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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/18/2017 in all areas

  1. 12 points
    Coach: Where is your zone? Umpire: For you or for them?
  2. 10 points
    I knew this a few months ago but I didn’t share it here. I have been hired into college baseball at the D3 and NAIA level in Southern California. Looking forward to this year and many more. Feel free to hijack this thread if you’ve been hired into a higher level
  3. 9 points
    A friend of mine shut down a pitching coach in a college game recently. He heard some comments from the dugout, looked at the guy and said, "Who ARE you? The message being that he's not the head coach and needs to STFU. It was also a message to the head coach that he needs to take care of it. The coach turned tail and headed to the back of the dugout. YMMV.
  4. 8 points
    @ArchAngel72 , in my experience a "that's nothing" call from a partner tells me he's very experienced. It means that not only did he see the action, but processed it and came to the conclusion that there was no infraction AND understood in the moment that others might think otherwise and that his "no infraction" judgment needs to be communicated accordingly. I considered it an important milestone in my own development when I signaled my first "that's nothing" on the field. I am working hard to make it a more natural part of my game for sure. FWIW.
  5. 8 points
    I just finished my 2018 season with what I feel was a great way to end it. I was fortunate enough to be selected to work the Tennessee State baseball tournament this year. I also was fortunate to be selected for the Class A championship plate. One team had a Vanderbilt signee, probably top 10 MLB draft selection on the mound, throwing 91-95. The other team also had their #1 going, so I was looking forward to a good game. I was not disappointed. The game featured 23 strikeouts from both teams, went 12 innings and ended 1-0. MTSU stadium was packed, wonderful environment, crowd was loud and rowdy. I had two batters interference calls, one on each side, 2 runners on same base, both left base and were tagged out. It was just a great way to end my year. Folks that don’t umpire don’t understand why we do what we do, but I know you guys will be able to relate. Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  6. 7 points
    What's the first rule of Fight Club? NEVER talk about fight club! What's the first rule of Crossfit? NEVER shut the F*#K up about Crossfit! Hahahaha. You're welcome.
  7. 6 points
    Slimmer couch cushion?
  8. 6 points
    Was his mom on the field? Was she within the fence? Was she in the dugout? If she was none of those places, then there’s nothing you could... or, really, should do about it, despite it being a crass outcry, bordering on profane. We are to govern that which occurs within the confines of the fences (the ball field); ours is not outside the backstop and the fences. If she is causing a disruption that is affecting gameplay, then it needs to be addressed through proper channels, whether that be through or in conjunction with the team’s head coach, or the Tournament Director, their Field Marshals, or a Site Supervisor. You should not, though, go independently in picking a fan out, ejecting him/her, and then holding up the game to have that fan removed. Please understand, whether our calls or judgements are right or wrong, they are not immune or impervious to reactive outcries from the spectators. You can’t possibly expect to do this job devoid of being questioned or reacted to. Do you see college, Minor League, or Major League Umpires tossing fans during their games for their displeasure on a call? Lemme tell ya, what that mom said was Sunday banter compared to the verbal filth spewing from college and Minor League fans. Have I experienced this? Yes I have... I had a dad bang on the fence and call me a m’er-f’er... in Spanish... so loud that the other team’s parents recoiled in stunned disbelief and shock. What did I do? ... I was already beckoning over the Head Coach of that team to fix it, while the Site Supervisor and Field Marshal wove their way through the crowd and removed the fan on their own.
  9. 6 points
    My '65 Mustang had a padded dash as a boastful safety feature. I think my Lexus has more airbags than a House full of Representatives. Thank you progress.
  10. 6 points
    The New Flex CP Harness is a change from my original and offers a true 4 point connection with excellent support and comfort. Already being used by MLB Umpires Adam Hamari, Phil Cuzzi, Todd Tichenor and Tom Hallion with more orders coming in everyday, MiLB umpires have already been ordering the new Flex It will fit any 4 point connection harness on the market today The old harness was really a 3 point connection with the top straps being one point of connection which was worn tight to the neck and snug on the sides. Guys were wearing them too tight all round causing undue stress to the neoprene which sometimes resulted in tearing or breakdown. The New Flex is a true 4 pointer and has contour for the sides which will take the stress off the neoprene when worn correctly. Tight on top, snug on the sides. Available in Black/Grey Trim or Grey/Black Trim
  11. 6 points
    Just an Update... I'm still alive and well. I do plan on being more involved once again, at least on the site. I've had another job change. I left the Waterpark in April. It was an absolutely great job and a ton of fun, but only May through September. Not much for an HR person to do at a waterpark in the winter with only 5 employees and I needed much more responsibility and a challenge. I'm now at a defense contractor running their HR dept. So now as I'm settling in at the new job I have made it a point to return to the helm of Umpire-Empire. @Thunderheads, @LMSANS @johnnyg08 @Stan W., @Majordave, @HokieUmp & @MidAmUmp have done fantastic at keeping everything rolling smoothly and I cannot express just how much I appreciate it. So I haven't umpired since March 2018. Just haven't had time. Do I miss it??? Yes and no. Yes, I really miss being on the field calling games and working with other umpires. But also no I don't miss it as much as I thought I would. I enjoy the time at home with my family. Looking back I wonder just how I was able to squeeze umpiring into my schedule. I have been non-stop with various activities this spring and cant imagine the travel and just overall time away from home. A couple of weeks ago I attended my first game as a fan in probably 5 years as my ECU Pirates came and visited ODU. This is the first game I've been to since @dumbdumband I went to an O's game. Now I still watch the game as an umpire and see the game very differently than the average fan, and I hope that never changes. Will I return to Umpiring? I plan on picking up some fall ball games this fall, but there is no way I'm going to work the number of games I once did. I'm thinking 1-2 a week tops and if I don't get a game, I just don't get a game. Also, I know the site is in major needs of some software updates. You guys see and experience the issues with TapaTalk and that's on my list. I need to: do some tweeks on the server side of things update the forum's software. THEN TAPATALK! Finally fix the automatic promotion feature ( Established member, Inactive, new member, etc...) But I will be around more and have enjoyed living vicariously through you all. Also, I will be continuing my Quick Tips YouTube series in the next couple of weeks. I've trashed the ones I had in the can to be released. And have already started a new set of topics I want to cover. As always thanks for your continued support of Umpire-Empire!
  12. 6 points
    Jonathan, I wish you the best. I appreciated what you said in your post. We have all been there at one time or another. I hope someday you can get back on the field because whether you know it or not, more people appreciate YOU than not. It's not easy to forget A-holes, but this world is coming apart at the seams. Sometimes being on the baseball field can help take us away from all the crap we experience and work, home, you name it. When it no longer stays fun and takes this type of turn, take care of yourself first.... I wish there was something else I could say to keep you on the field. I would be proud to work with a guy like you as I'm sure others here and around the baseball world would too. But in the end, do what is right for you. I'm sure God has great plans for you and other's around you. Thank you for sharing your experience with all of us. And thank you for making us all realize more than ever we are the THIRD TEAM out there. We need to look out for each other no matter what!
  13. 6 points
    Group Position Date & Time Sport & Level Site Home Away Fees Status Accept Decline 107584 R1 11/10/2018 Sat 3:00 PM Volleyball, State Finals William Paterson University, Rec Center TBA TBA $75.00 Accepted on 10/28/2018 State Finals for volleyball! Second go round for me. This time I am sure that I will not be as edgy as I was last time. Can't wait for the match. It is a real joy having the best seat in the house to watch two really talented teams go at it. I will try to not suck. But, as I say to SWMBO, I can't make any promises
  14. 6 points
  15. 5 points
  16. 5 points
    Not when you are watching your ten-year old from 200 feet away through chain link fence, players on the field, and three more rows of parents. Pretty easy.
  17. 5 points
    In fact, there are a ton of times a "that's nothing" with a safe signal is the proper mechanic. A few examples: - When a batted ball almost hits a runner, but just misses him - When F2 blocks a pitch and gets tangled up with the batter who is legally in the box - When there is an overthrow and a runner and fielder get tangled and immediately untangled - When a base coach unintentionally gets hit with a throw Essentially, you would use it when something odd or unusual happens that isn't an infraction, and you need the coaches to know that you saw it and rendered a judgment on it.
  18. 5 points
    First of all, let me state for the record that I swear a fair bit, and do so enthusiastically. #TeamSwearing (Although, the idea of 12-year-olds not being smart enough to 'pick their spots' is disconcerting.) But I have to ask - when you're doing this Lifer Baseball Hard-ass Coach Guy routine, what age range are we talking about? Because - and imma just be blunt here - depending on where we are on the age spectrum, and what kinda ball we're talking, you're arguably what's wrong with kid baseball. Having coaches who think they're some kind of junior-grade Joe Girardi*, turning everything into a dick-measuring contest, is a bad thing. I'm sure I'll get a lecture, defensive or otherwise, on The Way Of The Coach, but it's a terrible example to kids in general, and even just when confined to "how to compete." What you put in that section might be fine in the paid-player game, or maybe even the college game, but given the context of this thread, it's pretty terrible. And yeah, I WILL be running you, because once you bark "the game's over there," you just started the paperwork process. And I'm not too worried about what you're interested in - I got assigned your game on Arbiter, not Tinder. Where I look, and when I look there, aren't your concern - maybe you're not completely one of those "on the edge coaches," but the way that whole part was phrased makes you sound like you're spoiling for a fight from the plate meeting on. *Joe Girardi might not be that bad, and might even be a lovely human. But I grew up hating the Yankees, and have no plans to change that.
  19. 5 points
    Slightly different angle, I believe umpiring to be the best job a high schooler could have. Where else could I make $20 an hour, while setting my own schedule, and doing something I love? Even after spending close to $1000 to overhaul my equipment, get stuff to do basketball, and pay for gas, I still came out way ahead last year, and I'm getting even better games and pay this year, with way less overhead (driving a way more gas efficient car!).
  20. 5 points
  21. 5 points
    The following are broad observations. I know some areas have parts of this controlled better than others, but this is a generalization. It's not because of the Internet and cell phones. It's because there's no accountability to those who act this way, and everyone -- including umpires -- is responsible, some unwillingly and beyond their control. This follows in all levels -- kids, scholastic, amateur, professional -- of all sports -- baseball, football, basketball, hockey. Spectators have nobody telling them to stop. Fans nearby, at the best, say nothing, and usually cheer on the spectator. Someone who does speak up is usually drowned out by the aggressor, or just simply ignored and mocked for being an upstanding person. With no apparent repercussions to their actions, they continue -- game after game, night after night -- and, even worse, encourage others to do the same. Yell at the officials, curse the opposing players, insult their families. Parents think their child is the next [insert highest paid athlete in their sport here] and no one can tell them any different. After all, the moment you don't believe it is the moment the tower crumbles. Spending thousands on coaches, thousands on travel ball, and hundreds on the newest [insert applicable equipment here] -- all for an 8-year-old. They coddle their child, explain to them that the call went against them (even when it didn't), that everyone else is responsible for their bad night, that they're still the best on their team. These parents hear the above spectators and either completely agree or disagree, depending on what team they're biased toward - and all other opinions be damned! No one ever tells these parents that their child isn't as good as they think, will never be that good, and maybe Johnny just wants to pick daisies instead of fielding that 200th grounder you've fungoed to him and he's thrown back a third of the way. Coaches are stuck a lot of times. They want to field a team that can win, but they constantly have parents telling him how to do his job. Who should be playing what position, how he should have made a different move at a different time, how he's not giving that child a chance. If a parent is misbehaving at a game, he risks looking like the bad guy by saying something. If he doesn't play someone enough, the parents argues. If he doesn't win enough games, everyone gets mad. BUT, coaches aren't wholly innocent either. Often, they are just as bad as parents when it comes to deflecting blame, often to officials or other non-team people. When a coach misbehaves, sometimes punishments don't do enough. A game suspension and fine may not stop a coach from doing it again. Often, the coach's actions are defended, especially when a call is wrong or even if the perception of an error against the team is there. Even umpires are responsible. Many times, issues aren't handled appropriately at the time, leading to the next crew having to deal with it and hearing "they didn't say anything the last game". Sometimes umpires can be stuck, too. Whether it's an association pushing toward more warnings before an ejection, a UIC that won't back the correct actions of his umpires, or even a threat of every ejection possibly leading to missed opportunities in the future, umpires feel they have to give longer and longer leashes to players and coaches. These warnings rarely come with any punishment to the offenders, and all the umpire finds is a wake of coaches, players, and spectators who have no respect for his actions. I could go on, but I think I've made the point. Through the years and very slowly, the line of accountability has moved. I don't know that it can be stopped. Even in MLB, coaches are expected to "get his money's worth" during arguments, while umpires are "putting himself in the game" in that same argument. Umpires are vilified as "awful" when fined for their actions; players and coaches are lauded when they are. Suspended umpires are
  22. 5 points
    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.
  23. 5 points
    Was that your first post-season assignment, @Aging_Arbiter?
  24. 4 points
    Only because the age of Mississippi high school students finally dropped below 21, so no one was old enough to drink beer while playing any more.
  25. 4 points
    Wow, @HokieUmp just took me back to my elementary school days............ Steel slides that melted your skin as you slid down them on hot days........... Swing sets that were 15-20ft high and kids would see how high they could swing before the slack of the chains snapped them backwards and sometimes falling to the macadam playground surface. Monkey bar play sets about 6 feet off of the (same macadam surface) ground. All of which, helped to shape a generation. You either learned: a) I need to make sure I concentrate and get good at (insert playground activity) so it doesn't hurt........or b) don't do that.
  26. 4 points
    this post is useless without photos!!!
  27. 4 points
    From a clinic standpoint, I think Richvee hit the nail on the head about attending the RIGHT clinic. You need to choose a clinic that is the right fit. I am constantly getting asked by umpires if I think they should attend our advanced clinic. I ask about the levels they are currently working and several will say they work at the HS level. You want to attend a clinic that will challenge you, but also allow you to stand out. A high school umpire attending an advanced 3-man clinic can end up hurting a guy more than it can help them. Assigners are there looking to hire umpires. Not able to keep up with the speed of the game, not knowing where to go, etc. will hurt you in the eyes of the assigners and can set your career back a few years. However, attending a 2-man camp with the same assigners...standing out in that camp may get you hired in an entry level college conference and a good reputation going forward. If you want to take flying lessons, you don’t take them from the Blue Angels if you’ve never been in the cockpit. As far as advancing your career in general, be patient and enjoy the ride. It’s cliche but “trust the process”. The assigners know what they are doing. Maybe they have a goal for you that you don’t realize. They see the big picture. It’s better to be a couple of years late and succeed when you get there than be too early and have it blow up on you because you weren’t ready. I’ve had the opportunity to work some higher level baseball, but there are a lot of times I miss running around a high school or a division 2 baseball field. Those times were so much fun and there was very little pressure. Now at the D1 level, it’s a job. Everything is on video, everything is scrutinized, the more technology the teams have, the more we’re under the microscope. Assigners aren’t going to put you in that environment until they know you’re ready, so as I said, trust the process and enjoy the ride.
  28. 4 points
    How about a simple point to the ear followed by an out mechanic?
  29. 4 points
    Those in charge being responsible for the actions of their direct subordinates? CRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZZY, maaaaaaaan. That never happens, except pretty much in every walk of life. Don't like paying the price for having clowns as assistants? Don't have clowns as assistants.
  30. 4 points
    I'm guessing the record set above is number of umpires on the field for a coach pitch game?
  31. 4 points
    This video was produced by the Ryan Lemmon Foundation which is a huge supporter of high school baseball here in Orange County. They wanted to show the behind the scenes of high school umpires and their families. Great inside look of the brotherhood!
  32. 4 points
    Chutes & Ladders, triglycerides, triceratops notwithstanding, this vest is the real deal. Compared to others on the market, it’s an absolute steal at $72. It has been a tremendously capable substitute for my Riddell. No, I’m not taking offers for the Riddell. I said sub not replacement. Not going to Pipp my Power!
  33. 4 points
    If I may reply to who was first I am a hockey guy who once had his hand in everything goaltending. Growing up or Shoulder pads and chest pad were 2 separate units which I solved that problem by joining the two parts into one. I used the same design as my current harness although it was not neoprene at the time....this was over 30 years ago using the triangle donut only inverted I then adapted the donut to baseball when I payed baseball and did some catching. Next came umpiring and what we have today is nothing more than me figuring out what to do with it. Many people over the years have had me fix and make better all kinds of sports equipment as it was just a hobby On the new W Harness all I will say is I gave an umpire samples and last year I asked what happened to those samples...The MFg has them In those samples were a cooling vest, female harness and thinned out CP pad with ventilation I also do not believe the inspiration came from the W catcher CP because what they had was covered in plastic and rubber parts One thing comes to mind and that is the length is identical and elastic is used...coincidence ? My age right now 57 so maybe I was first
  34. 4 points
    The big difference between this latest Champro Rampage and the All-Star FM4000MAG, @umpstu, is “origin of purpose”. I’ve said it before, All-Star is a catcher’s company. Through exhaustive design process and testing, All-Star arrived at a mask geometry that was physically unique in the industry, and not only presented a signature look, but most importantly allowed the maximum amount of contact between the pads and the wearer’s face. The mask also presents minimal flat facets to an impacting ball (which cannot be said about that stupid Wilson Ti Low Profile). Here’s my extensive review of the FM4000MAG: In summary, the FM4000MAG is All-Star’s flagship, signature, tentpole mask. It is the ideal non-mechanical mask for the professional catcher. Similar to the origin of the Nike “Icon” Titanium as a catcher’s mask (for Jorge Posada), and it passed along to interested umpires, the new FM4000 has attracted the interest of umpires, and All-Star has (refreshingly) already accommodated umpires by casting it in black and making a for-umpire harness for it. There’s also hints of one-off customizations being done for umpires (Guccione, for one). It’s important to emphasize, though, that this mask is targeted at professional and high-level catchers, and accordingly, commands a price point to match. Champro, though, is not a top-tier company. They are not on par with Wilson, Rawlings, UnderArmour, Nike, Mizuno, or All-Star. Nor are they necessarily trying to be. Champro exists in that second tier, alongside Schutt, Diamond, Champion, Easton, and Boombah, their size and corporate simplicity allow them to be more reactive to developments and bold on advancements. These second-tier companies are also heavily invested in and dependent upon overseas (ie. China) production. Chinese production facilities and factories have no restrictions and no scruples about copying production techniques and products to market through other channels. So, without knowing the exact details, it would appear that All-Star laid down the groundwork on how to make a die-cast Magnesium-alloy mask, and Champro either approached their fabricator, or their fabricator approached them and presented that they could do a weld-less, die-cast mask too. It’s worth mentioning, Champro and +POS had both offered Magnesium masks before, but these had been bonded (not welded). While light and strong, they still had the potential of the bonded joints being popped apart if struck hard / often enough. Besides, since they were offered by little-known names like Champro and +POS, they lacked the market recognition of the big companies like Wilson. The Champro Rampage draws its layout from some very progressive Japanese mask designs. While the FM4000 is ideally suited for catchers, the Rampage is much better suited for umpires. It has a larger forehead section so it can accommodate larger hat bills (and even a hard hat!) and sun visors. The extended chin guard is much taller, so it can be worn without a dangling throat guard, but has just enough forward rake to it so a dangling throat guard can be used. The ear guards are minuscule, which doesn’t matter much to umpires because we shouldn’t be turning our heads much at all (but this mask may not be ideal for new umpires in training). Two big factors stand out over all else, though... It’s not sold with any advanced, specialized pads. The use of Magnesium, with how low-density it is, means that any impacting energy will instantly transfer to the pads. So, it is more crucial than ever to have high-quality pads. All-Star addressed this by dramatically increasing the volume of the pads and inserting a hard-cast distributor plate within the pad. Even Force3 has put Kevlar within the body of the Defender’s pads! I’m certain that this is reflected in the cost of the masks when sold with these advanced, specialized pads. Point is, the time of foam-filled leather sausages is over! The good news is, the Rampage’s layout will accommodate Team Wendy’s, MemoryFoam and other “newer” pads. It’s die-cast Magnesium, without welds, and as such, it will not bend and it will not break. The All-Star has the added benefit of being exhaustively tested and refined so that the geometry – like a stealth aircraft – presents the minimal amount of flat facet to a ball impact. I can’t say the same for the Rampage. We also know that the FM4000MAG is injection-molded (the injection tabs on the earguards indicate that), so molten Magnesium is forced into it for even distribution, while it looks like the Rampage is gravity-tray molded and pressed (think like a waffle iron). I’m confident that the Rampage, as a line, won’t fail, but individual masks may have uneven material distribution. I am looking forward to getting one and trying it out, but I will certainly be putting TWs in it immediately... ... oh, and putting a Honig’s or +POS harness on it. That harness is uuuggggllllyyyy, and is only like that to get noticed. It’s no less ugly than a big yellow W on the chin – anything to get noticed.
  35. 4 points
    Say only what you have to. Give an explanation in simple terms, either explaining what you saw or what rule you are applying. What you say can and will be used against you
  36. 4 points
    I've been ambivalent about using a "dangler". Isn't the mask extension enough? Yesterday in a D3 game, a D300 catcher passed on a 92 mph pitch. My partner the PU caught it in the throat/upper CP padding; it completely missed his extension and he has an excellent stance. Scary. He choked and gasped for a while, but insisted on finishing the last inning and a half. His voice was low and hoarse after the game. OK, I'm putting one on each of my masks...
  37. 4 points
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/0Z68er4M2vruBO0a2 Beyond incredible!
  38. 4 points
    I need to clarify something you said (placed in bold by me). The Force3 UnEqual is not a traditional hardshell CP. It lacks any of the external plastic carapace plate segments that define a hardshell CP. These carapace plates serve two purposes – structural & shape foundation, and force/energy distribution (not absorption; this is important later). Hardshell CPs carry with them several shortcomings and problems that are tolerated when one considers the protective needs they provide. Bulk (volumetric size), weight, flexibility, dexterity, ventilation & breathability, and damage to other equipment (ie. shirts, jackets) when impacted are all factors that, rightfully so, take a back seat to the incredible speeds and forces at play in upper-echelon levels of baseball. That’s not to say that mid- or lower-level baseball isn’t just as perilous, but these environments have an additional factor affecting them and intensifying those noted factors – frequency. The MLB guys have the “luxury” of donning a CP for 41 games, as part of a 4-man crew (less running), in a monitored environment. They may get hit once a game, but the average is likely much less. Granted, the forces are like comparing a hammer to a piledriver, but far too often, manufacturers and users alike fixate on the one-blow piledriver and are surprised when all those factors contribute to failure when beset with a dozen “small” hammerblows. So, that’s where softshell CPs come on the stage. Because they lack the external carapace plates, they reduce weight and bulk. Ventilation and breathability are drastically improved. Without hard surfaces, shirt damage (holes, tears, bruises, scuffs) is virtually eliminated. The shape is not dictated by the rigidity of carapace plates, thus can conform to your own shape and provide more localized protection, as well as reducing hinderance of (your own) movement. So too, because it conforms to your shape better, the CP itself is less likely to shift out of place or droop (and this is where a Flex-style harness makes all the difference). Softshells, though, lack one key component – energy distribution. Sure, they’re comprised of the very same foam (or often better and more advanced than the Wilson CPs) performing energy absorption for the hardshell CPs, but they get overwhelmed by the localized application of force energy. A softball, because of its less density and greater surface area, doesn’t “pack as much of a punch” – it doesn’t carry and transfer as much force energy. A smaller, more dense baseball, transfers and applies that increased force energy to a more localized point of impact... if only we had something to distribute that energy laterally to be absorbed by other foam further out! And that’s what a hardshell does. Kevlar is actually not a plated, hard surface. It is a fabric, woven from strands of aramid synthetic fiber. It is far more likely to be found in textiles and cloths than in plates. It is so incredibly useful in “bulletproof” vests because of its tremendous tensile strength-to-weight ratio. It doesn’t deflect bullets, it actually catches them, elastically deforming to absorb all that energy and prevent hyper-localized failure and penetration. Thing is, though, as any LEO or soldier will tell you, in a purely-Kevlar vest, while the bullet may not enter your body, you do experience localized trauma (bruising, pain) from that tremendous amount of energy. Thus, most ballistic vests and jackets have – you guessed it – trauma plates in them to further distribute and dissipate that energy, laterally. But again, why not just use nothing but trauma plates? Because they’re heavy, bulky, cumbersome, don’t breathe, and don’t conform to differing body shapes or allow freedom of movement. So what to do? Strike a balance between fixed, hard trauma plates, located in specific, crucial spots, and backed and reinforced by Kevlar. Wow, I just described a Force3 UnEqual... Version 2. Admittedly, Version 1 lacked the “trauma” or blast plates. The pure-Kevlar construction meant that all that superfluous “sofa cushion” foam, needed for absorption and stand-off distance between you and the carapace plates that would otherwise be there, could be done away with. This reduced bulk and increased breathability. The fit could be like a glove, and the need for additional shirts (bigger size) or replacement shirts (cut or torn by impact) was eliminated. However, when wading into the same treacherous waters as traditional hardshell CPs, those hyper-localized impacts were being felt (despite no baseball ever entering an umpire’s body!). Trauma would appear in the form of bruises and aches, which in a ballistic vest is a welcome concession to the alternative! As such, Force3 reworked the UnEqual design and introduced blast plates. These are plastic plates sandwiched beneath the neoprene outer skin, above the Kevlar sections, which themselves are backed by a membrane, sizing foam, and a wicking fabric. Has the UnEqual Version 2 been perfected? No. It still has some revisions ahead of it. Is it a hardshell CP? No... but neither is it a softshell. It truly is a hybrid, an enigma, an evolutionary branch. Its cost scares a lot of potential users off of it, but that’s due to its advanced materials and Made-in-the-USA nature. It could stand to use thicker, but “holey-er” plates – thicker to provide greater force dissipation but holed to increase ventilation and reduce weight (see the Schutt-Adams XV). Its single greatest challenge, though, isn’t a 95+ mph baseball. Force3 is a progressive, proactive entity that will constantly strive to improve. No, its greatest challenge is a television camera, peering in at a Major League home plate, showcasing a Big Yellow “W” at the collar of the guy calling Balls and Strikes. Everyone could benefit from that not being there anymore.
  39. 4 points
    There is indeed a goofy FED ruling in the ballpark of this play, but not quite this one. What's missing from the discussion so far is that when R3 trucks F2, it is not only MC but also INT (that's what Cav's reference to 2-21-1 says). That, not the MC, is what makes the ball dead immediately, warrants calling an out, and sends other runners back. By rule (8-4-2e), MC always supersedes OBS. Any obstructed runner who subsequently commits MC will be denied his awarded base(s), ruled out, and ejected at the end of playing action.
  40. 4 points
    Wow! That's pretty cool. I've been sworn AT as an umpire, but never sworn IN.
  41. 4 points
    Foul ball off the catcher's helmet. Hit the throat guard on the way up and took my mask with it. Without the throat guard it would have knocked my mask off and hit me like an uppercut. I still enjoy chewing and swallowing my food.
  42. 4 points
    Thank you everyone. The opinions and insight are great. I think I'm going to go with the Force3 shin guards. I feel like I did a decent job of getting good, quality equipment to start with so why skimp now on the last piece. I did buy plate shoes. They are actually going to be the first thing to arrive. I got the New Balance 460v3 in all black.
  43. 3 points
    Yes on the F3 shin guards. You wouldn’t have felt a thing on that shot. I never have.
  44. 3 points
    This is no mere "second ball" scenario, as the umpire lost track of the game and HE threw the other ball in. The cited rules all address the "accidental" second ball from a bull pen or neighboring field. Apples and oranges. My point earlier was that it's a mistake (and poor officiating) to expect the rules to magically solve all the crap that can happen when we screw up. Nobody can write a rule book like that (well, absent an escape clause: "The umpire has authority to rule on anything not addressed in these rules"). The general prescription is the one I provided earlier: do what seems fair to both teams, apologize (once), and get the ball back in play as quickly as possible.
  45. 3 points
    I cannot point to a signal in an NFHS source that is no longer included in their umpiring signals. As far as the point toward the play and verbalizing, it is something that I have learned through clinics and onfield observations. It is akin to this
  46. 3 points
    Thanks fellers! It really is a great protector. I've had all of the usual suspects over the years, and none of them feel like the Power. "Cool Factor" aside, Riddell figured out the magic potion for the most comfortable, best fitting protector I've ever seen. It's a shame that it hasn't been made for so long. If the big gold W pulled their head out of their behinds, they should reproduce this exactly how it was made back when Riddell made it, but apparently they don't really care about the voice of the umpire, or don't realize that they can perhaps?. (Get ready for @MadMax to weigh in, in t-minus 10, 9, 8,....) Now that I put the W "batlight" in the sky!
  47. 3 points
  48. 3 points
    Bottom line here is this... I have worked with guys, who no matter what, in a play that is super bang, bang, will always default to safe. I have worked with the other guy on the same play who will always default to out. End of the day, a human being, with his own perceptions, internal processing and personal bias to judge an event in a particular fashion is going to make his call. You can discuss the rule on paper, and we can all agree, but on the field, and without the benefit of a camera and super slow motion, 20,000 frame a second reply, you are going to get the call that you get.
  49. 3 points
    Interesting, Lucroy is wearing a red ConCushion (it appears) with his FM4000MAG. If he wasn't happy with the top pad I'm surprised All-Star didn't make a change to it like they did with the bottom pad. See this pic:
  50. 3 points
    We are not fat. We are chunky. Chunky is a size. Long live chunky.
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