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MadMax last won the day on August 2

MadMax had the most liked content!

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About MadMax

  • Rank
    The Road Umpire
  • Birthday 06/13/1975

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Phoenix, AZ
  • Interests
    Rally racing, Snowboarding (instructor / tech / barnstormer), Soccer (still play it), Hockey (working toward being a linesman), Baseball (umpiring, obviously), Architecture, Restorations

More information about you

  • Your Association Name
    the West Valley Vultures
  • Occupation
    Designer / Fabricator
  • Types/Levels of Baseball called
    U18 – NFHS, mNFHS, mOBR; NCAA / NAIA; MiLB -level; CDP
  • How did you hear about Umpire-Empire?
    ABUA (umpire.org)

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  1. Wait. Why is it fair? Has it been touched (yet) in fair territory, or has it stopped rolling? Conversely, on the “Foul side of things”, what makes a batted ball Foul? Has it touched a player (eg. catcher) in foul territory? Has it touched you (the umpire)? Has it stopped rolling (yet)? Has it broken the plane of the bag at either 1B or 3B in Foul territory yet? These are a few of the defining, qualifying questions we (as umpires) process through on every batted ball. With experience, that process happens more smoothly and more rapidly. Problem is, “new” or unpolished or lazy umpires miss critical factors in that process, and call Foul or signal Fair way too quickly. On one of your dribblers in front of the plate, there is no urgency to signal Fair (or Foul) until the ball is either touched, or stops rolling. This gives you (the umpire) a chance not only to re-acquire it, but also to go through your process. How’d the ball get out there? Did it deflect off the batter? Did it deflect off the catcher? Consider all the visual and audible clues in this process. And no, bouncing the ball off the plate is not an automatic foul ball. The plate, as you know, is in fair territory. Cold, hard reality. Before any of you guys reading start commenting and snidely remarking to Mac that he shouldn’t work solo, sorry, tough cookies, but solo work is not beneath you/us, and is an unavoidable reality. This is bulls#!t. The virus ain’t transferring on the ball field. It’s not clinging to each baseball, it’s not on a/the bat, and it certainly ain’t wafting from player to player to coach to umpire to player like some pixie dust. Six feet is not some magical barrier, either, that will protect you from getting the virus... if it is, in fact, there... and transferable... on an open ball field. Oh, the virus is real, @beerguy55 I just refuse to believe, in the absence of proof, that it is transferred during a ball game. Anyway! As @maven and @Biscuit point out, some clues that will help you are how the players – notably, the batter – react. If he doesn’t come out of the box, it is much more likely (not certainly, I’ll admit) that the ball touched him. Most batters know it.
  2. As others have said, the easiest, lowest-cost solution is to just remove them. Indeed, both the Platinum and Gold CPs suffer from the same lazy, arcane, out-of-touch product regard from Wilson – the (over)use of upholstery foam in the vest. As such, this upholstery foam causes the wearer to look (and feel) just as bulky and unwieldy as an old couch, especially in the shoulders. @Razzer is a big advocate of low-cost “camping foam”, which is a closed-cell foam, sold in a roll of blue or green, and used as a pad under sleeping bags, cots, or other non-heat-producing camping equipment. It’s cheap, effective, and for gear tinkerer’s purposes (like Ray, Wolfe, and me), is a good stand-in for proposed advanced materials. For your purposes, it would work great. Get some of that, and trace-out and cut it to match the shape of the pauldron plate. Then trace and slice two slits for the attaching strap, or Velcro tab. If you want to run zip-ties thru it, you can. A very low-cost and extremely satisfying act is to slice the Velcro tab itself off the Wilson pad and use it as the anchoring strap. Then, toss the ol’ Wilson pad to a neighborhood dog, which will love playing with it. Voílá! You have yourself a much sleeker, but still “padded” set of shoulder pauldrons. Oh, and bless your heart, @Ump0000, on removing that stupid, useless billow pad on your Platy! In the category of “Most Useless ‘Feature’ On A Product”, it’s top of the list.
  3. MadMax

    Runner out run count

    The tag(ging) of 1B is inconsequential, since it was ball 4. If it had been an Uncaught 3rd strike (U3K), totally different story. On Ball 4, the Batter is awarded 1B, but is under no liability to be put out until he touches 1B. He’s under no restriction or obligation to proceed there in a straight line, or directly, for that matter. If the batter wants to walk over to the on deck circle, and drop off his bat, or his protective guards, or exchange his helmet with the on-deck batter, he can. If he wants to hand his gear off to his 1BC, and do a fist bump, or even give his 1BC a hug prior to touching 1B, is that Assistance? (A: No). And, no amount of tagging the Batter-Runner or the base with the ball is going to change his status or the award... until he touches 1B. So, sorry, Wild Pitch on Ball 4 and R3 scores on it? Game over.
  4. I thought the same thing... I'll likely send a DynAlum to get powder coated Sky Blue Metallic (once again, since my +POS ZRO-G has gotten beaten up and knocked out of alignment), and a Rampage so as to do exactly this same Liquid Gunmetal (Tony's best color, isn't it, @bluetick48?? Good pick!)
  5. Because, just like All-Star is encountering, there isn’t a conventional (ie. “cheap”) part that will fit the unique geometry the Defender has. Force3 used the CAD file, created, commissioned, and produced a great visor that fits completely in a Defender... but... (here’s the part that just confounds the beancounters in a company, who ultimately shoot down any ideas like this)... doesn’t fit any other mask on the market. That’s what is ultimately stifling this product – that it’s something that doesn’t have market-wide appeal (limited to just the FM4K models), and is perceived as being yet another entry in an over-saturated market of $12 visors from Markwort, Diamond, Champro and any other no-name ho-hum brands. They think no one will care, and that no one will buy it off a retail peg. We gotta change that perception.
  6. Grrrr... You’re not going to “find” an existing, conventional visor for such an advanced, unconventional mask! You (All-Star) have had something like seven years now to find a visor, and it should have become evident in that first year that the FM4000 needs its own bespoke visor. Someone has the CAD file for the FM4000 planform... sooooooo... fish it out, do some curve and spline matching, create a visor model, and voilá, send it off to fabrication! Can’t be that hard!
  7. MadMax

    Joe West

    Why? You actually think, and fear, that “the next one” has your name on it? No ill-will to Joe West intended, but how is his injury (which he basically took a few painkillers and swigs of... “liquid comfort” to treat) of any significance? I caught for 16 years, and have umpired for 13, and aside from the swung bat I took in the side of the head at 14-15 years old, I have not been hit by a flung bat, broken bat, or a bat’s follow through. Actually, I think the bigger story is Joe West’s reaction to this. Get it treated, get back out there (on bases), and get back to work. And, I bet that for his next plate, he won’t be wearing a HSM.
  8. I’ve mentioned it before, and @The Short Umpire speculated it as well, that Zorbium is actually overkill in this employment, and actually defeats the function of the Force3 Defender mask springs. According to Force3’s site, their existing leather mask pads are a proprietary construct of Kevlar, EVA foam, and memory foam. The two foams, combined, are already more than enough to protect your face, and certainly more effort than Wilson, Rawlings, MacGregor, or any of the other “big” brands put into pads. And barring a bisection of some Force3 pads and the GelFoam pads shipped with Nike and Adidas Icons, or the Belgard pads from Japan & Korea, I have a hunch that the Force3 pads even have those beat on complexity. Force3 included Kevlar, too, for crying out loud! The Kevlar is there as an energy absorption layer. Kevlar has some tremendous benefits, but its one detriment, or flaw, is that it cannot be exposed to UV light. So, as long as you encase it in a skin of a material that won’t tear (easily) or be permeable by UV light, the pads will function properly. Problem is, again, that catchers pitch or cast their masks to the ground, where the pads get beaten up by all the dirt, grit, grass and clay. Sweat also does a number on it. Leather holds up better than most fabrics. If we can convince Jason (at Force3, @JimKirk) that we umpires would not abuse our mask pads, because we wouldn’t be casting our masks to the ground, then maybe Force3 could produce a set of pads in a technical fabric of some kind, that isn’t permeable to UV, and comes in black and charcoal grey(?).
  9. By “back swing”, we’re equating it to “follow through”, right? As in, at the completion of his swing, the batter’s bat makes contact with the catcher, yes? The reason you’re having a bit of trouble on finding it, is one of the two Rules, I can’t remember exactly which (while I’m here on the elliptical at Planet Fitness; I think it’s NFHS), refers to “back swing” contact as contact made between bat and catcher prior to the pitch. We (as umpires) are to call Time, let everyone reset, and caution the batter (if warranted). What you’re describing is after the swing. So, since that contact can affect how a catcher receives the ball and/or making a subsequent play (such as a steal attempt, pickoff attempt, etc.), we (as umpires) have to address that. On a ball put into play, unless that contact directly affects the catcher’s ability to field it (such as a pop-up, or retrieving the ball on a “sawed-off” squibber near the plate), we typically “allow” it. There are a bunch of particular rule citations that other umpires here are responding with.
  10. Ordered, received (even on the road, here!), and just used last night. My custom powdercoated FM4K has gotten beat up (the eyeport bar took another foul ball, and got bent for the third time), so I’ll be pounding it back out and “retiring” it to be my “back up north” mask. I’ll keep it with a few shirts, some hockey shins (so I can use them for skating, too), a rebuilt Schutt AiR Flex II, some polyspandex slacks in Combo... just so I can call games, if needed, while I’m up visiting from Arizona and don’t have my primary gear bag. Still could use a visor... actually, 2 visors now.
  11. I was with you until this statement. After this, I don’t know if I know you anymore.
  12. *clears throat* Uhm, hello... 16-year catcher over here! “All” catchers’ throws do not curve towards B! If that was the case, then umpires across the country would be discussing the perils of being in B in 2-man, and finding ways out of it. Deep C may be your preferred IP, but it’s not what we teach to U3s (in 3-man) or U2s (in 4/6-man). Deep B works best anytime there is a potential steal of 2B by R1. The only reason why this is becoming an issue, and why the CCA manual has to address this specifically, is MLBU’s experimentation and use of U2 at C-beyond (outside the baseline). The MLB guys know what they’re doing, and why they’re setting up and moving where they do. CCA doesn’t want an umpire setting up in either C-deep or B-deep as an IP and then moving to C-beyond during a play.
  13. Not necessary. I wouldn’t put the burden on Team Wendys itself, considering they have enough to do on fulfilling government and SAR contracts, and have them disturb their production of standard pads. What would be more desirable is for Force3 to make mircofiber-encased pads, primarily for us (umpires), that we can opt for instead of leather. The leather pads were made primarily for catchers, because what do catchers do with their masks, folks? Yup, toss / knock them on the ground! Microfiber just cannot be expected to be as durable as leather, and the Force3 Defender needs to have intact pads present so as to properly function. Team Wendy’s Zorbium isn’t the answer... an ideal answer is actually much lower tech. High-resistance foam cores, with a layer of sizing foam for some fit and comfort, clad in microfiber. The springs on the mask frame are doing all the work.
  14. MadMax

    Joe West

    Noooooope. The whole reason a double ear flap batting helmet is designed and acts the way it does is so it doesn’t come off. And, last I checked, most (closer to all) baseball participants still don’t trust or believe our calls when we have a mask on. Accordingly, we’re taught, at every level, to get our mask off ASAP to move and/or make a call. And you want to make that procedure even more torturous, and more of a hassle?? What does a double-flap batting helmet do that an existing HSM doesn’t do? And as all the colleagues here know, I’m not a fan of HSMs. However, I understand their purpose, role, and function in baseball (*cough cough* catchers! *cough*), and lacking another umpire-specific design, will never besmirch or belittle a fellow umpire using one (I will criticize a poorly-fitting one). Ask my good friend and colleague @KenBAZ! I not only endorse his choice to use a HSM, I actually repair and maintain the HSMs he has in his arsenal. We don’t have an umpire-designed helmet, though (yet). And really, is it urgently needed? The last catastrophic bat-upon-Umpire’s-head injury in MLB was Kerwin Danley, and he promptly began using a HSM thereafter. No disrespect to Joe West, and I hope he didn’t suffer any permanent damage, but why is his injury any more critical than Danley’s, such that we have to start finding and devising immediate safety solutions?? I mean, I’m surprised someone hasn’t suggested using Nerf bats, and outlawing wood or metal bats!
  15. You want Heather Grey slacks... heck, anything in the uniform to go away, the first place to go is the NFHS Headquarters, and petition, beseech, berate... whatever... to get them to remove the “the shirt shall be navy” line. It’s that line, and the lines surrounding it that influence (to borrow the whippersnappers term) what the states do for their uniform codes. Now, before @Jimurray jumps in and corrects me (he loves to when it comes to the exact syntax of NFHS), the Fed does allow for state associations to determine to their own uniform standards, but I have to say, the state associations are lazy and stubborn. Clean up the uniform standards – knock down the first, prime domino – and the rest will start falling. And this also goes for softball, which becomes the official harbor and haven of heather grey slacks and powder blue w/ navy trim shirts... because it’s not “those baseball boys”. And this segues into the other problem, and it’s one that the manufacturers do control to an extent, @JimKirk. If they don’t want to produce and manage an over-abundance of SKUs, then stop making those obsolete products!!! Sure, it’s a risk. Sure, you might miss out on some sales. Sure, you might get the angry email(s) from umpires like Clarence Callsafew, outraged that you’re not making his favorite shirt or pant anymore, and because of this, he won’t be buying from you ever again. You must resist the temptation to cave; you must remain resolute. If the existing manufacturers were to collaborate, in only agreement, not to produce any more heather grey slacks, full stop, it will cause a shockwave in the bat sports market (at least for the officials of them). Then, the “back end of the double play” would be to produce a comprehensive line of women’s fit umpire slacks in charcoal grey. If we’re going to take away the problem, we must give the solution.
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