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MadMax last won the day on March 30

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. MadMax

    The Balloon

    That Norman Rockwell painting exhibits one key point as to why the balloon fell out of favor... How many umpires are depicted? Yup. Sure, the inside protector was started by the Major League guys, but it really gained traction in the Minor League and parallel environments. Those games wherein there were 2 or less umpires, and as runner / base responsibilities and rotations were instituted and formalized, the PU now was expected to be more mobile. To get to third base. To take the mask off (with the proper hand, too!), be in the optimum position, and make a/the call, vocal and mechanic. That balloon is luggage.
  2. No, in 3-man, with R1, the only time PU rotates to 3B is on a ball that exits the infield, whether by grounder thru, liner, or fly ball. So, let's cover how this works for various places the ball goes. Again, with R1 (only), U1 is in A, and U3 is in B-deep: Grounder thru the infield, any direction. Heading towards 3B, PU mirrors the movement of R1 to 2B, and as soon as he rounds 2B and commits to 3B, notifies / announces / calls to his U3 crewmate that he has 3B. This is a rotation (half of it; U1 only "completes" the other half, and rotates to HP if/when R1 commits to 3B). Liner to the outfield, any direction between F7 and F9. Same as (1). Liner to right field, Fair/Foul determination by U1. If U1 judges and signals Fair, and then sinks to watch the touch of 1B by BR, then PU is to rotate to 3B to take up position on the outside (foul side). Once BR has touched 1B, U1 will release BR to U3, and rotate to HP (calling "Rotate! Rotate!" to his crewmates). If U1 goes out (down RFL) to judge Fair/Foul (thus, a longer determination), then PU rotates to 3B to take up position on the inside (fair side), anticipating a possible overthrow / mishandled reception, and R1 advancing to HP, which PU will have to move to cover. U1 is out, and must remain out. This reverts to 2-man mechanics. Liner to left field, Fair/Foul determination by PU. Move towards 3B, in a controlled manner, on the line so as to first judge Fair/Foul, and any potential catch/no-catch. Signal appropriately. If Fair, complete the rotation by arriving at 3B in the best position reflective of the throw. Once BR has touched 1B, U1 will be reading R1's movements, and if he commits to 3B, U1 will complete the rotation just like (3b). Fly ball to right field. U1 goes out (and should, with no or 1 runner on, and from A position). This reverts to 2-man. Rotate in accordance to ball/runner status (ball is uncaught, move towards 3B while mirroring R1; ball is caught (trouble catch), move towards 3B if/when R1 tags and advances; ball goes over the fence (HR), position yourself so you can watch the touches of 3B and HP by both R1 and BR). Fly ball to left field. Begin to move towards 3B. Catch/no-catch is U3's responsibility, but anticipate if the ball is uncaught. Rotate accordingly. Fly ball to left field, Fair/Foul "trouble" ball. As soon as it becomes PU's Fair/Foul call, it is also Catch/No-Catch. Move towards 3B in a controlled manner, just like (4). If Fair, and Uncaught, complete the rotation. If caught, complete the rotation only if R1 advances to R2 and commits to 3B. Did I miss any? Oh, besides this... grounder / pop-up / bunt that stays in the infield? No rotation. Not even on an overthrow. If there is some guidance from a manual somewhere that directs U3 to go out in Play (6), then U1 is reacting accordingly (coming in on a D&G / pivot), and PU is rotating to 3B as per 2-man mechanics.
  3. It's not a fear, so much as it is an observation of history.
  4. Any time there's a (implied or incurred) lack of publicized penalties, and that a person / team / club / group is "getting away with it", I start thinking this clip from M*A*S*H* :
  5. You know, I'm reading and re-reading the title of this thread – "After Effects of COVID-19 on Officiating" – and it suddenly struck me... if, at the end of this, they require us (as officials) to take any additional training or certification on something so obscure and irrelevant to the game, such as... oh, I don't know... "Recognition and Addressing of Infectious Diseases" (RAID) or "Special Training of Umpires for the Prevention of Infectious Diseases" (STUPID), I'll know we, as a sports culture, have jumped the shark. It's not us who are spreading diseases during games! Hey coaches (and players, as you'll see in other sports *cough cough soccer! cough cough*)... stop comin' out to talk to us, stop gettin' in our face, stop touchin' us, stop huffin' and puffin', stop breathin' on us, stop spittin' on us (soccer!), and doubly sure now... don't be touchin' us! Congruently, if I've now gotta add more to my Plate Meeting with "Are all players legally and properly equipped? Are all players and coaches cleared on potential transmission of an infectious disease?" (watch, @Richvee, @Kevin_K and the rest of you Jersey Boys, New Jersey will add it, just cuz their mandatory Plate Meeting is already excruciatingly long), I'mma gonna lose it. I think, of all the sports, the two that harbor the most potential for us (as officials) to get exposed to aerosol disease transmission are wrestling... and soccer (again, because players love to get in referee's faces and potentially spit on them; if you think I'm exaggerating, you haven't watched a Latin American or South European (think Italy) match). I'd include boxing / MMA if any of us here (umpire-empire) actually did officiate those two. Notice, though, curiously... boxing and MMA referees do wear sanitary gloves during a match, primarily because of the risk of blood & fluid -borne pathogens. Now, I don't think we need those for baseball; yeah, there were all these knee-jerk outcries of "well, that pitcher is going to be licking his fingers and then touching the ball!", but really... as scientists and virologists have pointed out, the virus itself is rather fragile. UV light (baseball is played outside), high temperatures (above around 50-55º), dry conditions all destroy it. It can live, undisturbed, on most fabrics between 3-4 hours. Copper (because it is a natural antiseptic metal) and wood (because it dehydrates the viral molecule, causing it to disintegrate) are the best of the rigid materials. Cardboard does poorly at retention, harboring the intact molecules for around 24 hours. Metals (other than copper) fare worse, at upwards of 40 hours. Worse still – and incredibly incriminating of how overly dependent we as a culture are on artificiality – plastics can harbor the intact viral molecule for 72 hours. So, as a point of levity... wood bats do have an advantage over metal bats! Ha! "The virus molecules remain very stable in external cold, or artificial as air conditioners in houses and cars. They also need moisture to stay stable, and especially darkness. Therefore, dehumidified, dry, warm and bright environments will degrade it faster." – This is why I have been so optimistic for those of us living in the southwest USA, and for baseball. Sure, we have a lot of air conditioning in Arizona; the state would be nearly untenable if we didn't. But, for those of us who are outside, in the sunshine, in the heat, in the dryness of a/the desert, we're at an exceptional, realistic low chance of being exposed and/or receiving the virus. Sitting in an office job, tapping away on a keyboard in a cubicle / workstation farm, or routinely hovering over a smartphone or tablet is actually at a much higher risk. Am I slamming anybody who has a job like that? No. Am I wishing ill upon them? No. But certainly, the sports official job that you folks look down your noses at, deride, and scoff at is actually more beneficial to one's health and fitness, and puts us in a better... shall we say... position? To bring this back to sports officiating, despite the indeterminate interruption of the sports we officiate, I don't think COVID-19 is going to affect sports officiating itself. What will be more damaging, and indeed is already compounding the problem, is if we continue to set up more restrictions, more compulsory "certifications", and more discriminations ("too old", "too short", "too much style", "too quick") – and increase the costs associated with them – we will undoubtedly see more and more potential officials, at all levels, opt out.
  6. Right, and you never almost never will. Especially if you rise up (on strikes), instead of staying down, which you should on... well... balls. There's a singer-songwriter I followed back in my twenties. He penned and performed a song titled, "Ruin My Life"... He'd always start every performance of it with this opening phrase – "Nothing good can come from this." Unless this guy has, or shows, the pedigree and credentials to substantiate it, I'd take any pointers someone like this offered with reservation. It reads like he's giving pointers just because he can. He's presenting them as imperatives ("should") instead of possibilities or opportunities ("could"). Granted, at least he's giving you a reason. You'll (in fact, all of us will) encounter colleagues and peers like this that will take on a trainer or evaluator role, completely unwarranted or unrequested. Fixed it for you. The Rip Cord is only one of several possibilities. One can do any of them, provided they do it well.
  7. Boomer? My parents are Boomers, Stu. I'm Gen-X. Biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig difference.
  8. Alright, you asked... Impact #1, Wednesday afternoon, High School Varsity game, RHB... inside fastball, batter lunged back, catcher didn't put anything on it... direct hit (and it was bigger pre-ice... The "after" photos are during the exam at Urgent Care, so about 2 hours post-facto: The next night, I was on Bases for a High School Varsity game, and iced it right before the game, and immediately after. Impact #2 came on that Friday, midday, for a NAIA College DoubleHeader... I'm on Plate for the first one. RHB, foul ball, and I'm damn lucky I rolled my hand off my knee as the pitch was inbound, because you can see where it impacted. It missed the catcher completely: You can see where my hand rests – right in that cove of the C-shaped bruise (which is actually drainage)... Because I'm doing pretty much a Plate game per day, I rest my hand on that spot... which forces the draining blood away, out and down, resulting in that sickening shape. So too in that game, as Impact #2.5, I took a foul ball direct to the mask that knocked the mask off, and left a "burn" on my chin. Didn't hurt, but that impact sure did startle me, and everybody else. The next day, Saturday, we're doing the third game of the series, but I'm on Bases, because my partner took pity on me (thanks Joey). Day after that, Sunday, I've got 5 games of USSSA 13-year old baseball to do. I am requested to do 3 plates, and on the 1st game (3rd game of the 5 overall), I get a Impact #3... Of course, it's a kid zipping to a 0-2 count and then wanting to throw a curveball, which he spikes at 57 feet and the catcher gets nothing on it: I finish the day without further incident, and take the photos that evening. The next day, Monday, I am doing the plate on the 3rd High School game of the day for me (Arizona started their Open Invite Tournament series), 2nd Plate game, and I get a skipper on the inside that spikes at 59', rattles off the catcher, and caroms off my left thigh – again – much to my consternation. Impact #4. Then, that night, the rains descended upon us, and we lost baseball for the week. This was then compounded by the arrival of the Apocalvirus. So, I guess it means I won't get beat up for awhile.
  9. I need your permission to use this photo, please. I want to use it to demonstrate to "new" umpires that yes, even a toddler knows to wear their umpire hat bill forward.
  10. W-2's and 1099's become rather... dissuasive to most folks doing this as an "active hobby", supportive, or supplemental income. There have been times in my past where umpiring represented about 30-40% of my income, and having to factor in 1099's – instead of cash – actually complicated my income tax filing.
  11. Hey @Sut'n Blue! May I suggest something like this... These are Roadie Case (Trunk) Handles. Since you've already built the frame, these can be mounted externally, unlike the inset ones that have to be planned and built around... or Those external handles, though, are priced at just under $5 each, located at: https://www.parts-express.com/penn-elcom-h1053k-surface-mount-handle-black--262-305?gclid=Cj0KCQjwyPbzBRDsARIsAFh15JZmESXE2grckN_D2b-h-aQ6yDJilSRTgxFvoueXzXb3vokh8DHIY88aAnvREALw_wcB This way, you can easily lift that framework on and off the Jeep as needed.
  12. Since Show & Tell is all we're left with... These first two were from the 2019 season of the NorthWoods League. Overcast, humid Sunday day game, and yes, Green Bay is wearing their Northwoods Gingham jerseys. You're not seeing things. Next up, this was the crew for the Western Conference playoff series of the NorthWoods League, being held in Waterloo, IA. @tpatience was on the Eastern Conference side. I don't have "Trevor-height", but in this crew, I'm noticeably the tallest. This lack of Spring Training baseball is killing me. So, I drummed up a photo from 3 years ago, wherein the Brewers AA club was hosting Team Korea in Maryvale Stadium. Yes, I'm wearing Pitch Black Camo, which is a shirt pattern the Brewers dig on us, and the Koreans seemed to get a kick out of.
  13. MadMax

    Intentional Walks

    So the count is now 2 balls, 0 strikes, right? As a baseball guy, I'd have a real hard time buying an intentional walk on 1-1, unless that first strike was a foul ball that where the Batter just missed tee'ing one up, the pitcher doesn't have a good track record against that batter, and the batter likely ain't going to miss again. In any case, an Intentional Walk (IBB) is a Dead-Ball Award. Time is called by the Plate Umpire, and the Batter is signaled/directed/instructed to take 1B. Thus, the calling of "Time" is at the request of the defense, thus, the IBB has to be enacted. With Time (already) called, the offense then contacts / approaches the PU, and indicates he wants to substitute. At this point, is he substituting a pinch runner for the (new) R1, or a Pinch Batter for the upcoming Batter? This proceeds in sequential steps, guys... just like there are "no ties in baseball", there are no simultaneous requests for Time.
  14. Before the pandemic hit, my fellow Vultures and I were implementing some new finds to our gear retinue. We've been contemplating taking football girdle-shorts, with the thigh pads already stitched onto them, and repositioning those thigh pads from the outer-flank of the thigh to the inner flank of the thigh, and a bit lower down, more towards the knee. I myself got hit 3 times in 4 games on the inner thigh! One of my Vulture buddies ordered the new All-Star Catcher's Sliding Shorts: As soon as he received them, and I got a chance to check 'em out, I ordered myself a set. They're good, and a step in the right direction, but that inner-thigh diamond padding isn't quite the same as hard plate. Which, of course, would be ideal. So, until we get around to repositioning those thigh plates onto a set of sliding shorts (w/ cup pocket), these will have to carry the load. But, these are shorts. What does one wear for the rest of the leg? Sure, some guys would add tights over these, but here in SW US, the more layers you add, the more heat you combat. I used sliding shorts (w/ cup pocket) for awhile, and thought I had the rest of the leg solved by using OTC/knee-high soccer socks. These worked, but over time, I've been wearing out the heels, or with all the abuse they get, start to wear out or lose their elasticity. And these socks can get expensive. I had managed to get a set of sliding tights (w/ cup pocket) off eBay, and thus allowed me to use just black, cotton, cheap crew socks, which were much more comfortable on my feet and on my credit card. But, these tights don't have the padding on the inner thigh (yet) that these All-Stars offer. So, I tracked down on Groupon and Amazon, and gave a try to a set of Calf Compression Sleeves: (those are not my feet) This is working out great. I can now use "any ol' socks", roll these calf compression sleeves on, don the sliding shorts that have the inner leg protection, throw the personal protector in, snap on the shin guards, and I'm good to go. I can buy crew socks, in cotton, for what amounts to $1-2 per pair, and beat them to smithereens, and wash them repeatedly. So too, I can bring the sliding shorts back into a rotation without having to be dependent on the lone set of tights I have. And when you're doing 2-6 games per day, 5-6 days per week (which we were on pace for until this stupid outbreak happened), anything that reduces the gear abuse is welcome. Oh, I nearly forgot... why not just use football girdle-shorts? Like these?: Because: A) I/we don't need the hip and tailbone padding, which just increases bulk, B) these don't have a cup pocket, C) the thigh plates don't cover exactly where needed, the inner thigh. So, I'm endeavouring to get a set of these, carefully snip away the stitching holding the thigh plates and pads to the shorts, transplant the plates and pads to a set of baseball slider shorts and stitch them on in the exact spots I need covered, and then just use the remaining shorts with their hip and tailbone pads for snowboarding, skating, or mountain biking, where I'm more likely to have a hip-pointer.
  15. Sure, C-beyond works for 4-man, and is an effective IP to be at. The MLB guys have experimented and slowly implemented it over the past, what, 2-3 years now? The problem isn't the use of it by MLB guys, and/or in 4-man. The problem is the use of it, and the imitation of it by less-experienced umpires who don't understand the purposes, context, and environment within which they themselves are working. Especially true when these less-than-MLB umpires (I'll concede, the MiLB guys working 4-man might or should be exempt) are working 3-man and 2-man! In 2-man, with R1 (or R1+R3), the BU shall/should be in B! So, he's seeing that steal of 2B, or the FP@2B from the inside anyway. Repeatedly. Same goes for 3-man, that when there is R1, U3's IP is B-deep, while with R2 or R2+R3 (and less than 2 outs), U1 is in B-deep. Why would we ever introduce C-beyond to this? One of my 3-man crewmembers experimented with C-beyond as U3 for a game. While we didn't have any blown calls, or mangled rotations, he was advised by our supervisor not to use it until we went to 4-man / 6-man crews for the playoffs. Once we were merged with another crew for 6-man playoffs, he was placed at U2 for all three games (by our supervisor) and encouraged with, "use whichever IP you wish", and that's what he did... use C-beyond each and every time the situation called for it. Now, with setting up in C-beyond requires discipline. Are you technically outside (already) or are you just in a "different" spot inside? Say we're in 4-man, and we have a R1, with a fly ball to Left... Is U2 already out? Does that mean U3 has to come in? Who's taking R1 to 2B if it isn't caught? Is U2 coming in, and leaving the catch/no-catch to U3? What if it drops, and now we have a throw/play made to 2B for a Force out? What if it takes F7 to the wall, where he makes the catch, but now R1 prepares and makes an attempt to tag-and-advance? That's just one example. It's more effective to instruct and entrench BU's, and get them in the practiced, experienced habit of reading plays from B-deep, or at least inside than to experiment with C-beyond. Leave C-beyond to guys who are routinely in a 4+-man environment and working with a crew who communicates together or knows when/how each other are going to react.
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