyone asked, but here's my two cents (of course, I'm not GOD and I'm not even a moderator on any umpire forum...so this is just my opinion): Making a post that includes a "pot shot" at an umpire (whether they are MLB, NCAA, or some other level) is not appropriate on an umpiring message board. All of us who are umpires know how hard it is to umpire. Furthermore, we also know that even when we do our jobs nearly perfectly we still may be thrown under the bus by the media, coaches, and fans (See: Sam Holbrook infield fly and Sam Holbrook RLI calls). So, to have pot-shots thrown at you by your own fellow umpires (when they, of all people, know what its like) is just wrong. Furthermore, and most importantly, when non-umpires see umpires bashing a particular umpire those non-umpires' poor behavior is reinforced leading to more abuse being hurled at said umpire. The first thing a non-umpire (i.e. a coach or player) is going to say if someone tells him to "stop it" is that he was "only doing what other umpires were also doing." He is going to defend his behavior by saying "but a bunch of umpires were doing the same thing!" Now to come and make a post about a specific play/game and write, "I think the umpire got it wrong" (or something similar)...in an attempt to learn or to share with others an umpire's mistake so others can avoid the same mistake is perfectly legitimate. (As long as that post doesn't also include a gross over-generalization. For instance, posting "Angel Hernandez today had a play at first that I think he got wrong. Does anyone else agree and if so what can I do to avoid that mistake" is a perfectly legitimate post. However, posting "that GOD-awful Angel Hernandez screwed up another one today! How does he keep his job? How could he have made that mistake? What do you think he did wrong to end up making such a bad call," is an entirely inappropriate post on an umpire message board. Go post that SH*# on ESPN.com or Fox Sports.) For the record, this a two-way street. There is a habit of upper-level umpires bashing Little League umpires every year when Little League takes over ESPN in August. Its just wrong to do that. Again, its one thing to state your opinion in a private conversation held in a locker room with your fellow umpires. Its another thing to write it on a public forum or to say it in a public setting. I, personally, have tried over the last couple of years to actually go out of my way (especially on Facebook) to praise Little League umpires who have made a good or great call in a televised game. (In fact, I've become Facebook friends with a couple of them who happened to see my post and requested to "friend me". I'm all the better for having "met" them (at least in cyberspace)). Finally...and as an aside...MLB (and MiLB umpires) don't live in a vacuum. They never bought into Richie Phillps' claim that all MLB umpires are exactly equal in ability. They know who are the "studs", who are the "good umpires", and who constitutes "a guy who needs to retire". FWIW, Angel has/had a lot of guys who really like him and respect him. Just another indication (from the true experts on what it takes to umpire on the MLB level) that Angel is no where near being a horrible, terrible umpire.
    5 points
  10. I'm in the camp of don't do this, ever. In fact, it is a mission of mine to eradicate it from every umpires plate meeting, for a number of reasons. Coaches aren't listening at the plate meeting anyway, they want to get the game going. Keep the plate meeting short and sweet, a couple of minutes is plenty of time. A good plate meeting, with some modifications if necessary, is as follows: 1. Introductions. 2 Line ups. 3. Field or ground rules. 4. Done. Some organizations want changes given to the scorekeeper (LL), so you can mention how you want those done. If there are time limits, mention those, as well. (Usually travel ball.) Coaches also should know how to approach umpires on a play. If they don't, they are going to get a lesson from me very quickly. The plate meeting is not a rules clinic. I cannot stand when plate umpires start bloviating about all sorts of stupid things such as, but not limited to: sportsmanship, it's for the kids, a diatribe about safety, etc. By using the aforementioned verbiage about coming out on call, you've just told the coach that they can question every call, and they also now believe that you will get with your partner every time they ask. That is what they hear, and that is what they expect. Now they are just going to fish for calls on every ruling they don't like. I can't tell you how many times as a BU, that I grit my teeth when the PU says this. Then invariably, a coach will come out on a straight judgment call, and expect me to go to my partner for "help". And then I have to explain to them that it's my call, and I'm not going for help. Sometimes it's a longer discussion with varying degrees of sternness on my part, depending on the coaches. And I will usually get, "you guys said you'd get together on calls." (Because that's what they heard.) And yes, it has resulted in an ejection at times. So no, IMO, umpires should not say this, and remove it from their repertoire if they do.
    5 points
  11. ...and I would respectfully ask then that MLB stop putting out a message of "We are a league that is committed to getting every call correct." No, you're not. You're a league that is in the entertainment business and committed to getting as many calls correct as you can, with as few delays to the game and of course maximizing profits. Paying customers are already exasperated at the pace of play and the length of time a baseball game takes to be played. If the league was truly committed to getting every call correct, the history of baseball would not be littered with so many incorrect calls or calls that weren't made that should have been. It's fine. It's fine. It's all fine. People everywhere need to remember that the #1 function of MLB and all pro-sports is to make money NOT to preserve or provide a pristine and sanitized competitive sanctum. ~Dawg
    4 points
  12. It would make more sense if you/FED remove the comma before your (3). 2 and 3 are only penalized if a hidden ball trick is being attempted. 2 is kind of redundant.
    4 points
  13. First of all, kudos for getting out in front of this. Most players receive no training on batter INT, and those that do often get the myths. Next, the rule: the batter is permitted to be in the box and to swing at the pitch. That's it: any "other action" makes him liable for INT. If he takes the pitch and stands there as F2 throws to 3B, he cannot (properly) be called for batter INT, no matter what F2 does. Note that one of the options you're giving your players, "turn/cover your face or crouch straight down," is not strictly permissible. In amateur ball (including FED games), I would distinguish between crouching and a small turn of the head away from the throw: the crouch could make a player liable for INT, but simply turning the head away would be fine. When F2 misplays the pitch, the situation changes. Where before the batter was fine to remain stationary, now he must actively avoid interfering (assuming he has time to do so). So, yes, he must get out of the way of F2 fielding his misplayed ball. BUT: 2 additional points there. First, F2 screwed up, so that lowers the burden on the batter. I'm looking for a bona fide effort to get out of the way, even if he does not entirely succeed. Second, that runner is going to get to 3B while the ball is rolling around. Provided there's no further play, there's nothing really to hinder, no matter what the batter does (short of kicking the ball away). So that raises the bar for INT, because the timing of the play is going to make actual hindrance unlikely. Oh, and tell your players not to pick up that ball! 😇
    4 points
  14. I'm on the other end of that. By the middle of the season, I'm saying to my assigners "really, you don't have anybody else that can work these games???"
    4 points
  15. Run scores, both teams need to know the situation. Instead of arguing with the ump the catcher should just have tagged R3!
    4 points
  16. The obvious answer is always Gunmetal!
    4 points
  17. If exposed to the exact same conditions (meaning you always keep the TG on the mask when wearing it), then I believe they should age the same. Same coating, same material, same exposure should equal the same results. The sun exposure is what mostly causes fading to our stuff. We don't throw our stuff on the ground like those crazy catchers do, so our stuff doesn't get scuffed up as easily. And watch out for that freshman catcher (or the new guy the coach is throwing back there to "try" him out) who hasn't learned how to put his mask on the ground away from everyone yet. Instead he instead tosses it like a heat-seeking missile in your direction (Oops, sorry, blue). Those careless catchers cost umpires money... cleat marks on the toe of otherwise perfectly good umpire plate shoes, bad mask discard hits us direct in the face WITH their HSM, getting lazy and wiffing on a ball they should have caught but instead we do it for them with our body, etc. They can be our best friend or our worst enemy. Q. Do you know how to scare an umpire? A. Have the catcher walk out and say "this is my first time catching today, Johnny is ____ (hurt, pitching, DHing, etc)" Some of these first-timers must not have ever watched baseball before. They're not aware of anything about how to catch, receive the ball, etc. They can't even get the CATCH part down right for pity's sake!
    3 points
  18. Somehow this YouTube series has eluded me. Pretty good presentation and good FED info. https://youtube.com/@UmpireClassroom
    3 points
  19. Navy is "in" again ... 😉 ... welcome back!
    3 points
  20. If F1 is committed to pitch and does so, he can move his legs (and other extremities) as he likes, including the motion you describe. To what provision are you referring? If it's the line about allowing pumping of the arms, that applies only to the arms. Ugly/unfamiliar/weird/never-seen-it-before ≠ illegal
    3 points
  21. Yeah. The website was mostly a "it couldn't hurt" sales pitch.
    3 points
  22. I believe it is legal, only if he doesn't make contact with the fielder, or alters the play. If you look at 2-32-1, definition of a slide. "If a runner slides, he must slide within reach of the base with either a hand or a foot. A runner may slide or run in a direction away from the fielder to avoid making contact or altering the play of the fielder (8-4-2b)." Looking at (8-4-2b). "Any runner is out when he: (b) does not legally slide and causes illegal contact and/or illegally alters the actions of a fielder in the immediate act of making a play, or on a force play, does not slide in a direct line between the bases; or 1. A runner may slide in a direction away from the fielder to avoid making contact or altering the play of the fielder." In this situation, if the runner hasn't made contact with the fielder or altered the play, it seems to me that it is legal to do. I would treat it as plain old over sliding the base. In your OP, not sure of the exact details, but as described, I don't have an illegal slide.
    3 points
  23. Lower your voice! @MadMax will hear...
    3 points
  24. The value just ≠ the price. It’s that simple. Oh sure, I go on and on about how much I loathe Wilson, and list off all these reasons why you guys should too, but the simple fact is, Wilson is robbing you by charging you premium for sub-par, largely unimproved products. If you want a Wilson Gold 2 “Air Management System”, and you pay the retail cost, you’re an absolute fool. Why not get the exact replica – the Champro “AirMan” – for $100 less?? You can get a better mask or set of shins with that $100!! And the Gold 2 MemFoam is not that much better. It’s an improvement, but underwhelming, and way, way too late to the party. Lower-profile, sure, but even more dense, worse ventilation, and overpriced. If Wilson had brokered a partnership with TW, 3M, Dow Chemical, or even WindPact to create and/or employ a much more advanced foam, then yes, the cost would be warranted. But they don’t, and the only way to explain it is ignorance and that elitist arrogance.
    3 points
  25. You don't have enough dirt on your shoes to talk crap about Angel!
    3 points
  26. Well put. I think there is often a tendency to "overthink" some situations. A good starting point is to ask yourself, "What is the spirit and intent of the rule as it applies to a given situation."
    2 points
  27. If that mask has any age to it... it's grey now. If you want the best match, I'd recommend sending both to him for a new coating. It'll cost more, but what's money to an umpire? We're loaded, right?
    2 points
  28. Note that the conditions of application for this rule can overlap with IFF, when 1B and 2B are occupied and the batter hits an infield fly. In that case: the BR is out, and all force plays are off, per the IFF rule. If a fielder intentionally drops the ball, we'd also kill it, per this rule. But this rule can protect the offense with runners on 1B & 2B or bases loaded, when the batter hits a line drive at an infielder. Runners freeze on a line drive (or bunt pop up), so the defense could set up an easy double (or triple) play. Similar protection as IFF, but different conditions of application. Finally: for newer umpires (or those who otherwise have never heard of this rule), the term "intentionally drop" means that a fielder touches the fly ball with hand or glove, but then allows it to fall to the ground. Intentionally allowing a fly ball to fall to the ground at one's feet without ever touching it does not trigger this rule. A "drop" here requires touching the fly ball.
    2 points
  29. They will get the message soon enough. I plan on enforcing the hell out of it since it was hammered into our heads at the meeting and the coaches and ADs wanted it.
    2 points
  30. Not any more. (It's more common on a line drive because that provides the most opportunity for a DP if the umpire doesn't enforce the rule. With a fly ball, the BR *should* be at first by the time the drop occurs -- but the rule is there in case the BR isn't.)
    2 points
  31. Max, don't put your long term health and career at risk for this. If you're down to 20% cartilage, you won't be able to work this new conference with the high standards we all know you have, and the injuries sustained could pull you out of umpiring for the rest of your life. Not worth it. Just my 2 cents.
    2 points
  32. What can be made “ in house” depends on the lenses and frame choice. Some frames, like the Flak 2.0 cannot be cut in house. They go to “ Oakley Lab”. Oakley suns lenses are all made at central labs A little optical business info. Luxottica International basically owns the optical industry. They own LensCrafters,Target Optical, Macy’s Optical,Oakley, Ray Ban, Essilor lens( that includes Varilux) …..you get the idea. Luxottica has a multi million dollar lab in Atlanta. Along with other labs in Texas, Ohio, and China. Even when you buy your Oakleys from your private optical, he got the frame from Luxottica and the Rx lenses are manufactured at a Luxottica. Yes there’s Oakley and Ray Ban frames that can be made with generic lenses. But if you’re looking for OIakley Prizm suns, etc, they’re getting made by Luxottica. ( don’t ask me how they are not classified as a monopoly).
    2 points
  33. That’s not a cheap setup. However, you get what you pay for. That’s the best money can buy, IMO.
    2 points
  34. I also wear progressives in my every day glasses, but for baseball I have a clear pair, and tinted pair, of the Oakley Flak 2.0's. I just have to pull them up when working the scorecard is all, but they work great, and are extremely durable. I think I am on year 5 with them.
    2 points
  35. I generally follow the HS rule of 8 and 5 for all of my games, Adult, HS, LL. 8 for new pitchers, 5 for returning. I try to balance it around a minute for warm up pitches, too. If they ask for more, especially with adults, I'll usually give it to them. If they're fast and squeeze in one more pitch or so, that's fine with me. If they're slow, I might cut it down. It's always worked for me, and I don't ever recall getting any grief. I try to keep the game moving, but don't get too much heartburn if they get one more pitch out of me. Sometimes if I'm making changes, they'll get some more anyway.
    2 points
  36. I disagree--let coaches sound like idiots if they want.🤣
    2 points
  37. If the foot comes up for a right hander , like it would for a left hander, for that pitcher he would have to change direction in order to step to first. That change of direction no longer makes the step “direct”. That is why it would be illegal.
    2 points
  38. If the base protected him, the ball wouldn't have hit him. 😉
    2 points
  39. Just tell the coach to go sit down. His choice of dugout or parking lot.
    2 points
  40. We judge whether or not an “attempt “ was made to advance. A 1/2 step could be considered an attempt. I would think running through the base and pivoting on the left foot toward foul territory while locating the ball and base coach is more fundamentally sound, especially at this level. JMO
    2 points
  41. I would say the batter is not credited with a sacrifice fly. It would be scored F7 for the batter and a putout 7-2 on the runner. Rule 9.08 (d) (1) says, "Score a sacrifice fly when, before two are out, the batter hits a ball in flight handled by an outfielder or an infielder running in the outfield in fair or foul territory that is caught and a runner scores after the catch."
    2 points
  42. This is a fantastic observation. Hernandez got crucified in NY for the same outcome, didn’t he? Yeah, some might say it’s worse because it’s the playoffs, but so what, it’s the same difference.
    2 points
  43. its documents "own" is redundant and unnecessary
    2 points
  44. If you start talking crap/ bashing another umpire expect it. We are a brotherhood.
    2 points
  45. I feel 100% confident that @MadMax will not recommend anything with the Yellow W.
    2 points
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