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Old Wed Sep 20, 2006, 10:20pm
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Scissors

I was watching my son's 15 year old fall travel league game and for the first time in years saw PU in the scissors. I never used it, and never studied it, but PLEASE tell me that in the scissors you are NOT supposed to have your head slightly tilted to the side, and have your nose lined up with the inside batter's box line. Understandably, while PU was probably a nice guy he seemed to have no conception where outside was.
If that IS the right place to set up then I'm going to it cause I'll never get hit!
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Old Wed Sep 20, 2006, 10:45pm
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I'm currently watching an MLB umpire, Padres vs. DBacks, working the scissors WITH HIS MASK ON SIDEWAYS. I mean it's off center by a couple of inches. The edge of the padding is nearly covering his right eye. It's flat out goofy.

Hey, everybody's different. Some more different that others.

But you've NEVER seen the scissors before? Wow. How are you enjoying your first trip to America?
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Old Wed Sep 20, 2006, 11:22pm
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Kyle, in all fairness, he said that he hasn't seen the scissors in years.

In answer to LakeErieUmp, often umpires in the scissors kick their back leg toward the outside edge side of the batter's box, and have their shoulders pointing somewhat toward the plate at a funny angle. Then they turn their head ever so slightly so as to look directly at the pitcher and line their eyes up with the strike zone. I've noticed this in some scissors photos of me from the past. Check out some of the MLB guys scissors next time you get the chance. Some of them line up like this too. Ed Rapuano used to do this if I recall correctly.

BTW, Lance Barksdale is working the plate on the Padres/DBacks game right now, and has been getting grief all night from both teams for having a crackerbox-like strike zone. He squeezed David Wells like a Florida orange.
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Last edited by SanDiegoSteve; Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 11:39pm.
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Old Wed Sep 20, 2006, 11:34pm
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You're right. Sorry man. But I see the scissors all the time. Lot of HS umpires around here use it.
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Old Wed Sep 20, 2006, 11:45pm
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I first used the scissors in 1990, and continued to use the stance until 2 years ago, when I took a horrific shot on the left elbow (with a right hand batter and a plus 90 pitch). I have since switched to several other stances, depending on what level ball, but I still like the view I got from the scissors the best. It was also the easiest on my back, which has had degenerated discs from L-2 to S-1 since 1985.
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Old Thu Sep 21, 2006, 10:55am
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I worked the "box" (heel-toe), as required, while in the minor leagues. I hated it for two reasons: my knees always, always hurt after every plate job, and (2) "the" ball always seemed to find my balls (or inner thighs) at least once every two weeks or so (I have some nasty pictures of what a person's inner thigh looks like after getting drilled by a 95mph fast ball that no bat nor no glove touched.)

Anyways, dropping back down to college and high school, I went to the scissors. Many people had told me that the scissors is worse on your knees than the box...I decided to find out for myself and I found the opposite to be true. My knees never hurt after a game. The only part that ever is sore after a plate game is some leg muscles (quads) and that's only in the beginning of the season before they "get loose". I have also found that I get hit a lot less in unprotected areas than I did in the box. I have yet in 5+ years to get hit on the inner thigh, for instance. (Hits to my arms and to my mask are the same as in the box).

Finally, at the time I switched, I had not heard anything about the scissors causing possible neck problems. I have had none...but after reading Tee's posts and talking to others over the last year or so, I remain very mindful to keep an eye out for any neck issues.

As for standing sidewards, etc.: The most blatant of all time, IMHO, was Steve Rippley (when he worked the scissors) who retired a few years back...watch some of his old games on ESPN Classic. I personally try (please note the word "try") to do it like Jeff Nelson: straight on, standing in the slot, shoulders square to the mound.

Just my two cents.
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Old Thu Sep 21, 2006, 11:15am
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I have quite a few parts missing in the lower back (no fusion - yet!) so I had been using a modified scissors stance to get the "load" off the lower back area.

For a RHB, I'd stand square to F1 about an arm's reach behind F2. When F1 starts up, I'd drop my right foot back as if going into a full scissors but I'd only go back about a step. I am not on my toes either. My right foot is flat on the ground (Very important to get the heel of the back foot on the ground as this removes the "load"). It is very stable and does not strain anything.

What made this really interesting was when the GDS came about, I realized that I was at the same head height in either stance! I took my modified scissors farther behind F2 where the GDS would be and it is amazing! I can use either stance and get the same view! That is great for me because even the GDS can hurt when the back is flaring up.
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Old Thu Sep 21, 2006, 01:57pm
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From my notes from the Desert Classic:

Injuries due to the scissors stance at the Major League level have become so predictable, expensive and, in the view of the insurance carriers, preventable, that they no longer will cover them. Most "scissor" umpires have switched and no MiLB umpires below AAA are allowed to use the stance. The few who have been "grandfathered" are still urged to change..
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Old Thu Sep 21, 2006, 02:48pm
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I, too, had knee problems working the box. That is until my son corrected my stance just a hair. He had me point my inside toes (right foot, for right handers) toward second, instead of straight ahead. It's made all the difference in the world.
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Old Thu Sep 21, 2006, 08:24pm
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Hand Behind Your Back?

When I worked the box, 2 full seasons, I found myself exchanging unpleasant stories with other umpires about the shots we took during the season. I experienced painful knee problems too. I could actually feel my knees grinding as I flexed them or climbed a set of stairs.

I keep both legs underneath me, feet straight and heel to toe, and then squat as if I was going to kneel onto my right knee. The pain and the grinding sound vanished. I can easily work different heights, if needed, and I can remain set much lower for longer periods of time. I no longer need the recovery time the next moring while my legs recooperate from the stiffness. I am so much faster behind the plate too. There is no going back to the box.

I also rest the back of my left hand behind my back for lower back support, half of a military parade rest, and the right hand on my thigh for weight support. Each serves a real purpose. I laugh when someone says something negative about how one looks with one hand behind their back. I also laugh when someone suggests that one stand in the slot too. I now have a great view of the plate, I feel more comfortable, and I GET HIT LESS often.
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Old Thu Sep 21, 2006, 10:49pm
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Send a message via Yahoo to waltjp
Quote:
Originally Posted by GarthB
Injuries due to the scissors stance ....
Garth, could you expand on this? What type of injuries?
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Old Fri Sep 22, 2006, 12:54am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waltjp
Garth, could you expand on this? What type of injuries?
As Tee has described a couple of times before, Jim demonstrates the issue by holding a tennis ball at arm's length. Then poses the question: Imagine the strain if instead of a tennis ball he was holding an 10 pound bowling ball at full arm's length. (The human head averages 4.5 to 5.0 kg)

This kind of pressure in the scissors position, where the body does not line up beneath and support the weight of the head can result in anything from muscle strain, to pinched nerves, to damage to the cervical vertebrae.

I'm not a medico of anykind, but my physical therapist explained to me that not only can this position lead to injuries in the obvious area of the neck, but because the body attempts to compensate for such awkward weight bearing, it can also cause injury in the lower, lumbar region of the back and even in the hips.

According to Jim, this has ocurred with some frequency in MLB tp practitioners of the scissors stance.
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Last edited by GarthB; Fri Sep 22, 2006 at 12:57am.
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