Jump to content
Phu Bai

The Balloon

Recommended Posts

 The outside (balloon) protector was more difficult  from a mechanical perspective BUT..does anyone think it offered better protection?
 Was it  better for calls  side to side, but not up and down?
I got out of umpiring many moons ago and the balloon was still an option and was all I ever used....Yea OLD!


Image

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it's better protection.  IT makes no difference on the calls -- that has everything to do with the umpire's position and the umpire could work the slot or over the top with either the outside or the inside protector.  Working the "super slot" would be difficult with the outside protector.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree that it was better protection (and cooler!). I do think though it led to a more consistent strike zone for those who worked over the top (I didn't). Left handed batter or right handed you stood in the same place with your head in the same place for every batter. I didn't work over the top because I wanted a better look at the low pitches than was afforded by the balloon over the top. Just my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a "Super Slot" guy now that learned to umpire with a pillow and felt very comfortable with it at the time. At this point, it's been so long without it and everything I do has changed so much, I can't even imagine what it would be like to go back to the outside protector. Well, one thing you can count on happening. You and your partner would catch a ration of excrement from both dugouts. I had the pleasure of working the bases with a guy who insisted on using the outside protector for college summer ball last year

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm a "Super Slot" guy now that learned to umpire with a pillow and felt very comfortable with it at the time. At this point, it's been so long without it and everything I do has changed so much, I can't even imagine what it would be like to go back to the outside protector. Well, one thing you can count on happening. You and your partner would catch a ration of excrement from both dugouts. I had the pleasure of working the bases with a guy who insisted on using the outside protector for college summer ball last year

Sent from my SM-G975U using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe the tradeoffs were a better look at the knee pitch with the inside, versus the better look at the outside corner/and belt pitch with the outside, and some liked the mobility with the inside rather than carrying the bulky outside around.

You learned how to whip that baby under your armpit on the left side after taking off your mask and using the mask for clamping it against your left side as you ran up to third to cover, from what an old timer told me that had to learn both at the school. You also learned how to make a safe call at third without having the strap fall down off the top of your shoulder area.

The outside allowed you to work straight over the catcher, (at the expense of what we now know is being more in the concussion/kill zone) who split the plate, rather than all the in and out movement by the catcher today. You could literally put both feet right behind the catcher (no, not under his raised up heel for obvious reasons) and rarely were hit in the shoe as the foot never flaired out. Only thing was a mitch kupchak if the ball bounced under him and popped up high enough. Did not matter if catcher got crossed up on the inside pitch unless you flaired out your arms or elbows.

You might as well work the slot with the outside if you choose to use one, in today's game.

I would tend to believe that both Joe and Gerry had to learn both at the school back in the day and maybe Layne too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/5/2020 at 9:18 AM, GerryB said:

I agree that it was better protection (and cooler!). I do think though it led to a more consistent strike zone for those who worked over the top (I didn't). Left handed batter or right handed you stood in the same place with your head in the same place for every batter. I didn't work over the top because I wanted a better look at the low pitches than was afforded by the balloon over the top. Just my opinion.

As @dumbdumb says, I don't think anyone would work above the catcher today. It's not the chest protector I'm worried about protecting me there - it's the face mask.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That Norman Rockwell painting exhibits one key point as to why the balloon fell out of favor...

How many umpires are depicted?

Yup.

Sure, the inside protector was started by the Major League guys, but it really gained traction in the Minor League and parallel environments. Those games wherein there were 2 or less umpires, and as runner / base responsibilities and rotations were instituted and formalized, the PU now was expected to be more mobile. To get to third base. To take the mask off (with the proper hand, too!), be in the optimum position, and make a/the call, vocal and mechanic.

That balloon is luggage.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

SCN_0064.thumb.jpeg.274cb30012558dd50796dd1eb105bb3a.jpeg

 

Notice how the raft strap holds to the shoulder. Yes he has his mask in his right hand and indicator in his left. This was from the 80s I believe. It was my uncle, considered by many as one of the best umpires in NJ.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...