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Everything posted by MadMax

  1. I have the Smitty PolySpandex in Plate and Base (and a rarely used Combo, kept in the bag for emergencies), and I’m favoring them so much, I now have 2 additional sets. The latest Plate pant I got hemmed in a double stitch on the front/shin side so the hem wouldn’t get caught on the bottom edge of the shinguard shell and begin to split, invoking another (costly) tailoring. Out of a momentary necessity, I ordered in the newly released Honig’s 4-way stretch (polyspandex) pants, and gave them a try. They are a fair bit thinner and lighter than the Smitty’s, and would be ideal ‘cept for being an ever-so-slightly lighter shade of charcoal grey with some mottling blended in. Point is, because of how thin and featherweight they are, I had my seamstress redo the hem and insert a strip of material within the hem to weight it down. Now, the pants lie much better, and stay down while moving or standing in the wind. They’re great pants, and I foresee using them in Arizona the majority of the time.
  2. MadMax

    Legion Camo

    Ah yes, this one: That would be the TheOfficialsChoice Black (or Night) Camo shirt. While I’m delighted to see some love for TheOfficialsChoice, I don’t think this was the best choice for a televised game. It’s too much of a novelty. Organic (ie. woodland) camo just doesn’t present well on television. Perhaps if it was a subtle digital camo, it’d look better. I’ve done some test patterns in blacks & greys, various shades of blue (mostly sky), and even shades of navy! If those TOC shirts were Bermuda Blue, or Grey, or hey!... Navy with Red trim (2010 vertical stripe!) would look snazzy for the likes of American Legion.
  3. You rang, @The Short Umpire? Titanal is a high-grade alloy of Aluminum, Zinc, Copper, Magnesium and Zirconium, produced by AMAG Rolling of Austria. Titanal was first employed in mountaineering, being used in lieu of straight aluminum in such things as tent poles, trekking poles, and then finding its way to alpine skiing poles. Soon after, it was used in alpine skis themselves in lieu of fiberglass because torsional stress can be distributed in all directions instead of just in the axis – or grain – of the glass strands. And, unlike common aluminum, it’s less prone to shearing when compromised, instead exhibiting deformation. This is important, because steel does deform as well, but under much less comparative load. More common aluminum alloys are rather stiff, and most tubes and rods of aluminum are cast and set into the desired shape. Welding of aluminum gets problematic, too, because the oxidation layer, or skin, of aluminum impedes the bonding or welding process. As such, high quality welds come at a premium, because low quality “spot” welds can result in failure over repeated stressing. So why not titanium? Titanium is much stronger than steel, at a fraction of the weight. It also will deform (bend) when compromised, instead of shearing... surely that’s better than aluminum. However, like aluminum though, titanium forms an oxidation layer as a skin that not only hardens the metal and prevents corrosion, but also handicaps welding. The welding process has to be very precise, very abrupt, and of exceptional quality. Also, cutting and bending it into desired shapes requires considerable tools of force. Add in that aluminum is in much greater supply than titanium, and all of this results in Titanium products being considerably more expensive than aluminum. Titanal has demonstrated, though, that because of its greater tolerance to deform than “common” aluminum, the welds are not only easier to make, but are less likely to fail, or “pop”. Then, when you factor in that minor deformation is occurring along the entire span of the Titanal rod when struck, instead of being wholly transferred to the welds, the rod (ie. the mask) is, in a sense, dampening the impacting energy like a tuning fork. Certainly not as much as steel and other cultured alloys, but better than homogenous aluminum. As mentioned, Titanal was developed by AMAG Rolling of Austria. Adidas is the second largest sportswear manufacturer in the world, second only to Nike. Adidas also owns Reebok, TaylorMade, and Runtastic. Through its relationships with other prominent EU companies, Adidas has access to many cutting edge resources. It is very likely (through deduction) that Adidas either approached the shop that possesses the famed Icon’s planform, or brokered a deal to obtain the Icon planform (or the Chinese just copied it), and supplied the shop with Titanal through an arrangement with AMAG Rolling. I dare say, from a technical standpoint, I’d prefer a Titanal Icon. Am I a diehard Nike fan and apologist? Hell yes. Would I turn down the chance to get or obtain (ie. given) an “authentic” Nike Titanium Icon? Absolutely not! But, there’s no way I’m paying the outlandish $300+ titanium Icons routinely fetch on the open market while still prone to being bent like any other titanium mask! Titanal may just be the future.
  4. Bless you!!! There is absolutely no need for that stupid billow pad. It was a marketing gimmick at best. There are now three versions of the Force3 UnEqual CP: V1 – the original, all-neoprene, closed cell foam, and Kevlar construction; molded-shell shoulders; standard webbed-T harness. This one is the best candidate with which to combine to an external carapace shell, such as a Gold, Power, or Douglas to create a @tpatience “FrankenCP”, as @Razzer has too done. V2 – the upgrade, with an improved neck shape and the inclusion of blast plates at strategic points within the CP, beneath the neoprene, to better protect and distribute energy load to the Kevlar. The standard harness was upgraded to a “NewFlex” harness midway thru the model year. V3 – Current version, with thicker and larger blast plates inside and a latest-style NewFlex harness equipped. And your Platinum has the TW retrofit pads??! Instead of the sofa cushion foam jacket??!! Huzzah!!
  5. AA, you get one of these, I’m calling you WALL•E!!!
  6. It’s who is determining that “it shall be navy”. Just consider these parallels: Do we use this mechanic (or rotation, or... etc.) because it is taught at schools and camps, or do we continue using this old (they’ll use “standard”, “tried and true”, or “established” as excuses) one which our association already knows, and our members can’t get out to camps, clinics, or engage in additional training? Do we use this Initial Position because it affords us the best preparedness and angle, or do we continue to stand where Frank told us to, because Frank’s been an umpire for 30 years and got to _______ level, ________ years ago? Do we interpret a ruling on this situation based on several inputs of Official wisdom, or do we just stick with a single ruling in a manual from 1990? Do we mandate that the PU takes the lone BR to 3B on a triple, or do we actually expect our members to maintain their awareness and fitness and as BU, take that BR from 1B to 3B? (Oooo... I think I hit a nerve) Do we do “this” because the Big Leagues do it, or do we not do “this” because the Big Leagues do it? Do we encourage our colleagues and coworkers to go out and enrich themselves, try new practices and styles, and learn and adopt a variety of effective practices, or do we mandate that our members only learn from Ed and Vince, and attend their training program, and Ed and Vince are paid thru dues and fees? (Ooop, hit another nerve) Do we examine the integrity and fit of the gear our colleagues and coworkers use, and cooperate with them to find gear that best fits and performs for them, or do we just give them a pass on the pathetic, ill-fitting, outdated gear they have because they’ve had it for 15 years? Do we examine the integrity and fit of the gear our colleagues and coworkers use, and cooperate with them to find gear that best fits and performs for them, or do we direct them to buy from Vince, and only what Vince carries in stock? (Ouch, that’s a pain in the side) Essentially, the problem isn’t the color navy itself; the problem is who is making (or settling) on the decision to use it, the reasons why to do so, and the stubbornness to consider other options.
  7. And it’s my post that you’re replying to, and no, there are no other Live ball awards. The cited rule states “may advance”, and each of those instances give the number of bases the runner(s) may advance, but it also states that the runners advance beyond those bases at their own peril. Yes, it clearly states that the ball remains in play (Live). However, we (umpires) do not make base awards while the ball is Live (except a Ball 4 Walk). So, If a Runner pulls his hamstring, or twists an ankle, or is otherwise unable to get himself to the “awarded” base while in one of these situations, do we allow the ball to come back in, tag the injured runner, and register an/the out? Certainly not! We call Time (thus deadening the ball) and award and/or place runners as necessary. And do we require that the injured runner hoists himself up and hobbles to the next/awarded base, and only then be substituted or replaced? No, that’d be silly! The same goes for Obstructions. If/when they occur, the ball stays Live... to a point. If the Obstructed Runner arrives at the base-to-be-awarded without further hindrance or a play upon him, then we disregard the awarding of Obs. If he proceeds past the base-to-be-awarded, then he does so of his own volition and peril. At the close of the play, do we call Time and award or place the Runner(s) at the bases? No... unless, again, the Obstructed Runner comes up short of the awarded base. Señor Azul does have a valid point and citation that a substitution can be made for the purposes of completing an award. But therein lies my point. To make any substitution, whether offensive or defensive, the ball has to be dead, does it not? So let me present the next question: if a Batter hits a ball that invokes an award – whether it be a Ground Rule Double, or a 3-Base Award because a fielder threw his glove at the ball, but the Batter-Runner tore his Achilles’ tendon coming out of the box – do we award his replacement / substitute the awarded base directly, or do we “insert” the substitute at the point of BR’s injury, and the substitute proceed to run the bases as the original BR would have? (FWIW, I would implement the second option).
  8. <——————————— And this guy (me) is their bandleader! I’ve said it before... It’s not that I would not use Wilson gear. It’s that, if given a choice, I would compare the options based on qualities and characteristics, not on name; and – this is the crucial component – I would not buy it brand-new, full-price retail. Wilson gear is good, but it’s primarily comprised of obsolete materials and methodology. The justification for a premium price tag no longer holds merit; all we’re paying for is the name and MLB licensing logo on it.
  9. In what instances are bases awarded (by the umpire(s)) and the ball remains Live? Can you name any? Technically, Ball 4 is an award of First Base to the Batter-(Runner), and the ball does remain Live. Besides this, though, every other base award or placement of runner(s) involves the calling of Time, making the ball Dead. Thus, any number of substitution or replacement means can be employed (within the rules available) to rectify and complete the award.
  10. MadMax


    The Pat Venditte Rule.
  11. My guess, based on the images? It’s a handmade boxing / sparring / kickboxing head protection. If they were found together, it’s entirely possible that this HP and the Carlucci CP were used for sparring and training for hand-to-hand combat, small weapons self defense (think clubs and batons), and kickboxing / martial arts.
  12. American Flag? A baseball sticker? Crossed bats? A sky blue star? A “No Step” sticker (off aircraft, or model aircraft)? A Rebel Alliance / Galactic Empire logo sticker? An Autobots / Decepticons sticker? Heck, the “LA” logo is even better than that “W”!
  13. Are you kidding? It was likely commissioned of Ol’ Man Cece to be made in black after some umpire caught (undue and unneeded) grief from an “evaluator” to the tune of, “Dammit, Roger, I don’t wanna see that blue sticking out under your Umpire shirt!” Notice that the yoke is still done in that trademark blue. Huzzah. Cece Carlucci was a true craftsman. If you fall within the measurements of this particular CP, you’ll be buying what amounts to be a rare, vintage touring car. It was made to be as low-profile yet protective as possible, and was only limited by the materials of the day. I would have loved to have seen what Cece could do with the vast array of modern materials now available to us. You think the Force3 UnEqual is innovative?
  14. It is as @eagle_12 answered... the current Wilson Titanium is a member of the same family the DynaLite Aluminum established. That new planform has more rounded corners, especially at the earguards, and a fuller, half-sphere profile. The previous Titanium is the one that caused so much headache for Wilson. It was introduced in conjunction with the WestVest Platinum, and as such, showcases an aggressively raked forward extended chin guard. It evokes a billy goat. This is to allow a dangling throat guard (Wilson-brand, of course) to be easily mounted and freely swing... where it would bounce against the billow cushion on the CP. Yep, that billow bumper on the Platinum is a marketing gimmick! Anyway, the Ti-Platinum mask was the chief rival to the Nike Icon Titanium. Remember, the Icon’s origins lay with catchers (Jorge Posada, specifically), and it was supplied to pro and collegiate catchers, not sold. Pro umpires of course became obsessed with how light and elegantly simple the Titanium was, and the benefits it afforded over the vinyl-dipped steel masks. Catchers did not want a dangling throat guard! ... but Umpires surely would still buy and use one. So the Ti-Platinum was marketed and sold to umpires in droves. It even inspired an actual Low Profile model (as if you couldn’t go any flatter!)! The underlying problem, though, is that if a Titanium takes an overwhelming impact, it will bend. In order to bend it back out, it takes an equivalent force applied with the same abruptness... or an industrial press. Well, if that’s the case, why did it affect Wilson more so than Nike? Because Nike only supplies them, there is no means of returning a bent or damaged unit. Conversely, Wilson sold their titaniums, and if one gets bent, there’s an expectation that the manufacturer – Wilson – will remedy it. The lost revenue on customer returns and replacements nearly gutted Wilson. The DynaLite Aluminum actually saved them. In fairness, Diamond and their iX3 actually saved Wilson, but that’s another story. Once the Aluminum started to get sold in sufficient quantities at a much more realistic price point (still too high in my opinion, but that’s me), and satisfied the desire for a lightweight mask that won’t bend, then Wilson re-introduced Titanium to the lineup, albeit in the new family planform.
  15. One of the worst things for us as athletes, if not just as human beings. Powerade is the product of Coca-Cola, who is unabashedly striving to poison us through the overuse and abuse of sugar – in the form of High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is the A-number-one chief ingredient in Powerade, which itself is nothing more than soda (pop, coke, etc.) without the carbonation. I’ll go into this more in-depth later, but the over-abundance of sugar – especially synthesized sugars – in our diets have very damaging effects. Water is important, but if anything, we need to find a counterbalance, so we should be seeking out electrolyte-replacing waters, alkaline waters, and antioxidant-infused water at these critical times.
  16. Hit up a Dick’s Sporting Goods or SportMart (if still around), or a boutique soccer shop. Soccer referee card folders will work for your purposes, and are quite cheap. Soccer referees have to “book” everything.
  17. Yup. In last year’s Expedition League, we used Adams shirts. I suspected a problem when we were issued 3 shirts – 1 “classic” 2-stripe black, then 1 navy... and then that (wretched, sorry AL-Ump, I’m not a softballphile) powder w/ navy trim. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, ExPed League leadership?!?! Are we stuck in the 90’s??!! Anyway, the shirts held up rather well, and were more breathable than equivalent Smitty’s in that... ugh, antiquated... style.
  18. Not quite. I have those mesh laundry pouches for... ahem... delicates and intimates. I I put my mask pads in these, along with the sizing inserts from my Force3 Ultimate shinguards. This way, the Velcro tabs don’t chafe or rough-up my umpire pants and shirts. I myself do not use common detergents (Tide, Gain, etc) on my Umpire, Soccer, cycling, or skating gear. Instead I use a technical sports wash or soap, such as from Nathan or Penguin. Unlike detergents, this won’t affect the moisture-wicking qualities of these technical fabrics, and also won’t add a residue that acts as a catalyst for fading faster. I routinely wash my mask pads every other or every third game (series).
  19. Are you saying that the Tournament Director is instituting this to be said at Plate Meetings? In this way? Then that’s a TD setting themself up for nothing but a headache. Or is this the Site-UIC (Umpire In Charge / Chief) at that Tournament? If this is the case, I would take it up with him. It’s not very effective language for the Plate Meeting... what is he basing it upon so as to want to include it?
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. Post a photo or two, and I and/or @wolfe_man and the rest of the “pit crew” will come up with a solution.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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