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mac266

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Everything posted by mac266

  1. I know Umpire Empire has some affiliations with the MiLB academy, one of the two professional schools. So I'm wondering if it's ok to discuss some of the clinics who are not affiliated with them. If not, please delete this post. I just attended a 2-man clinic by the Umpire Training Institute in Phoenix, AZ. Several of the instructors are also instructors for some of the other famous clinics (Blue and Black, Mid-American, etc.). They are all big names, and have several college world series under their belts, etc. One MLB umpire showed up and signed a baseball for me. We had a good mix of students -- some of us were high school umpires looking to move up. Others were brand new to umpiring, never having worked a single game, and others were Little League umpires looking to go to high school. The instructors adjusted to the mix very well. For some folks, they had to teach them to take their mask off when the ball is hit. For others, we had those basics down so they were working with us to learn to read a play a little better and dial in our zone. If you follow college baseball, you know Arizona State University is the "New York Yankees" of division I baseball. Baseball is their official religion. They were having an intra-squad scrimmage, and about half of us were given the opportunity to umpire the plate and the bases (due to the number of students, we got to work either an inning on the plate or a half inning on the bases). I got to work the plate for an inning, and it was awesome. Do you know how you can tell when a batter or catcher disagrees with a ball/strike call based on their body language? I didn't get a single one of those. Not. One. I've been working this entire season on dialing in my strike zone, so apparently it's paid off. Of course it was only an inning, but I've never called pitches that fast (93 mph was the fastest, about 10 mph faster than what I've been seeing in high school ball). It was the most fun I've had in a long time. I highly recommend any umpire who cares to do a good job attend one of these clinics every now and then. I'm going to try for a 3-man clinic next year so I can work post-season in high school, or start getting my name out there for college Division II.
  2. I just attended an umpire clinic in Arizona and they are year-round.
  3. OP, by the way, my experience (and I think others will support me on this) is that baseball below the high school level has a ton of idiots like this coach. I experienced it several times before I moved up to the high school association. High school coaches usually know how to interact with umpires.
  4. I'm not sure why so many people think their job is to keep a coach in the game. This dude ejected himself several times; you should have shown him the door. Now he, his assistant coaches, and the players all think that's the way they are supposed to interact with umpires, and he is going to become a problem for every umpire in your association.
  5. The supply chain had nothing to do with my problem. Defective equipment did. Everything shipped in a timely manner; it was just missing critical pieces when it arrived -- three times -- and now the company has chosen to ignore my concerns. So I won't give them money anymore.
  6. A while back, I posted about some problems I had ordering a Force 3 hockey style helmet through Dick’s Sporting Goods. Short version: it arrived with no chin pad. Returned and a new one shipped, no chin pad. Returned again and the third one had no chin pad. Not willing to deal with this again, I returned it for a refund and bought an All Star. I’m quite happy with it. I figured the problem was with Dick’s, and I wanted Force 3 to know about the issue because they are losing sales due to what I believed were the actions of a very large retailer. So I emailed them asking someone to call me. The auto response said they would. No call. I emailed a second time, still no response other than the auto email promising contact. So I called them twice, no response. So I sent a message to their Facebook page and got nothing but an auto response. I contacted a well-known online umpire equipment retailer and asked if they were going to carry this helmet. I was told they have no plans to even though they carry a lot of Force 3’s equipment. Hmmmmm…. Then I read their reviews on their Facebook page. Every review for the past six months is horrible, and talks about how their customer service refuses to contact anyone, the products have become shoddy, and reviews of that helmet talk about the crappy chin pad that always falls out and is poorly designed. I’m thinking Force 3 isn’t what it used to be.
  7. Video cameras. See #2 and #3.
  8. I'm 100% against it for a number of reasons: 1- The research currently shows MLB umpires are MORE ACCURATE than the electronic strike zones. Not the rest of us, but MLB for sure. 2- The box drawn in TV is always the same regardless of the batter's height. This is not how the rule book defines the zone, so what they are showing you on TV is inaccurate before the pitcher even gets his sign. 3- The strike zone is THREE DIMENSIONAL, but electronic zones are only calling strikes at the front edge of the plate (see #1 and #2). 4- While an MLB umpire is more accurate than the electronic zones, I fully admit that I'm not, and neither are other high school umpires. But you should see the difference in my skill in the two years I've been umpiring. I get consistently strong reviews from evaluators and even coaches about the consistency of my zone. So why impose that cost on a high school, whose priority for sporting equipment will almost 100% of the time NOT be for baseball? 5- Framing pitches is a genuine part of the game. Excellent or even good framing will buy the pitcher a strike. Crappy framing may give him a ball when it wouldn't have. But it's part of the game. I've called behind some outstanding catchers at the 18U and adult league level, and I've called behind some catchers who think sliding their mitt into the center of the zone after making the catch is framing. Why would we want to do anything that changes the importance of a player???
  9. A thrown ball hitting the base is NOT a force out. A batted ball hitting a base is FAIR, regardless of where it flies after hitting the base.
  10. Obstruction, NOT interference, and it guarantees the batter-runner or runner the base he would have gotten to, in the umpire's judgement, had he not been obstructed. USUALLY this means one additional base from where they stopped, or if they were thrown out at a base, they get that base. In other words, since he scored, the run counts and the penalty is not assessed.
  11. The world according to mac266: Buy equipment that you'll use for varsity level high school baseball. I went cheap the first time around (the package from Champro that includes a chest protector, mask, shin guards, ball bag, indicator, and plate brush). In my second season I replaced everything except the plate brush. Now I'm wearing: Wilson West Vest gold chest protector, Force 3 shin guards, an All-Star hockey style helmet. My ball bags are higher quality, and I went with a 3-dial indicator. Oh, and my cup will withstand a thermonuclear blast. This year I also added some tights made by Force 3 that have some kevlar pads on the inner thigh. I've taken a few fouls there, and they deaden it a little. But wearing the tights helps prevent chafing from the shin guards. Of course, these are what I'm using, and your mileage may vary. But I still hold to my original point: Buy equipment that you could wear for varsity level baseball. As you move up, you won't have to buy all your gear again. It worked out for me, because I gave all that starter gear to my 15 year-old, who also plays, but who got hired to umpire Triple Crown tournaments with me.
  12. DON'T QUIT! Kylehutson's advice was spot on. I guarantee, given your experience level, that you're calling too fast. See it, replay it in your head, look for the ball (is there a "voluntary and intentional release?") and then make the call.
  13. It's an 8-day course. I guess graduates of one of the two pro schools go there for final selection, but it's open to the rest of us schmucks, too. According to the web site, they use it to hire folks into college summer leagues like the American Association and others. I spoke with a mentor about it, and he says those college summer leagues are great, but not for a family guy like me -- 90 days away from my regular (and well paying, especially compared to umpiring!) job and family. But an 8-day course is much more palatable than a 30-day course, just from a pocket book and burning vacation time perspective. This is especially true because I could never afford to be an MiLB umpire. Sure, if they stuck me in the MLB on day 1 and paid me the MLB rate, it would be great. But it doesn't work like that. Do you suppose it would open up other opportunities? We have a Pecos league team locally and the umpires are all local. I'd love to get into that.
  14. OP, I'm curious to know how it went! Last bit of advice: Remember the rules between softball and baseball are vastly different. That's why I don't do both. I've seen very experienced umpires misapply a softball rule in a baseball game, and I don't want to be that guy!
  15. I bought a stop watch for games with time limits (high school and lots of tournaments do that around here), only to find out it's a disaster. The stop button gets pushed and it stops tracking time. We're not supposed to wear a wrist watch, so I took it off and put it in my left ball bag (left bag for tools, right bag for baseballs). That watch broke, so I replaced it. The new one keeps having buttons pushed while in the ball bag. Egad. We're not supposed to have our phones with us on the field. But now I'm down to putting my phone in my back pocket and running the timer. It works marvelously. I tell my partner in the pregame that's what I'm doing, and I NEVER pull my phone out unless there is a question about time.
  16. It must have a hard shell for me to consider it. That's why I'm not looking at their current one, but it is much lower profile.
  17. I did, yes. The biggest reason I’m considering a change is how it fits in my plate coat 🤣😂
  18. This is NOT a foul ball. It is a dead ball strike.
  19. This is a dead ball strike -- dead because it hit the batter. He is not awarded first base because he swung. Because he swung, it's a strike. It doesn't matter where the ball landed because it can neither be fair nor foul; it is dead. The proper way to kill the play is "TIME!" Then give the batter a minute to recover and put him back in the box with an additional strike added. If that was strike 3, he's out.
  20. I've been using a Wilson West Vest (gold), and its protection is great. I've taken a few hard shots and it disperses the impact quite well. That said, it's like strapping a 1957 Chevy to my chest. I'm looking to go lower profile, but given that I'm working high school level, including varsity, with the opportunity to move up to independent league pro ball in the next few years, I'm self imposing a restriction that any chest protector MUST be a hard shell. I've been looking at the All-Star Cobalt, and I really wish I had the opportunity to try these on before I buy them, but there isn't a retail store around that carries stuff like this. So, for those with experience, will it be lower profile than the West Vest? Lighter? More comfortable? Protect as well?
  21. My black one is by Out West and my navy blue one is a Fechheimer that was gifted by a retiring umpire. You cannot buy the latter anymore, but it was the best thing ever made. I don't know about Honig's, but I can definitely see a quality difference between my Out West and the Fechheimer. Out West is acceptable, but for a custom made garment I'm pretty livid at their recommendations. They told me to buy a size larger and have it tailored down. The tailoring cost me $110 because I took their recommendations on sizing.
  22. Whelp...there's another tool for my toolbox!
  23. I've spent my entire adult life in a profession where peoples' lives depend trusting on what I say, and my life depends on others and trusting them. There is a mutual trust built on a foundation of integrity. In my life, if we can't trust each other's word, people die. While umpiring may not go to that extreme, it's still who I am. If someone disagrees with me, that's one thing; it's just a difference of opinion. But in this case, this guy openly accused you of violating your integrity, and in doing so, blatantly LIED. That says more about him as a man than anything else I need to know. That dude would forever be on my "do not trust" list, and that one is pretty much irreparable. I think you handled it perfectly, and definitely better than I would have. If you haven't guessed, I just revealed my button.
  24. Contrary to my post about the "skunk in the outfield," I've seen this one several times. I would guess it worked about half the time. Anyone else?
  25. I've never umpired a game where this happened, but I'd like to think I'm aware enough to recognize it when it does. I'd like to hear from umpires who had this happen when they were working. Did the trick play score the run?
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