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MadMax last won the day on July 8

MadMax had the most liked content!

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About MadMax

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

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Profile Information

  • 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. I carry no less than two, and sometimes up to four, masks with me to every game venue I work. My main pads are TWs (I have 3 sets), but I also use All-Star MAG-LUCs on my FM4000, and navy LUCs on my (lone, thank goodness) rarely-used Navy mask (for when I call games in those states east of the Mississippi River, American Legion, or CDP). So, not only do I color-coordinate, I also temperature-coordinate, to a certain degree (ha! pun!). Cold temps? I use the LUC -equipped masks. Normal or hot weather? TWs is where it’s at. Consider, too, that if you wash TWs on a routine basis, and allow them to air dry, they’ll stay softer. The buildup of salt, from your sweat, actually stiffens the pads.
  2. That’s gotta end. Not only is that way too much to say at the Plate Meeting, but it’s being said wrong, in a way that will open a Pandora’s Box of Pain and Misery. “we want to get the calls right” – according to coaches, you never will, and some coaches think you’re out to get them, and that you’re lying ”so if you have a question” – don’t give them this possibility; it’s like giving an open jar of paint to a kindergartner and saying, “Now, don’t touch that until we say so”. ”call time” – NO. Coaches and players are to ask for Time. Only an umpire can call Time. ”tell me what you saw” – No to this too. What they saw will nearly always be something different than what the umpires actually saw. ”I’ll get together with my partner” – We (Umpires) are not at their (coaches and other participants) beckon call. The majority of calls that bring a coach out to question do not need or involve another umpire. By mentioning this, you’re giving that coach the fallacy that they can beseech the calling umpire to consult his/her partner and (hopefully, to them) overturn the call or introduce doubt.
  3. So I’ve got these MLB baseballs, collected from our work with the 15 franchises here in Phoenix. I have at least one that goes back to 2014, as it’s been signed (stamped) by Bud Selig as Commissioner; Robert Manfred took over in 2015. I not only have Official regular season baseballs, I even have AZ Spring Training balls, identified by their unique (to that year) branding stamp. I also have the official AAA balls for both the Int’l League and PCL, which as you know, are supposed to be the exact same specification as the MLB ball. They sure do look and feel the same. There is something to be said at least to the difference between the “common” MiLB baseballs and these AAA & MLB baseballs – the MLB balls are tighter and almost fragile-looking. Not only are the seams lower and thinner, but the casing is thinner and stretched so tight that perforated holes are on the verge of splitting. These are not balls that could survive a pitching machine. From what investigation I’ve been able to make into it, Rawlings has undergone a corporate restructuring. Relevant to the manufacture of baseballs, there has been an increase in automation and a “cleaning up” – or, more appropriately, a tightening up – of the baseball production process. The process by which the “pill” – the cork core sheathed in a layer of black rubber and a layer of red rubber – is fabricated has been balanced and trued. Whereas previous pills may have had a tolerance of 0.001 (for example only), the improved process results in a tolerance of 0.0005. Then, from what I’ve been able to gather, the winding of the 3-ply and 4-ply yarns has gotten more precise. Tighter. More evenly distributed. Lastly, the full-grain cowhide leather casing has been stretched to its absolute maximum. If the perforation holes are being cut more precisely, and a machine is drawing the stitches as tight as possible instead of being done by hand (as in times previous), then there’s less “looseness”... and there’s less loss of rebound energy. Less deformation, less wobble, less drag, truer rotational lift. The balls aren’t juiced – they’re just made more precisely. What’s the icing on the cake? The emphasis placed on video analysis of pitchers, exit velocity and launch angle.
  4. Post a photo or two, and I and/or @wolfe_man and the rest of the “pit crew” will come up with a solution.
  5. MadMax

    Youth coaches

    @Mister B, after reading your two stories, there might be something else you’re contending with – a sense of vindication. If you’re doing amateur-youth baseball (< 18 yr old), there’s a likelihood that those coaches / teams had those exact calls called against them. Their F3 was called for Obstruction in a previous game, and their own Batter was called out for BI just last week. Know what’s scarier, that BI was called, and that crew (erroneously) called the Batter out, but also let the out stand on the CS as well! Misapplication of the Rules, whether that be by naivety or ignorance, spreads like a virus.
  6. The photo of a white, bling-y Casio G-Shock is not displaying properly for some reason (can’t seem to include URL images after Warren tweaked the site). Context. Why or how is a young, 22(?) year old umpire going to credibly insist (I keep emphasizing this, because he kept repeating it at the Plate Meeting) that all of the 14U players were devoid of all jewelry? To two dad-coaches while he kept standing there, hand on hip, and occasionally gesturing with his blinged-out arm, on a field... that already has a countdown timer in left-centerfield poised and ready to start ticking off the 1:45 time limit?! Context.
  7. I fervently believe that we need to keep context in mind on an issue like this. Are we doing a MLB / MiLB / IndePro / NCAA / NAIA or sanctioned NFHS game (ie. HS Varsity), which by definition is not time dependent? Then we really don’t need a visible time piece. A stopwatch would work best in these contextual environments, because we still have to maintain and observe time between innings, or in the event of weather delays. However, there is an increased focus on health and fitness, and I wouldn’t besmirch a colleague wearing a FitBit or other similar smart watch for those purposes (counting steps, monitoring diabetic metrics, etc.). The fact that most of these smart watches are still timepieces – for which we can satisfy the timer / stopwatch function – is a convenience for their inclusion, not a detriment that rules them out. Anyone working these levels of ball should understand that context. It’s at these tournament / travel / academy / league ballgames that everything gets murky. The vast majority of these are time dependent or time limited. It is therefore vital that someone is observing the time. If the host (TD, LD, etc.) provides a scorekeeper and/or a timekeeper, then we’re off the hook. However, we simply cannot rely on the “home book”. We need a neutral asset, and often, it falls to us. Now, whether that be a stopwatch or a pocketwatch or a wristwatch, any of these carry better connotations than a smart phone... and less temptation. Besides this, many of these tournaments and leagues use NFHS for its universality, but waive enforcement of such things as the one-piece catcher’s helmet-mask, substitutes (they bat CBO), and jewelry. Suddenly, the 12 year olds start trotting out these big necklaces (to look like their MLB idols), and 14 and 15 year olds are wearing any number and variety of wristbands. Little / Local Leagues get more challenging further because: A) they may be time limited, B) the umpire is often operating solo, autonomously, or without any onsite supervision, and C) the umpire is limited in their contextual experience. It’s in these leagues and games that wristwatch use can be tolerated, but it needs to be tempered. I once was BU on a local league game wherein my PU partner, at the plate meeting, was insistent that no jewelry was to be worn at all... yet there he stands, hand on hip, sporting one of these: https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71ciAzUNcKL._UX342_.jpg Yeah, I think you just lost your credibility there, champ.
  8. MadMax


    On Plate, I favor OTC (knee-high, at least) soccer socks, most often Nike soccer socks. They’re usually DriFIT and hold up better than their UnderArmour rivals. On Bases, I now gravitate to UA Charged Cotton or Nike Dri-Cotton crew socks. I can buy these from an Outlet or budget store (TJMaxx, Ross, Marshall’s, etc) for ~ $10 for a 6-pack. If I use a wicking sock, my feet great terribly dried out and I get cracks and callouses. Cotton, being organic, feels much better, and using the Dri-Cotton variety doesn’t let your feet get all soggy.
  9. MadMax

    Rubbing Mud

    No such luck, LRZ. 1/3rd the fields in this League here are turf, and only 1 of them has a dirt home plate circle. The others are complete turf, which on a “municipal”, multi-use field makes much more sense. Anything to keep those guys – of any age level – from digging out trenches in the batter’s boxes, and slides plowing out the 3BL.
  10. @lawump, could you please provide / post a sample lineup card representative of what we’d expect to see and approve? Example: Andrews : F8 Baker : F5 Connors : F7 Davis : DH/F3 Enriquez : F6 Forte : F4 Gregory : F2 Hicks : F9 Pitts : F1 (starting) Subs: Movover Newsome Oppotaco Replaismint
  11. Aptly said. We umpires bristle and are all scared of the P-word. However, know the best way to avoid a Protest? Know the frakkin’ Rules, and quit making sh!t up!!
  12. Follow-on to @noumpere‘s answer: Say we are between innings, and the F2 (catcher) dashes out to the plate, and the F5 (3rd Baseman) is trotting out to his spot, and on the way past the mound, picks up the ball, and at the encouragement of the F2, tries his hand at a pitch... is that F5 the new pitcher? Say we are between innings, and the assistant coach sends #22 out to mound as a new pitcher. Concurrently, the Head Coach is talking with you (as PU) and wants #32 to be the new pitcher. You look up at the pitcher... the numbers don’t match, so you ask the HC what’s up with this error. He tells #22 he doesn’t want him pitching yet. Is #22 the new pitcher, and is he committed to facing a batter? Say the DT is in a mound conference, and the HC takes the ball from SP #41, and hands it to his F6 (Shortstop) #11, who takes all his accessories off, and toes the rubber, and makes a warmup pitch. Then, an assistant coach calls out to the HC that #11 is over his pitch count, and “can’t pitch”. Is #11 now “locked in” and committed to being the new pitcher? The answer to each of these is No. The changes have not been formally announced, and/or the ball has not been made Live (again) yet. That first one, in particular, is one that trips up a lot of baseball participants – players, coaches and umpires alike. Kids are kids, and kids are (often) morons. Just because an infielder Ian trots to the mound to pick up the ball, stand there and wait for his pitcher friend Jackson to toss or hand it to him, does not mean that Ian is the new pitcher, or should “suffer” a penalty of being considered the new pitcher, replacing Jackson.
  13. My crew is using: Fūl Workhorse (mine) – a wheeled split-level duffle that holds everything except shirts/jackets/plate coat. When traveling by air, those wearables are packed in the duffle, but when traveling by road or rail, I keep those wearables in a Stevoy 40” Gusset Garment Travel Bag (best $10 spent on Amazon this year). Diamond 33” Rolling Gear Duffle – my crewmate carries everything in this, including his extensive arsenal of polishing supplies. Wilson Split-level Gear Bag – my other crewmate carries everything he needs in this. We are able to pack all three of these in the trunk of our crew car (sedan), along with our personal luggage, laundry bags, and a complete cleaning tote for the crew. Several of my Vultures and colleagues back home favor the Force3 Ultimate Gear Bag. I opted for the Fūl, because like the eBags model, came in at a budget-friendly sub-$100 price tag.
  14. I’m not going to flame you... this is smart. I actually take it a step further. At the close of the plate meeting, I click the button on my/our (crew) stopwatch right in front of the coaches. Invariably, an assistant coach or designated scorekeeper or “book baron” will inquire with, “What was our start time?”. I’ll answer, after quick checking the stopwatch, with, “45 seconds ago”. Oh sure, I might give them a clock-standard time, but I emphasize that we are on a timer/stopwatch, and that we (the umpires) have the official time. I do not shave time. I have worked with guys who do, and it’s gotten them into trouble eventually. Despite not fooling with the timepiece, I’m not immune to outbursts of idiotic, unwarranted grief. On one particular, memorable USSSA 13U game, I clicked the stopwatch in front of both coaches. 2 hours later, time expired as the HT batter hit into what became the 3rd Out. I fished out my stopwatch, and saw 2:00:25, and called the game as complete. This one dad for the HT went certifiably _apesh!t_, claiming I was “robbing the kids of playing baseball, but you’re (I’m) still getting paid!!! You’re robbing them!!! And getting paid!!!”. He was visibly shaking and pacing back and forth like an agitated animal. I held the stopwatch up towards the HC, speaking through him towards the griping parent, “Look at it! The time reads 2:00:45. I can’t fast forward a stopwatch!!” Evidently, we started at ~ 7:58am. The parents were under the assumption we started at 8:00am, “‘cuz that’s what the schedule said.” Now now, no need to be cheeky. Some of my fellow Vultures use their phones, while others have Apple Watches, FitBits, or those Samsung “Watches”. As I said, I don’t have a problem with a colleague using a phone – often for scheduling and coordination issues – in a discrete manner, because I know (at least trust) that he will not be caught unawares when I’m about to put the ball back in play. Or, he’s going to go to the fence and turn his back to check between innings instead of standing there at A after the 3rd out and promptly fish out his phone. @yawetag is right... I and several of my colleagues favor stopwatches, and use this model: Or, if you want an inexpensive countdown timer & stopwatch, this is $10.99 at Amazon: Amble Stopwatch, Countdown Timer and Stopwatch Record 20 Memories Lap Split Time with Tally Counter and Calendar Clock with Alarm for Sports Coaches and Referees https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L8PSTC9/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_ifadDbTGZQK2B
  15. Because you're you, and from what I've read, you're in a position of some sort of leadership. Also, there are games which are conducted bereft of any supervision or authority other than the umpires. For those, it is a personal and professional well-being issue best addressed by having a phone accessible / close at hand. However, when doing tournament or academy ball, or sanctioned High School or Collegiate ball, there is either a site director, tournament director, athletic director, or some sort of supervisory staff present. For those games, you really don't need a phone, and as such, you shouldn't have a phone. Even though that phone might have a countdown timer / stopwatch / and clock on it more advanced than my simple stopwatch, I really don't want a developing umpire, or an umpire I don't know (ie. haven't worked with before) to have a phone on him. There are too many temptations and tendencies to take calls / answer texts / engage in social media / etc. during the game when they are really needed to perform their job attentively. Now, I would be a hypocrite if I didn't mention that my fellow Vultures do carry our phones with us, in some manner, on games. However, I trust that these colleagues: A) understand the context (they don't bring their phones on field during High School, College, or Pro games), and B) exhibit enough discretion to know what, when, and how to utilize their phones. There are days when we're conducting games, but then have games later on that we're still receiving scheduling information on.
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