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MadMax last won the day on November 17 2019

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)

Recent Profile Visitors

10,718 profile views
  1. Could you post a photo or two of the finished rig?
  2. Here’s something that jumped out at me... where’s the pitcher, backing up the throw to the plate? Multiple runners on with a multi-base hit, the pitcher should start heading towards the plate to back up the incoming throw, and position himself towards the backstop. Pros know to do this, college players know to do this, high-end high school age amateurs know to do this... that this pitcher wasn’t there indicates these players were amateur – little kid to youth. Then, when you say “scrimmage”, this ices it. Instructional, low-end high school at best. So, that establishes context. Granted, without being there to see it happen, but do you really think R1 intentionally – went out of his way, made a distinct effort to – interfered with the catcher so as to trip him? Let’s extrapolate this further... what if the throw had gotten lodged in the backstop, or kicked into the dugout or some other DBT? Can’t exactly call interference – and an out – on a ball that’s unplayable and dead, can we? Thus, as it is many times, comes down to judgement. At that context, don’t fall into the trappings and rigidity of rulings devoid of judgements and interpretations. Take it for what it is – a play and call during a scrimmage – and a learning opportunity for all involved.
  3. Reebok didn’t pull out, they were directed out by their parent company, Adidas. This move coincided with taking Reebok out of the NFL and NHL, and reducing their catalog to CrossFit. While I wouldn’t, myself, wear Reebok Zig Plates or Field Magistrate Plates (or any Reeboks or Adidas, their lasts don’t fit me), I appreciate their simple effectiveness of design and execution. Also, by having multiple options of plate shoes available on the market, competitively prices, it helps keep all the models prices reasonable. It’s a shame that another manufacturer hasn’t acquired Reebok’s planform and produced their own line (like Smitty did with the NB 460v1’s). Guys, baseball may still use belts and button-up jerseys, but there’s no reason we have to stick to patent leather shoes!
  4. This is false. The manufacturers will say this, but there isn’t a single study, or a testing series, that has statistical proof. Instead, what has compelled them to abandon titanium in favor of either magnesium and aluminum, or (hollow) steel is cost... specifically cost of replacement. Aluminum doesn’t bend (at least in mask form). Magnesium certainly doesn’t bend, and if cast, won’t break at the joints. By contrast, hollow steel does bend, but is remarkably cheap to produce and to weld. Mask geometry contributes something to the protective equation, but when a mask is compromised, what do most customers / users do? Replace it! And when they pay a premium price for that mask, there is an implicit, valid belief that they should be supported and serviced by the manufacturer reflective of that premium price! This is why Nike never sold the Icon Titanium here! Wilson lost a substantial amount of money on two products in their baseball catalog – the Platinum -edition Titanium mask, and the Shock FX HSM, especially as marketed to catchers. Both premium priced, both with inherit flaws, both representing considerable, complex costs for production, but both were subject to repeated return and/or replacement claims. And with how much influence Wilson wields on the umpiring community, how do you “persuade” them to cease using a particular item? The point of sharing all this with you, though, isn’t the mask – it’s the pads! It’s the pads, pads, pads! Not one of these major manufacturers is doing anything to take the pads to the next step. Sure, All-Star is now placing a distributor plate in the jaw pad of the Magnesium mask, but why isn’t this being replicated to all pads? Why isn’t someone brokering a deal with Team Wendy, or another foam innovator? Lately, with improvements made in machining, the pads are precision cut, and cleanly stitched, but why isn’t this more widespread? Scott, if your contact at Adidas wants to be a part of radically changing and improving the market, then they need to court some new ideas on pads... ... and you know how to contact me.
  5. @KenBAZ will likely drop you a note here, too... Unfortunately, I’ll miss you, since I’ll be back in Wisconsin for the week with my family. If I was here, I’d take you and your son around to the Major League facilities. Each of them have top-notch batting cages and pitching lanes, and if you know the facilities managers, we can get in for a few minutes. The best alternative though, is to go to Extra Innings in Mesa or to Chad Moeller’s (ex-MLB catcher) Team Dinger academy in Scottsdale – http://www.scottsdalebattingcages.com/
  6. Everyone learns differently. So you, and others, may favor live pitching, where you start tracking at the source. That’s completely valid and not wrong. Conversely, I’d rather work in reverse, where the trainee isn’t – or has no reason for – flinching, ducking, bobbing, or drifting. This is also an ideal environment to introduce and develop timing. I want them focusing on the arrival of the pitch, where and how it traverses the zone, processing it, and then rendering a judgement... all without having to worry about a pitch hitting them, or a coach or fans barking at them, especially at how variable the catcher may (or may not) have caught it. Again, both approaches are valid. The real shame is when: A) leagues (and associations) are in such dire need for umpires, they push new guys – who are often not much more than trainees – into live games, usually little kids and solo; and B) associations and “trainers” have such little time (or patience) for really developing trainees gradually, pitch by pitch. They put the trainees in a pitching lane, video record them, give them some “tips” and criticism, and then hasten them off to the next step. These don’t happen every time; but, they do happen often enough.
  7. You’re not wrong at all! At the lower levels, it probably is the team sport that – contextually – requires the least amount of skill. At the upper/elite levels, especially at the international level, soccer has become the stand-in for international warfare. Really! It is! Instead of invading a country, Germany just waits and trains for the upcoming _________ Cup and obliterates an opponent that way! Then, don’t even get me started on the Latinos and their fútbol. Point to ponder – the Aztecs were feared / infamous for playing a “game” that was a cross between soccer and basketball... and the losers were killed afterwards! The Latinos take soccer (way too) seriously!!!
  8. Since arriving in Arizona 4 years ago, and embarking on doing at least 300 to 400 games per year, I am not dodging Plates, but I sure am not earnestly volunteering for them. It simply is the physical burden, the wear and tear of it. Engaging into and recovering from a plate stance, repeatedly, gets exhausting. Again, though, I bring up context. Am I here for a 9-inning game for adult or pro-level players? Will these 9 innings – possibly 300-or-so pitches – improve, progress, and hone my skillset, or will I maintain status quo? Or, am I haphazardly placing myself into a span of 3 games – some 15 to 21 innings – of 12-14 year olds? Where, while fatigue accumulates on me, not only do I run the risk of getting hit by wayward pitches, but having my zone discernment decay, spurred by the frustration of not getting enough strikes? Are my skills truly improving here? To a man, my fellow Vultures are all skilled, competent Plate and Base Umpires. When we work together, we simply concede that the guy who feels less beat up takes Plate. However, when we work with guys we don’t know, or aren’t familiar with, we make a much more conscious choice – do we want to get even more beat-up? Or, do we run the risk of watching a PU struggle to define and maintain a zone, and endure a walk-fest? Frankly, I’d much rather have developing umpires get into pitching lanes, with pitching machines, and get familiar with seeing pitches. I was afforded the luxury of seeing thousands of pitches traverse the plate (and a fair share that couldn’t even find the plate) as a catcher. If I didn’t have that background, I’d be trying to get into pitching lanes, batting practices, or bullpen sessions as often as possible. Granted, there’s a device I’ve been considering fabricating that would greatly aid in these efforts, but that’s for another time and talk.
  9. @Kevin_K, I’m going to follow on to your post with this... and... Then... I have this sinking suspicion that Joe is asking this from a fan/observer’s standpoint, and there’s a twinge of sour grapes here. The unasked question to maven’s and LRZ’s replies of “preventive umpiring” is – “well, why didn’t you (or the Umpire present) call it the first time, then??!!”. I have a hunch that there was a R3 in the first video sequence of pitches, and that he didn’t score... and that Joe believes he should have. What Joe needs to be made aware of is the element of context. This isn’t the Major Leagues, or even College, for that matter. Anything less than that is amateur baseball, and Adult leagues aside, thus is developmental baseball. The players are developing their respective skills, and the coaches and umpires are there to support and administer that development. I’m not saying coddle. I chose the word “administer” very specifically. A synonym to “administer” is “adjudicate”, or judge. Does every judge throw the full weight of the book-of-law at every defendant or violator? Certainly not. Different scenarios and circumstances – different contexts – require different handlings, interpretations, treatments, and applications.
  10. Yup... or shall I say, “Sí”... Latin American (including Mexico and South America) soccer. There are real reports of referees being murdered after a match. Not rumors. Any time the ball gets near or within the 18-yd box, or a set piece (free kick or corner kick), I’m convinced that the referees say a prayer that any calls they need to make are blatantly obvious, because if they make a “controversial” call, they have courted death. Want less morbidness but just as much vitriol? There’s an anecdote that the premier Italian soccer league, Serie A, dressed their officials in day-glo, neon yellow from Diadora so security officials could rapidly identify the referees and come to their rescue if an argument or fight broke out. Major League Baseball could do themselves a massive benefit by either mic’ing the Crew Chief, or educating the stadium PA staff (the “voice” of their respective ballpark) on what the ruling signals are, or create a link between the Crew Chief and the PA staff. Something to explain, even briefly and succinctly, what the call / ruling is. The only trouble with mic’ing the Crew Chief directly actually isn’t the umpires, it’s the managers / players, and how foul-mouthed they are. Something is bound to be picked up off a hot mic. I had a personal experience in this: I was doing a broadcast game, and I (as U1) had a U3K become lodged in / behind the catcher’s CP. It didn’t come loose or drop out when he stood up, but instead, he visibly reached into his CP to fish out the baseball. I called “Time”, said “That’s a lodged ball. You! (BR) First Base!”. DTM took a few steps out just to inquire what the call was, since he didn’t (quite) hear it. I explained it simply, and we returned to baseball. When I reviewed the broadcast, the announcers / commentators had absolutely no idea what I called, nor why I called it!!! They went on for two additional innings trying to figure it out, fumbling over conjecture on interference or hit-by-pitch, but ultimately, never getting it right. So now take that, amp up that intensity by dropping it in the World Series, broadcast to millions of neophytes, and let blowhards like Alex Rodriguez explain it. Ugh.
  11. And to @beerguy55 (sorry, just can’t seem to quote it)... I’m specifically addressing the MLB / MiLB level. Where are the injuries? Surely, when Buster Posey got injured at a play at the plate, the rule was addressed and modified relatively soon after. When Rubén Tejada broke his leg via Chase Utley’s slide, the rule got addressed, modified, and clarified. So where’s the key injury? Where’s the smoking gun? @Coach BIll wants this implemented into MLB / MiLB to “alleviate injuries”... was there an injury in that play? No. Sooooooo
  12. Show me (us) the numbers of injuries that are occurring at first base at the professional level (Major and Minor) before pulling The Injury Prevention Card out in your argument. Follow that with the injury numbers for College as well. I believe that the Safety Base is addressed in Fed Rules on a case-by-case basis, due to the selective use of it depending on the facility. Obviously, it’s not compulsory, but you can be sure that if there were measurable injuries due to the absence of the Safety Base, the Fed would mandate it. The injuries you speak of just aren’t happening.
  13. To echo the advice of @tpatience and @The Man in Blue... you need not get a brand-new Wilson or Douglas CP to have comprehensive protection. Champion’s P2xx CP still is one of the most popular CP’s in the Minor Leagues because it’s: At a sub-$80 price point Slim, trim, and low profile Available in 3 torso lengths One-third to one-half the cost of Wilson CP’s (cannot be said enough) Then, you have the CP that I and a few others here on U-E made famous – the Schutt / Adams XV. It too is at a sub-$80 price point, uses latest generation foam, and its carapace is extremely well ventilated. The only drawback is that it is one-size-fits-most. I routinely take it into 90mph+ environments, and I have zero concerns about it.
  14. Any of these Adidas -produced Icon -shaped masks are not titanium. Instead, they’ve been showing up in one of two constructions. The majority of them are a really well-made hollow steel. Instead of being a large, thin-walled tube that gets dipped in vinyl cladding (as most of the Nike Icon hollow steels were), these are a narrower tube with thicker walls, and when lightly powdercoated with what amounts to a sealant, looks a lot like titanium. The welds are neat; much neater than the Nike Icon steels, primarily because the Nike completed masks were dipped, and the dip would obscure ugly welds. However, I adamantly maintain I had a different variant in my hands in the past 2 years. Looks exactly like an Icon, but instead of hollow steel, was solid wire. In order to achieve similar lightweight-ness as aluminum and titanium, steel must be hollow. So, if it’s solid, it’s gotta be titanium or aluminum. We already established that these are not titanium, so could it have been aluminum? Doubtful, because pure aluminum masks usually have brittle welds (prime to pop). So, what’s an aluminum alloy that allows for more steel-like ductility and more effective welding? And, something a European company like Adidas would have access to? Titanal... invented and controlled by an Austrian company. So, my writings and suggestions that these masks might be Titanal are speculative, but are deductive based on the available evidence and factors.
  15. MadMax

    MiLB Shake UP

    This might be a precursory move so as to package and present expansion – to the owners and the players union.
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