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Everything posted by MadMax

  1. I caught for 16 years, and I’ve been an umpire for 14 years, doing some 150-160 plates per year… I think I can tell when a pitch is going to be a 58-59-footer and gonna skip in an’ keeeeelll me. Granted, a lot of this is contextual – a 19 year old collegiate F2, or a 23 year old Minor League AA F2 is gonna be a helluva lot more reliable at blocking that spike job than a 15 year old, snot-nosed, PS5-playin’ catcher kid-wearing-some-gear. So yes, on a 16U game, I have been known to… er… slide or shuffle… or sidestep once I know this is going to be a ball. As maven has reminded us here at U-E many times – a pitch that bounces short of the plate cannot be a called strike. So why am I locked in, tracking it alllllll the way to the mitt???!! Self-preservation, man. It means something.
  2. Indeed. A plate umpire is never hit by “foul tips”, and if he/she is aware of the location of the baseball, should never be getting hit by “wild throws”. Am I being pedantic? Sure. But details matter. Now, wild pitches and foul balls / backs (colloquial term) are a whole different bag of hurts. Ouch. Feel for ya.
  3. Honig’s: https://honigs.com/honig-s-liteweight-harness-black.html Ump-Attire: https://www.ump-attire.com/catalog.html?page=1&perpage=36&cat=0&orderby=relevance desc&brand=&search=Harness All-Star’s Store: https://www.all-starsports.com/fmh2-black.html I was a champion of the +POS harnesses when +POS was in good standing, since their harnesses were very discreetly branded and they had strap garages. But, currently I cannot direct you to +POS in good faith. On a similar note, I cannot direct you to the place that has the stripes-&-peaks logo. They tend to steal products.
  4. I, too, wanna hear what mask you got that has a “too small” strap / harness to it (my guess is either Wilson or Champro). The primary problem with these two brands of standard stock harnesses is how un-elastic their elastic is. Because they don’t expand and contract as much, people they have to keep them rather tight, and then they get really challenging to take off and put on. I favor Honig’s, All-Star and even Diamond stock harnesses over Wilson’s, despite (and especially because) the presence of the MLB logo on the back. If you want a little (or a lot) more luxury, then either All-Star’s delta-flex for umpires, or the UmpLife cam-buckle harness is the way to go. I use an All-Star on my FM4000, and UmpLife harnesses on my other three masks. Both of these have rather long, accommodating straps with the right amount of grab.
  5. Sure, but Champro still using that upholstery foam for the vest, why bother? That same price point gets you an Adams XV-HDX or a Champion P2xx. If Champro wants to make a real big splash, they should call me or Ray.
  6. Q: How many NFL teams does New York host? A: One. ... The Buffalo Bills.
  7. MadMax

    Ball Modifying

    There’s a few things at “play” here: - Is this defaced (and yes, they’re defaced by what you describe) softball being used for actual sanctioned HS games? They can’t. Balls (both baseballs and softballs) must bear the manufacturer’s logos, the NFHS logo, and whatever NOCSAE certification is appropriate and approved for gameplay. A team (ultimately, a school) is not allowed to add anything to these balls for sanctioned gameplay that isn’t approved by the governing body (in this case, the state). If the team is doing this, is their school aware they are, and risking penalties to the program and school? If the school is doing this, is the state aware? Likely not. - Is this ball being used for non-sanctioned tournaments, invites, or some sort of scrimmaging (ie. “Fall ball”) structure? In this case, as the hosting team, it’s in poor taste to deface the balls like this, but it is ultimately their decision to do so. If your own team does not like this practice, then it is your prerogative to withdraw (and certainly file for a refund), but there isn’t, nor will you get any support from the NFHS governing body, since these are non-sanctioned games. Private leagues and associations have latitude (albeit limited, but still) to use equipment of their choosing and approval. I have two examples of this: 1) Plenty of amateur tournament series use NFHS Rules set for their own rules, then put their own enhancements upon it. They’ll bat the entire roster in the lineup, only allow one free conference per inning, and also allow the catcher to wear a two-piece mask & helmet (ie. skullcap). 2) These same series will supply baseballs that lack any NFHS or NOCSAE logos. One tournament series I know of, near and dear to my heart, uses Wilson A1030 Blemish baseballs… because they’re just like the HS-approved baseballs, but far cheaper in bulk. We’ll start a game day with 4 of these A1030 Blems, and by the end of the day, on the 4th (or 5th… or if our assigner is being particularly insensitive, 6th) game, I’ll have a few Wilsons, a few Diamonds, and some Badens. We’d need some clarification here… is this a team / school doing this to their NFHS -sanctioned games, or is this a team / club hosting their own “unaffiliated” events?
  8. If I may interject, it's absolutely imperative that a PU "actively processes" this situation instead of reflexively reacts. Both of the above perspectives have merit. The trouble is, amateur umpires either get delinquent or lazy in situations like this; the lazy ones get yelled at, demerited, chastised, or (worse) chalked-up / written-off as lazy. The delinquent ones (good intentions, slow in recognition, reaction, and movement) unfortunately compensate either by over-communicating (again, good intentions) or by... "over-reacting" to the point of heading off to 3B as soon as the ball leaves the bat! You just can't. Say it's a sawn-off drubber at the plate, or a bunt. Not only does PU have Fair/Foul responsibility, but he's the only guy in the entire ballpark that can (properly) judge RLI. If he starts bounding down towards 3B, you can fuhgetaboutit on selling yes/no on potential RLI. Similar can be said about a bounding ball towards F3 and 1B. PU must stay on the line to judge Fair/Foul, and if there's a potential swipe tag coming, or pulled/missed foot by a F1 covering... Point is, that move to 3B may be advised, but it's not automatic.
  9. MadMax


    And, True-In-All-Codes (TIAC), not just OBR.
  10. Adamantly not. They do not collaborate, they do not cooperate... in short, they do not like each other. Curiously, as much as they dislike each other, neither of them are beloved of the Cooperstown Village Board. CDP has to be located 7 miles south in Hartwig, and CASV is a further 7-10 miles south of that just to the west of Oneonta. In and around Cooperstown? No, not really. There is something similar that is conducted for (6? 8?) weeks during the summer for high-school age kids, hosted at SUNY-Oneonta. But for 12U's, it's only those two in the Cooperstown region. You'd have to go elsewhere, such as South Carolina (Myrtle Beach) to find other 12U baseball invites / experiences.
  11. There's three things potentially at play here: We have to realize truly how much force a 5 oz. baseball is carrying when it hits you (and your mask) at 95 - 105 MPH. Those springs are designed to engage at these sort of forces and only "bottom out" when that overwhelming force is smackin' it. Impacts on the outer cage – the floater – may have slightly flattened it, forcing it outward and setting the travel bolts (and the springs and shocks encasing them) at the improper angle. If you loosen the three connecting screws between the floating cage and the foundation cage (don't lose them! they're specifically threaded metric machine screws), the floating cage may contort into a shape that'll surprise you, reflective of the impacts that it's taken. The shocks may have dried out and stiffened, preventing the springs from fully compressing and the travel bolts from allowing the floating cage to depress. Some mineral oil will likely lubricate and soften them. If you'd like to really give them some TLC, then loosen and remove the travel bolts and disassemble the spring brackets, taking the shocks out and placing them in a jar of mineral oil for a few days. Now, Force3 may have made it difficult to loosen up those travel bolts by using ThreadLock on them when they assembled the mask, so be careful, and don't strip them trying to take them out.
  12. Kevin, on this one lone note, I gotta disagree with ya (it pains me to!). Here, instead of the capital expense of another plate coat, Velcro can be your friend! There are different grades of Velcro, so instead of just buying the first “cheap” Velcro from a Walmart or Ben Franklin, I’d go online or a JoAnn Fabrics or seek out a specialized source to get that super-thin Velcro (technically called “hook and loop closures”) that is used on high-end shoes and athletic wear. Put a section of Velcro on the sleeve of the plate coat, and the other on the back of the numbers.
  13. I’ve done the last 4 years of independent summer league baseball, with “my” number on all my uniforms… except one article – my WakeWear Plate Coat. I’ve worn that plate coat for each of the opening nights and each of the last plates (whether they be quarters, semis, or champs) I’ve done, and never have had numbers. It’s not needed. Everyone knows it’s me. I’ve used the plate coat on (early in season) HS night games, NAIA games, and even some adult and PG games… each without my number on it, but they wouldn’t give me crap if I did. I have a patch of each entity I work (extensively) for, and I magnet 🧲-attach that patch to my plate coat – and also a long sleeve shirt (on Plate) or my Majestic Coach’s ThermaBase jacket (on Bases) – when necessary, but I don’t need the number. Everyone knows it’s me.
  14. VU, are you directing this advice towards us (fellow umpires), or to coaches and/or parents? If the latter, good advice! If the former… uhm, it’s not really our duty / role / place to do all this cat wrangling. This is predominately within our control, especially when we realize how much / often we (potentially) talk to the fence, the coaches, or even to our partner without any grasp of how much time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’… into the fuuuutuuuure.
  15. I at some point will contact All American to see if I can get a decal to stick on my AA so it shows up better Might be a bit challenging… All-American folded as an equipment manufacturer back in the late-90s / 2000. Any assets or IP that are alive today are within reconditioning services or resale. IIRC, All-American, the manufacturer, was different than the All-American, the sports equipment reconditioner that was located in Illinois… but I could be wrong… … since somebody might do a whole bunch of desk-chair research and cite the historical particulars of All-American, just cuz…
  16. Bu-bu-but how will you ever let the world and thousands of impressionable umpires know you’ve got – and, by associative encouragement and messaging, they must go and purchase – a Wilson Gold CP??!!
  17. MadMax

    Where in AZ

    “It is fascinating to know your work schedule… “ Huh! Did I give too much information? Too much that wasn’t relevant or practical or germane to the Original Question? Chandler is a suburb of Phoenix. Southeast side. If you like, I could quote (let’s face it – copy & paste) the entire Wikipedia article about Chandler’s history, demographics, and even the parks & recreation information. In there, it might mention something about Espee and Pima parks, but considering that there are hundreds upon hundreds of parks in the Phoenix metro area, likely not. Annual rainfall amounts could likely be cited from some National Weather Service source, too. They’ve got a website. Or, someone who actually lives and works here – you know, in an experiential sense – will rightly say that the metroplex is vast. Storm cells will randomly roll through and dump rain on only one or two suburbs at a go. When that happens, only certain select fields and parks have maintenance crews and tools equipped to handle it; most simply give up, go home, and let it sit and dry out until the next day. Even the Major League facilities don’t fight it, and pack up and purge everyone from fields in use if it starts raining, for fear of damaging the fields further. In the entirety of the Phoenix metroplex, there is only one FieldTurf baseball field. And it’s owned by a private high school. Someone who officiates here will also share – there are more games than umpires (or other officials). On any given weekend, there are numerous baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball and basketball tournaments underway. How and why entry fees are charged and then distributed is above my pay grade. It’s not my place to speculate. Assigners who know me and use me know my skill, ability and preference is more effective in 60’-90’ “full” baseball. Now, multiply that amongst some 400-600 other “umpires” throughout the metroplex… and that’s not counting the dozens that venture in and out from Tucson (2 hours south) or upstate (Payson, Prescott, Flagstaff) or even from out of state. We need more umpires, period. Don’t care which sex, or which level of baseball or softball they prefer or show aptitude towards. “Apparently, this was an all-girl tournament. Is girls’ baseball a big thing in Arizona or is it just getting started?” If we look at that photo, we’ll see two things: 1) the Tournament’s own title / name is “Baseball for All”. That would be implied to be inclusive of all girls and boys, no? and 2) I could be mistaken, but I think there are both boys and girls in that team photo. And for what it’s worth, I do know Espee and Pima parks very, very well. Espee’s 60-90 field is one of the worst in the entire metroplex, and that’s a hard feat to accomplish. And that storm front that dumped rain on “us”? Hit and soaked Mesa, which is home to Red Mountain and Gene Autry baseball complexes… which have 3 60-90’s each, and if Mesa’s Parks & Rec admin cancel something, they cancel all (outdoor) activity in Mesa.
  18. MadMax

    Where in AZ

    Sorry, didn’t do this one. We had enough rain on Friday night to close some fields down, and then I did 4 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday of 15U & 16U baseball.
  19. I bought it at the top of 2018 when I was invited to go along to the final session of OUTS in Florida. From then to now, it has dutifully carried my umpire gear on over 40 flights, 2 rail trips, and some 36,000 miles of tour by car, jammed in the back of a sedan. And that’s not counting my day to day use of it for umpiring here in the Phoenix metroplex. The handle still extends, the hard tub bottom is still intact and the wheels still roll clean and true. It’s only recently starting to show its wear & tear. The small front accessory pocket (where I keep my lineup card folder, plate brush, pens, patches, and chapstick) had its zipper tab break off, and it looks like the airline baggage handlers knocked off the zipper tab on one of the two primary zippers on the main body segment, but aside from that, it’s held up beautifully. The umpire world doesn’t revolve around the big yellow W.
  20. Due to the prolific amount of heat here in the southwest, if you’re working Plate, you’re in a constant struggle to balance effective layers for “securement” & protection, and effective heat & sweat management. So, I’ve found the thinnest, best “foundation” layer is the Nike DRIFit boxer brief. I can wear this for an entire day of games, both Plate & Base, and don’t have to run the risk of gettin’ nekkid in the parking lot at tournament venues. Then, I have several Nike Pro Combat baseball sliders w/ floating cup pocket. These provide the necessary compression and securement of the personal protector. I do some 140+ Plates per year, and the cup doesn’t go anywhere while working and dashing down the lines. Within the last two years, I’ve added the All-Star catcher’s sliders with thigh protection, and while I do favor them for that thigh protection, they’re not my preferred set to wear because the cup pocket is a bit too generous. The personal protector itself is a Shock Doctor Carbon Flex. It’s worked splendidly… or at least as splendidly as can be when getting hit in the plums. I used to be a NuttyBuddy endorser until I met the guy who started the company. When he heard my feedback regarding the NB model I was using, he said, “You really should get our new Flex model!” I replied that I likely would, considering that the one I had was experiencing separation between the hard shell body of the unit and the silicone edge of it, and when hit, it really digs in and hurts. Instead of giving me a new one, or at least a super-secret-special discount code, he merely trundled off with a “Just hit the website and order!” What a d!€ꓘ move. So, I ordered a Shock Doctor that night and haven’t considered anything else. Is this, like, a pet or something? Need a collar? Or an electric fence? Wandering, you say? “Kaballos”? How do you pronounce that?
  21. That logo at the top of the ad says a very emphatic “No” to me. They’ll have to do a lot of very public apologizing to someone so as to get my business ever again. Enjoy your plate coat. You’ll love it. If I had the time & resources, I’d offer to craft you one of my WakeWear plate coats.
  22. I use and promote the Fūl Workhorse, which tends to be a bit taller than the other “umpire” compartmentalized wheeled bags. However, I put all my hardgoods in the upper compartment, with my Schutt MaXV turned chest-down in the compartment, then the Force3 shins lengthwise down either side, and my masks (plural) in the formed cavity between them and atop the CP. I still have room to jam in my cap carrier. Shoes are in the end compartments, and then allllll my softgoods are in the bottom. 47 lbs will fly!
  23. I’m examining the “real” photo, and while I don’t doubt the authenticity of it, I’m not quite seeing the actual tint of the bars… is this “natural” titanium, or is this a tinted (anodized or powdercoated) sky blue?? And, if it is tinted sky blue, then why am I seeing “splashes” of silver on it? Flash / light reflection, or is this where the powdercoat (or worse, they just painted it… which will come off just by sneezing at it – titanium does not take paint) is flaking off?? Either way, hey Wilson apologists!… a Special Event titanium?!?! Go big or go home! So much more impressive than you using steel DynaLites because you can’t be bothered to use your aluminum or titanium masks!
  24. Gary, please don’t post an actual, specific cost. Doing so hamstrings other umpires, who now have to acknowledge, adhere, or explain that cost to team coordinators and parents.
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