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Everything posted by MadMax

  1. MadMax

    Fielders Balk

    I wrote an answer covering this exact topic on Quora. Please note, this is somewhat diluted, and in layman’s terms, due to Quora being a broad, general Q&A forum. ——————— Question: How can a first baseman cause a balk? A first baseman (abbreviated as 1B, or in fielding notation F3) can cause a balk to be called, but it’s not for the reason you, and several other questions here on Quora allude to, think of. Also, this is not attributed to the F3 in the official scorebook, thus, it is not a “first baseman’s balk”; a Balk can only be ascribed to the pitcher. By rule, a pickoff attempt by a pitcher must be thrown directly to a base for the purposes of making a play on a Runner either occupying that base, or attempting to advance (steal) to that base. If no play is applied, attempted, or judged to have been attempted, then the throw is illegal. And with (a) runner(s) on base, an illegal throw by the pitcher is a Balk. Here’s a great example (a shame it happened to my favorite team): KBO DFS ACCOUNT 씨발 on Twitter (silly Tweets, can’t embed them) Watch carefully. Brandon Woodruff makes a pickoff throw to 1B, and Eric Thames receives the throw by stepping well away from the bag (towards the mound and home plate), and neither acknowledges Wong’s (the runner) retreat to the base, nor makes any gesture, even a cursory one, that would constitute a tag attempt. Thus, this is judged to be illegal, and a balk. Now, there are several things Thames could have done that would have made this just a routine, legal pickoff attempt: Thames could have been closer to the base. A reach’s distance, approximately 3 feet. Thames could have received the throw, and simply have turned his head and upper body, gauging and preparing to tag Wong as he retreated to the base. Thames, had he been closer to the bag, wouldn’t necessarily have to look at Wong. He could have nonchalantly brush-tagged Wong after he had retreated to the base. Any of those three acts could have been judged as routine, and negated the Balk. Is Thames the cause of the Balk call? Yes. Is the Balk, though, ascribed to him? No, the Balk is ascribed to Woodruff, the pitcher. Now, with that said, let’s cover one of the biggest myths in baseball – the “First Baseman’s Balk” for being in Foul Territory. The Rules state that all fielders, other than the catcher, shall be in fair territory at time of pitch so as to make it a legal pitch. Is a pickoff attempt a pitch? No, it is not a pitch. Thus, it doesn’t matter where, exactly, the first baseman is positioned prior to a throw, so long as he is attempting to make a play on the runner. So, can he stand in foul territory, just beyond the base, and receive a pickoff attempt throw? Certainly. Can he stand there, in foul territory, when a pitch is delivered? No, technically not. However, a Balk is a judgement call based on “technical qualifying factors”. Pitchers must stop, or pause, when coming set, prior to delivering the pitch (with runners on). What constitutes a “stop”? Who defines it? The umpires do, in their judgement. I’m going to tell you, nobody is watching the particular positioning of the first baseman’s feet while a pitch is being delivered; and, if they are, no umpire worth their salt, especially at the professional levels, is going to call Time at the end of a pitch, penalize the pitcher for a balk, and award a base. They (We) just. won’t. do. it. Because, if we want to get technical, how does the first baseman’s left foot being in foul territory affect that pitch the pitcher just pitched? It doesn’t. Simple.
  2. Because a viral infection, I have a fightin’ chance of surviving... ... I won’t survive a/the lawsuit that will surely be attached to it.
  3. Still waitin’ on you, or anybody else, to prove that the virus is on a baseball. Existence ≠ presence ≠ exposure ≠ contraction ≠ infection ≠ hospitalization ≠ death @JaxRolo has satisfied the definition of a mask, has he not? Who are you to say otherwise?
  4. According to MLB.com, the placed runner is ascribed to a Team Error, and does not affect the pitcher’s stats. And, technically, the runner is a Designated Runner (this is what MLB.com calls it), and cannot be a “ghost runner”... because if he was a ghost, he wouldn’t be there. Don’t you remember Backyard Stickball?
  5. Now, now, Jeff. In this Era of the Pandemic, we don’t even need a plate meeting. This is the new reality, guys. I shouldn’t need to take my sunglasses off, because we don’t need a plate meeting (anti-transmission of virus), and we should not have to suffer, let alone tolerate, a coach coming out to “plead his case” or get in my face.
  6. Oh Jeffffffffffffffff ( @Thunderheads )!!!! Jeff, Jeff, Jeff!!! Your ears better be burning!!! I have several masks (more than 2, less than 10) that I rotate between, and each of them has a sun visor... save one. The All-Star FM4000. I have been absolutely flummoxed as to why All-Star won’t make one; but of course, who has one in his FM4000?! Jeff!! Grrrrr. Do not besmirch the power of the visor! It ain’t just a bling-y accessory! When you’re doing 2 plate games at midday, with a cloudless sky, you are treasuring any... any... shade you can get over your overworked eyes. There are days I’d actually prefer a welding mask, if it was well ventilated, and also contemplate using a coulee hat or a sombrero. Then too, as @Umpire43 points out, if/when you’re calling a game in mist, drizzle, or (heavens forbid!) rain, the visor also provides a surface for water to bead up and run off to the side, so you’re not having the bill if your cap get wet and release a water droplet across your vision just as the pitcher is delivering. Only 1 of my arsenal of masks lacks a visor. Now, with that said, I ran across a catcher, sporting a FM4000, with a visor! I thought I saw a white tiger, or an AirWhale (or a plummeting bowl of petunias). When I asked the catcher how he got a visor for it, he replied, “It’s a junior-sized visor.” ... This story now reminds me I have to on All-Star’s store site and track down a junior mask visor.
  7. Feedback bits: It’s the XV H_D_X, not “XV HXD” It’s “abdominal”, not “abominable” this, or any CP, is not going to keep you dry; you _will_ get wet with this thing. However, the reason I, and many other umpires, stump for this CP over all the others is the ventilation (Ty does point this out). The ventilation (airflow) and holes enabling it not only induce convection and cooling, but also reduce weight. Not only is the unit itself lighter, but it also doesn’t retain as much liquid sweat as the typical upholstery foam CP’s. the XV-HDX is one size fits most. It doesn’t fit everybody. The pectoral wings increase the width, while the abdominal extension increase the height; neither of which, though, are required to make this fit and protect you. I’m 6’2”, 210 lbs, and wear a 44 Long jacket. I don’t use the pectoral wings, and don’t use the abdominal extension. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been hit in the tummy, below the bottom edge of the CP, despite doing well over 1000 plate games in my career while using a Schutt AiR Flex, Flex II, or XV. the elasticity of the harness needs to be emphasized; this is a dynamic, conforming fit we are aiming to achieve, not a loose, static one which past, typical harnesses could only provide. This is to be worn more like body armor than like a shop apron. Ty did mention this, that the padding vest can be separated from the carapace. Furthermore, while the ailettes (what most call gap protectors) are fixed, the shoulder pauldrons can be repositioned. The unit should not be used right out of the packaging; instead, it should be fit, and if that means separating the best from carapace a few times, and getting the pauldrons in the best spots, then so be it. @wolfe_man and I have actually gone so far as to reposition our ailettes, but that shouldn’t be necessary for most. All the separating and re-adhering of the vest and carapace, though, exposes the one weakness of the XV – the Velcro stuck to the carapace plates is paltry. Mine has gotten all gummed up, lost its tack, and I’m on the verge of replacing it all. Additional notes, not necessary in a video review: The shift of brand from Schutt to Adams is an organizational / efficiency move. Schutt needs to focus the majority of its efforts on football, and the team-sports aspect of baseball. By dedicating partner Adams to the umpire products in their catalog, they can deliver better products, service, and value. The EVA-TPU foam, the real guts of the CP, is either 3DO, or a close approximation to it. If you’ve read any of my, or Wolfe’s, or @BT_Blue’s posts about 3DO foam, it is a proprietary development of a British company, licensed to Schutt specifically for their line of football helmets. The terms of this license likely mean that 3DO is not intended to be deployed on other gear, or at least marketed as such. So, Schutt (and Adams, by proxy) likely developed a facsimile of 3DO, and is implementing it into CPs and shinguards for both catchers and umpires. The foam is still the same – a modern, adaptive polymer that is lightweight, flexible-yet-structured, and hydrophobic (meaning that it sheds liquid). Far better than upholstery foam. As Ty points out, this CP is ideal for both baseball and softball. It can absolutely do both, without question and fail. A one-stop solution. I routinely am facing Minor League pitching (and yes, have done a few Major League names), and I have used no other CP than the XV to do so. Just because there isn’t a MLB logo on it doesn’t mean it can’t handle what the Major League game throws at it. In that same vein, it is as lightweight and even better ventilated than most “only for softball” CPs. There is no need to buy two CPs if you’re operating under a budget; and, there’s certainly no reason to break your budget on an “exclusive” piece of gear, just because it’s endorsed by The Show.
  8. Are you (you in general, not you DumbDumb) telling me, that Brett Gardner's banging on the roof of the dugout is a part of this??!! Oh may it be so!
  9. Each and every mask I own and use – save one, the FM4000 ( @Thunderheads !!!) – has a sun visor. Every bit of shade helps as we’re combatting cloudless skies and midday baseball here in Arizona!
  10. MadMax

    +pos CP

    No, but it makes you a citizen.
  11. The latter. Of course, having an actual UmpLife RayFlex harness is the beez-kneez, and denotes as a hip'n'happenin' umpire... but the included "flex" harness on the XV-HDX is much better than what was there originally. It's made my retrofit unnecessary. I feel like the Maytag repairman.
  12. MadMax

    +pos CP

    The cost would be a bit high to manage, but a modern rendition of this, Lorica Segmentata, with each plate backed by a layer of a closed cell foam or fiber weave, then with open cell sizing and contact pods in strategic points.
  13. Rightly so, everyone who has posted advice so far regarding a new harness and heat-treating the Platinum is valid. That new harness is very likely to be the solution to that pesky, petrified Platinum. If I was working to conform that Platinum to you, or me, or another wearer, on a custom level, I would: Disassemble the CP completely. Remove (permanently) the useless billow pad. The fit around your neck will thank you. Begin heat-treating and curving the shoulder arch plates. We want them to curve and arch up and over the shoulders. If there isn't enough clearance for your neck, or there's a significant gap, the shoulder arch plates can be reset, laterally. Yes, you read that right. The two shoulder arch plates attach to the center breastplate (sternum) via a set of rivets. I would kill those rivets, place the arch plates at the desired angles and positions, redrill the holes (if need be), and then secure with Chicago screws. Install "'lako" straps from shoulder arch plate across the armpit to the shoulder pauldron, secured (again) with Chicago screws. A 'lako is the boom strut running from a canoe hull to the outrigger. A strap like this on the Platinum would keep the pauldrons from pivoting to the back while putting a shirt on. @grayhawk did this on his All-Star CPU4K. Use 1" elastic strapping for this. In an ideal world, I'd fabricate a new padding vest, complete with anchor tabs, using a much better foam laminate (instead of upholstery foam) and skinned in technical wicking fabric (instead of nylon). Then, set fire to the old sofa-couch padding vest, preferably grilling brats and corn over it. Determine and install the best aftermarket harness for your bodyframe. The UmpLife RayFlex harness is the ideal candidate.
  14. MadMax

    +pos CP

    We have to remember, @Umpire43, that the Riddell Power, the All-American, and the Wilson Gold were all developed and produced congruently (ie. at the same time). Little details were what differentiated one from the other, such as Riddell using thinner (read: less) foam in their CP, along with pre-curved carapace parts that stemmed from their very successful football shoulder pads line. Same went for All-American. Same went for Douglas, except they didn’t do a “Gold planform” version, instead sticking to their progression of the 3-floating piece Original WestVest you see now. I have not said, nor will ever say, that the Gold planform is a bad CP. If you plop one down, devoid of any branding or tags, I will honestly say it’s a good CP, even going so far as to say the carapace is very sound. The trouble is, the sofa cushion foam vest is arcanely obsolete, and Wilson has done nothing to progress, evolve, or replace it in 20+ years. The added slap in the face is when you examine the progression of catcher’s gear in that same time frame.
  15. MadMax

    +pos CP

    Innovative. Protective. Conforming (to your torso shape; wasn’t just a flat Wilson wall). Heavy. All of that connective material, for each of those individual plates / scales substantially increased the weight. Add to that it was developed during the age of Sofa Cushion foam, so it didn’t breathe well. So too, at that time, ABS plastic was typically denser and thicker, since there wasn’t a weight-per-unit concern like there is recently and currently on items mass produced in China.
  16. MadMax

    Ruling on this play

    Oh no no no, Law... apocalypse aside, you know there are fellow umpires that are this particular and this pedantic about such relatively minor things. On a parallel topic – we’re back to baseball in Arizona (where we have 3 of the known virus killers, in buckets of surplus), and some of us had to call B&K’s behind the mound. Well, we’re now allowed to return to 2-man / 3-man positioning and rotations (like 7 days really mattered!), and when pressed with enough questions about particulars, our supervisor / assigner / Umpire Director said, “Stand wherever you want.” Hot damn! I’m standing out in center field! Better yet, I’m going to stand in the potentially least effective position (as BU; I may be crazy and annoying, but I’m not idiotic) imaginable per play. Like, with R1, I’ll go to D. Why? Heh...
  17. MadMax

    First One

    Tsk, tsk, tsk, Cats... We're living in the COVID-19 Pandemic Age. According to ~some~ on here, we're all infected and infectious, and we shouldn't even be doing baseball yet. And if we are doing baseball, we should be at least thirty feet away from each other, wearing antiseptic gloves and double masks. Oh! And don't forget, the balls need to be sanitized after every pitch because they carry the virus, and it's deadly contagious! Do you really want that coach in your face? You're asking to contract the virus!
  18. Give me a few days to draw the plan and post it, but the way I see this going, the aim is to not involve elastic at all, but to run the 1" flat webbing from the shoulder arch plate to the ailette (gap protector) separate from the 2" flat webbing that will run to the bicep guard, which we will invert and reposition so it now becomes the shoulder pauldron (cap). On the shoulder arch plate, we'll be killing the two rivets that were being used to connect the elastic tendons before the guy cut 'em. This is best accomplished by turning the plate over and drilling out the rivet's shaft until it pops back out. Do the same to the ailettes. Once you've got those rivets out and the parts ready, I'll have the drawing ready for ya. We can post it here... maybe it will inspire someone else.
  19. You got a few squirts of gasoline and a match? Oh come onnnnnn, itsa DaviShield! Joking aside, a DaviShield is still a ... uhm... ~serviceable~ CP. And, with that previous hack carving it up, he actually did you a favor. It now gives you the opportunity to rebuild it right, so it fits and protects better. I have a plan in mind. You'll need: 1" flat webbing (strap) 1-1/2" or 2" seatbelt webbing (strap) Chicago screws (at least 1/2" long, no longer than 3/4"), I count 16 of them. A butane torch, nothing elaborate; a lighter will work, but not ideal A cheap scratch awl 3/8", 5/16" drill bits Good utility scissors
  20. Supervisor of ___________ ? What's his credentials, or background? In 2-man, with R1, BU is in B. We all know this, practice it, and preach it. In 2-man, with R3 Only, BU is in C, even with 2-outs. The expectation is we read the ball as it's put in play, and react accordingly. If there isn't a play immediately upon R3, and it isn't a fly ball to the big wedge of the outfield, we get across the midline (as in move, people) and either set up for a play at 1B, or watch the touch by BR at 1B and take him into 2B. In 2-man, with R1 and R3, BU is in B. Why? This is for the next most likely play out of these possibilities: 1) pickoff attempt at 1B, 2) steal attempt of 2B by R1, 3) ground ball with put-out attempt at 2B (and front-half of DP attempt if less than 2 outs), 4) ground ball with only put-out attempt at 1B, 5) fly ball to outfield with a catch & double tag attempt (albeit the other kind of double tag than R1&R2), 6)... I could keep writing more potential plays. There are several more standing between "Pickoff attempt at 3B" and "Back-pick at 3B". All the benefits of being in B outnumber / outweigh the two at being in C. In 3-man, it's an entirely different structure. With a BU at 1B (U1), with R1 & R3, U3 will be in C. Pickoff attempts to 1B are not his anyway, he's in an "okay" position for ground balls with the put-out attempt at 2B, since he doesn't have to get across the midline to judge the play at 1B. The only "challenge" he's got is to properly see a steal attempt at 2B by R1. A big deal to who? The supervisor? He's mistaken.
  21. Yeah, he would. I just did my first games of this "new epoch". Adult (akin to MSBL), with 2 hr 30 min time limit (trimmed down by 15 minutes to accommodate sanitizing the dugouts between games). Pitchers chastised to not bring the hands to the mouth. Spitting dissuaded, but if ya didn't see it, there's nothing to enforce. Gobs of hand sanitizers in both dugouts. The umpire (that'd be me) worked solo, with a mask, and was directed to call Bs & Ks from behind... the mound. Ugh. This positioning is supposed to be for this past weekend only; there's talk we go "back to normal" positioning next weekend.
  22. What the hell are you talking about?! From Wikipedia: You, beerguy55, can't gauge "contagiousness". And you sure can't compare it to other pandemics in such loose brushstrokes. And I was just about to launch into a diatribe when this article from the Washington Post appeared in my feed: https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/tell-me-what-to-do-please-even-experts-struggle-with-coronavirus-unknowns/2020/05/25/e11f9870-9d08-11ea-ad09-8da7ec214672_story.html I'll pull the applicable quote out of it: That's just one paragraph. There's more. That entire article is rich with both assertions and concessions. The summary paragraph is even better:
  23. Doesn't take a pro to do it. Now, granted, this applies to base-stealing / offensive sign stealing, but I'm sure the same principle applies to pitch-sign stealing. Especially when you've got those jacka$$ coaches* who insist on using 3-4 digit numeric codes and the card sleeves. This episode from Mark Rober is enthralling for me, not only because of the science (I used to code database matrices and machine learning systems), but I have encountered most of the coaches he interviews. *- I was a catcher, and really worked my craft and skills at setting up and signaling a pitch sequence to my pitchers. I did my homework on batters and lineups. Didn't need some code called out from the dugout for everyone to hear.
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