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I want to extend my congratulations to and make you all aware, that our very own@MadMax has been selected for the plate in the Arizona 6A, (our largest schools), HS State Championship game.  The game is next Tuesday May 18th and is held in the Angels' spring training stadium.  Our umpiring association has an annual get together at the game to which all of the State's HS coaches are also invited.  All in all, it's quite a deal.  He's earned the spot based on evaluation by our association and review of the HS coaches we work with.  
When I heard the news I immediately thought back to the uncomfortable conversation Max had with his first assignor here in AZ.  Why hadn't he been working varsity games in his home state?  Was he qualified to work the national level PG event we were holding that weekend? As I recall, his first role was bringing ice water to us during the event.  The first games we worked together, Max jumped in and worked three man without being compensated.  In the nearly four years since then Max has taken every opportunity to work his butt off and get better.  There have been endless numbers of youth games on scorching, dusty fields.  Clinics and camps, taking advantage of every opportunity to learn and improve.  His summers have been occupied with college and now independent ball.  His primary in season focus has shifted to NAIA baseball.  I still hear from so many umpires that honors like this are "political", whatever that means.  Max is still an outsider here to a large degree and has much less tenure then most of the umpire working for our association.  So it's gratifying to see a clear example of merit being reward.  Way to go buddy!

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