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Ever taken a shot that shook you a little?


wolfe_man

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I've been hit many times over the years, but finally took a shot on Saturday that scared me a little.   I was wearing my WV Gold (without wings and cinched tight with a flex harness) and a Diamond navy blue mask with navy MAG pads (HS game).  The pitcher is a D1 recruit (Toledo, as a F2 and RP) who was throwing in the upper 80's with good late movement on his pitches.  To be completely honest, he's the 2nd hardest-thrower I've seen in my short career.  I will say that you can definitely notice when a guy can bring it more than what you see on a regular basis.

The first batter, second pitch tails up & in and the batter swings (defensive mostly) and catches just a piece of it, the ball then deflects straight to the very top of my CP just missing the bottom of my mask.  Literally, an inch higher and I really believe I'd been in the ER - it was that close.  The CP did it's job and all I felt was a sharp blow, but it shook me a little.  It took a lot for me to re-focus and zero back in behind the plate.  It didn't help that he bounced one off the sod in front of the plate a few pitches later that also got past F2 and clanged off my CP. 

Both of us settled in/down and the VT smoked the HT in five, but that's the first ball impact that's really shook me.  I guess I realized just how close I came to maybe having my voice-box smashed by a baseball.  I normally wear a throat guard, but I hadn't put one on this mask yet. I can assure you that it will be remedied very shortly. 

Ever had a close call that left you momentarily shaken or scared? 

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Definitely wolfe_man. There are some kids in HS that throw 90+ with wicked breaking stuff, and some of these catchers can't handle it.

There is a kid in our area that is a switch pitcher. Throw 90+ with his right and high 80's with his left. The catcher couldn't handle him. One of our chapter officers called balls and strikes from behind the mound because it was unsafe for him to be behind the plate. 

I took a shot a couple weeks ago. Untouched fastball to the mask (pitcher/catcher crossup). Gave me a mild concussion (1st in my career from a shot to the mask). It took me a couple weeks to get comfortable again.

Taken a foul to the arm I thought fractured my wrist but was just a nasty bruise. 

The risk we take for the game we love. Most people have no idea.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, GreyhoundAggie said:

I took a shot a couple weeks ago. Untouched fastball to the mask (pitcher/catcher crossup). Gave me a mild concussion (1st in my career from a shot to the mask). It took me a couple weeks to get comfortable again.

Taken a foul to the arm I thought fractured my wrist but was just a nasty bruise.

I had a mild concussion a few years back form a mask impact.  It took me a week before I returned to "normal".  I almost walked away as I thought I had simply lost the ability to call anymore, before realizing I had a concussion that was affecting my vision.

I've heard that arm/wrist shots on the bone are the worst.  Somehow, I have been blessed to not have taken anything hard on a bone yet.  Lots of stomach/chest shots and a few pretty good mask shots, but bone impacts have been minimal thankfully.

12 minutes ago, GreyhoundAggie said:

The risk we take for the game we love. Most people have no idea.

 

 

Very true words right here.  I'll be honest, when I've seen some guys drop like they're shot after taking a chest/knee impact at the MLB level - I thought it might be a bit overreacting.   No more will I think that after Saturday. 

While mine didn't stagger or knock me down, I'm telling you it was a shock to my system.  If that had impacted over my heart or dead-center of my mask, then it could have been a scary situation.   I was literally glad that baseball is a game of inches - and it was in my favor this time!

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1 hour ago, wolfe_man said:

I've been hit many times over the years, but finally took a shot on Saturday that scared me a little.   I was wearing my WV Gold (without wings and cinched tight with a flex harness) and a Diamond navy blue mask with navy MAG pads (HS game).

 

That's your problem -- you wouldn't have been hit if the mask / pads weren't navy.

Hit and broke my radius.  Hot and later got a detached retina (no way to prove causation here, but I'm sure it didn't help).

 

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1 minute ago, noumpere said:

That's your problem -- you wouldn't have been hit if the mask / pads weren't navy.

Hit and broke my radius.  Hot and later got a detached retina (no way to prove causation here, but I'm sure it didn't help).

 

LOL - not my first choice either. I have asked OHSAA to let us wear black and/or MLB blue, but we all know that's not going to happen.

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I did a Fall game for University of Toledo, D1 team.  Kid was throwing low 90's, similar situation as you, batter just tipped it, which caused it to just deflect off the catchers mitt, straight into my mask.

Now, I am pretty tough, I didn't even react.  Told the catcher I was fine and let's go, though the impact was jarring.  A batter or two later and the inning ended and I was standing on the line with my mask under my arm and realized blood was coming out of my nose.  Impact was on my chin area of the mask, but the reverberation was so strong it caused my inner nose to bleed.

I wasn't scared or anything, so I can't quite equate to your story, but it made me think about what 100mph would be like...I may never get the chance to find out but will see.  

My next closest situation was actually as a catcher, I played D1.  Big ol' lefty, looked like Mr. Clean, had graduated the year before and was there helping with the team.  I was catching him in bullpen, he threw low 90's.

To this day I would swear on my life (which it almost cost me) that he signaled slider with his glove.  He says he did fastball, so if he did, he was lazy and glove went diagonal.  He threw, I broke my glove to my left anticipating the bend, and took the fastball straight into the chest.  Literally knocked me backwards onto my ass.  I remember thinking, "how useful are these chest protectors anyways" because they are so thin compared to an umpires....turns out, they do a lot.  No bruises, no damage, no heart attack, but man the impact....

Makes me think of Happy Gilmore in the batting cage...haha

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  • wolfe_man changed the title to Ever taken a shot that shook you a little?

@wolfe_man, glad to hear you are ok. I have developed a routine to help me reset after taking a pitch that shook me. I will take my mask off, grab a drink, typically my partner(s) come over, I'll brush the plate and by then I'm usually ready. Give yourself all the time you need and if you are unsure if you should continue...don't. If you feel unsure later in the game...get off the field. Call someone for a ride or taxi or ride share, if necessary and make sure you are examined by a doctor ASAP.

On the equipment side, everyone please equip your face masks with throat guards and keep an extra throat guard and straps in your gear bag. I've never seen or heard of an umpire getting injured in the throat while wearing a throat guard. The only reason most guys don't wear a throat guard is the click-clack they make. That can be overcome with using rubber drawer or cabinet bumpers.

As Wolfe indicated, a properly fit chest protector with a proper harness is vitally important for your protection. Check the fit of you chest protector and the condition of your harness often.

Oh and...West Vest Gold, huh? Seems like it did a good job here...must be that upholstery grade padding or something.

~Dawg

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3 hours ago, GreyhoundAggie said:

Throw 90+ with his right and high 80's with his left. The catcher couldn't handle him.

This is a true shame. Kid could be the next Pat Venditte, yet no coach has the vision or dedication to find and train a catcher to work with him, and really propel this prospective pitcher to near-limitless realms of success. 

The (over)reaction to COVID could be a factor (due to the absurd idea that you can't get together and practice / work privately), but the pandemic paranoia aside, there are wild differences between coach capabilities. 

3 hours ago, wolfe_man said:

I've heard that arm/wrist shots on the bone are the worst.

Yup, they suck. 

injury_arm_02.jpg.68d2e7a73bc9dafbd71c816bc7376aa3.jpg   injury_arm_03.jpg.6d4a34f815e0770436360b0df856fae8.jpg

7 hours ago, wolfe_man said:

Ever had a close call that left you momentarily shaken or scared? 

The ones that scare me the absolute most are the 58-59-foot spike jobs, typically thrown 0-2 or 1-2, to a lazy or low-skilled catcher. I caught for 16 years, and I've been an umpire (now) for 14 years... and as an umpire, I cannot catch or block them!!! FCOL, I wouldn't even call for that pitch as a catcher! No way! Cuz you know where they've hit me, as an umpire? Right in the plums, or the groin. I wear one of the most advanced, expensive, carbon-fiber & silica personal protectors on the market, and one of those still hurt! I've taken mask shots so brutal, they've cratered the mask bars (plural). Was A-O-K. I've taken chest and torso shots so hard, they've cracked the CP shells, and the resulting bruise looks like a gunshot blast or a sledgehammer hit me. C'est la vie. Foul balls to the hands, wrists, forearms, biceps, abdomen, thighs... ho man, the thighs??!! Ugh! 

injury_thigh_left.jpg.7c1d10e5813a43fb6eb3fc95e1861b3a.jpg   injury_thigh_right.jpg.0c46e83bbf7d2296799b9e6ca73be4a1.jpg

I routinely carry 2 masks, as a minimum, to each game I do. I've gone through more masks getting bent or broken than most umpires will own in a career! The most memorable shot to the mask I received, other than the aforementioned one that cratered my Nike Steel, was a shot to the jaw, just below my left ear. I'm fairly certain that it unseated my jaw, causing a click in my jaw when I would chew that lasted over half a year. 

Facing legitimate Major League pitching (for real – it was Major League Spring Training Intrasquad), I had an alarming incident wherein Eloy Jiménez broke his bat and the follow through propelled the barrel back into my left forearm. It hurt and it stunned me, but what scared me in that instant was I feared that the pointy end speared me. Instead, it was the "normal", cupped end of the barrel. 

No, I did not switch to HSMs after that. Pffft. As if. 

But there are no pitches that give me greater... concern for my physical and mental acuity than those spike jobs, thrown by amateur F1's, with no business or reason to do so, that end up hitting me right in the groin or the plums. I swear, I got hit by one in a 16U game, direct pitch, and I was down for what felt like an eternity. I was seething pi$$ed at the battery (both of 'em! the F1 s#!thead who threw it, and the F2 who was "captain casual" in trying to scoop it!). I had a purple "ring around the rosie" for a solid week. 

No, there are no photos.

38 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

I've never seen or heard of an umpire getting injured in the throat while wearing a throat guard. The only reason most guys don't wear a throat guard is the click-clack they make.

You can strike that absolute. I was U3 on a 3-man crew and the PU – who is one of those "pedantic, particular" gentlemen, and always very forthright in telling us what we should and should not have, or how we should do this, or not do that – took a foul ball bounce down and then straight back up to hit him, right in the Adam's Apple, while he was wearing a Force3 Defender with a properly-mounted 6" throat guard! At his height of 6'4", he leans far out like a derrick crane, and he's... so... locked... in... that he was slow in reacting to the batted ball bouncing straight down, the ball bounced back up and found the space between his throat guard dangling down and his CP. I watched it happen, in real time, from D, and I tell ya, it so clearly happened I felt like I was watching a car accident in slow motion. 

But yes, this PU needed to be checked out by the facility trainer / medic. Throat guards are important, but they are not perfectly protective. I choose not to wear one, personally, because of several factors ranging from the type of masks I use, my plate stance, my head placement, etc. 

49 minutes ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

West Vest Gold, huh? Seems like it did a good job here...must be that upholstery grade padding or something.

I call bull-hockey on this. Any hard shell CP would have done the job; there's nothing magical about a Wilson CP that makes it more protective than any other. Certainly not that MLB logo, and certainly not the fact that Wilson's still getting premium $ for it. Upholstery and all. 

 

 

Lazy sods.

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@MadMax, I get it, man...your disapproval of Wilson products is well known.

And you're correct that ANY hard shell chest protector would have done the job and there is indeed nothing magical about a Wilson CP. Is Wilson getting premium prices for their gear? Is their gear over priced?...I think that all depends on an individual umpire's finances. The Force3 V3 chest protector is typically $280. The Wilson WV Gold is around $160. I'd love to buy a Force3 chest protector, it's an excellent chest protector and not just because of its protective qualities...and? It's over priced. When a piece of equipment is griefed to the degree Wilson gear gets griefed, the unspoken implication is that it is perhaps not worthy of being used or somehow unable to protect the umpire wearing it. Here we have Wolfe taking upper 80's wearing a WV Gold and not getting injured. I thought that was significant and worth mentioning. It was not my intention to offend anyone. I talked to about 25 umpires before buying my WV Gold. When I asked them why they chose it, nobody said, "Because it's what the MLB guys wear..." they all said some version of, they felt protected and comfortable.

Regarding throat guards, I misspoke...I should have said I have never seen or heard of an umpire getting injured while wearing a properly fitted throat guard AND chest protector, using a proper stance AND a slight downward tilt of the head. Yes, we've all taken the sharp foul choppers and or sharp foul deflections and or catcher cross-ups to various parts of our bodies. Sometimes we get hurt...sometimes badly. We know this. We accept this. And we choose and wear and maintain our gear to minimize that. Your PU's injury is the first I've heard about and I'm sorry it happened. Again, I meant no disrespect...

"Lazy sods..."? I'm not sure what idle turf has to do with all of this but, perhaps we can disagree without being disagreeable...

~Dawg

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1 hour ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

perhaps we can disagree without being disagreeable...

I'm not being disagreeable. The "lazy sods" quip is, once again, directed at Wilson. I may have become infamous – and occasionally irritating – for my repetition, but it's well-founded. Their service to us, as their market and especially when they squat upon that "Exclusive Supplier" status, is pathetic. This is a multi-million dollar international corporation we're talking about! When you put a Force3 UnEqual V3 upon the table, at $280, you can see and feel where that $280 is going. It involves Kevlar. It involves a very conforming fit. It uses the latest technology, materials, and construction methodology. And, I think it's made here in the States (I could be wrong; I found nothing to affirm or refute that), which inherently drives up the cost, too. Annnnnd, they have the decency of including the latest and best harness. 

Wilson can't even be bothered to do that. 

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I've been knocked out by a pitcher throwing low 80s and a foul sharp directly to the upper portion of my mask. I remember going down to one knee then my next memory was paramedics helping me up. They were there watching another game a couple of fields away. I had a concussion and believe it or not a neck sprain. It was 6 months before I could see clearly enough to track a pitch and then probably a year or so before I could do any type of upper level plate work without serious flinching. I really thought I was done with umpiring ball games. 

 

I never gave any thought to equipment before that happened but it certainly changed my mind. My mask when I got hit was a used mask I bought at a garage sale for my son to use playing ball at the house and it was at least 10 years old with torn up pads and weighed as much as a Volkswagen. When I got hit it broke the weld on the center bar. I bought my first new piece of equipment that week and I was shocked at the difference in the weight and the way it fit. Same with my cup, after sucking dirt in a 9-10yo game from a ball that came from underneath and tagged me 3 times in 2 games I ordered the nutty buddy. Me being a cheap butt I realized my health was worth spending the extra money. 

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During a fall ball game, I broke my hand and wrist in the same game.

Broke my hand on a foul ball from a LH batter.  Broke my wrist on a pitched ball that the catcher made no effort to catch.  

From then on- the only conditions I umpire fall ball are BASES ONLY & NO ONE MAN GAMES

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Oof @philaump and @MadMax  Dang.

 

I took a 60's plus FB square to the mask from a big 12U pitcher with a short catcher who was not quick enough to get up to get it.

Was wearing my 1st cheap mask I ever got a champro hollow steel with their pads.  Yup rang my bell pretty darn good. I took a couple min and got a drink before resuming play but yeah I probably had a mild concussion.

That made me upgrade my stuff 

Took two pretty square fouled straight back inside fastballs last night with my new  FM4000MAG-UMP-BK/BK All-Star Black Magnesium Umpire Mask with Black LUC  They were not quite as fast as that 1st uncaught pitch but they were everybit as square on.  I felt almost next to nothing comparatively.  Yeah I knew I got whacked but I felt fine.  Love that mask I do!

What gets me is the foul back hits inside that will get my forearms.  I have had couple games where I have caught more than 1 in the same damn spot and its not the 1st one that bugs me so much as the repeated 2 after. 

I have made the dumb mistake of not getting my hands down in tucked in behind the knee caps of he shin guards and taken a ball that would have hit my thigh and it hit the hand with enough force and spin it peeled a layer of skin as it was smacking the back of the hand. That was fun to explain to the wife. NO do not hold that hand please... LOL

But damn getting knocked out broken bones and thigh bruises like that.. NO... makes me want to stay at 12U and under LOL.

Oh I have caught a bunch to the cup. Yeah I love my cup that thing does a damn good job.  I'll be honest though its better to get hit straight on there then to catch an edge and or skim the bottom, LOL the ole ring muscle got bruised on that one I know.

But yeah hats off to you guys HS and higher 

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Older, more physically mature, and baseball savvy F2's are usually far better at protecting their PU then their younger counterparts. Getting hit is part of being an umpire, but it is likely that those who work 12U are getting more shots because of F2 bailing out, missing a pitch, or suiting up with the tools of ignorance for the very first time.

I will accept the inherent risk of 80-90mph fastballs because the guy in front of me understands his responsibility not only to his team, but to the guy standing behind as well. Because there are others who are willing  accept the risks associated with younger players I have no need to get involved with them.

YMMV.

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I had a JV catcher waive at a pitch as it went by him over his left shoulder. It caught me square in the mask and dropped straight down. I took all of that one.

After getting a drink and brushing the plate I said just loud enough for him to hear..."You know, the more pitches hit me, the less I trust you and the fewer strikes I can call." He caught everything cleanly for the remainder of the game...

~Dawg

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2 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

Because there are others who are willing  accept the risks associated with younger players I have no need to get involved with them.

Here's one that boggles my mind, and propels me into that "mad" realm between annoyed and infuriated. 

How does one become a better at something? Practice and repetition. How does one, more specifically, become better at being a catcher? Practice and repetition. 

So why in the hell does LL institute a limit on being a catcher??!? A catcher's "throw limit", if you will??!! 

... and, I'll state now, I am dismissing and ignoring any answers regarding "fairness" or "competitive balance". If ya want to bring up the health of these kids' arms, then either A) get them out of their houses, and limit their use of computers or gaming consoles, or B) outlaw curve balls. 

I was a very effective and skilled teenage catcher because that's the only position I ever played. :rantoff:

Quote

I had a JV catcher waive at a pitch as it went by him over his left shoulder. It caught me square in the mask and dropped straight down.

I'll take a direct mask shot instead of direct wrist shot, any day of the week, including twice on Friday. That above photo of my swollen wrist? Inside fastball, backup catcher (read: sophomore), who thought it was going to hit the RH batter, so he gave up on it. 

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@MadMax  where do you see limitations on catchers in LL?

I do know they have a limit to a catcher not being able to pitch after catching 4 innings which starts with the 1st warm up pitch to them at the top or bottom of the 4th inning whichever team they are on.  But thats not limiting their playing catcher only pitcher.  I kinda understand that. Wear and tear on catchers arms and then tossing them in to pitch.  

 

But anyway to note I did get some TW pads for my champro mask and have them on it. I am waiting for a warmer day to test it out . I have put it on and felt the difference in the padding and OH my my.. I am actually looking forward to trying it.

 

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21 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

Older, more physically mature, and baseball savvy F2's are usually far better at protecting their PU then their younger counterparts. Getting hit is part of being an umpire, but it is likely that those who work 12U are getting more shots because of F2 bailing out, missing a pitch, or suiting up with the tools of ignorance for the very first time.

I will accept the inherent risk of 80-90mph fastballs because the guy in front of me understands his responsibility not only to his team, but to the guy standing behind as well. Because there are others who are willing  accept the risks associated with younger players I have no need to get involved with them.

YMMV.

 

 

I will say YEP you are correct there sir.

 

Last night I had not one but 3 different 8 yr old catchers ( calling them that is cruel to catchers but that is the position they were assigned)

All 3 of them sat and watched as balls out side the strike zone sailed by out of their natural reach. Not even reacting to something until it had hit the backstop. 

sigh the 12 yr olds are really for the most part pretty decent but they still do not react to fouled back stuff all that well.

the 8 to 10's yep thats where I take most of my lumps albeit not the worst hardest shots but yeah A LOT more often 

 

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