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Old Mon May 03, 2004, 03:59pm
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I have never personally seen it but after getting knocked in the chin on a foul ball this weekend (OUCH) I was wondering.... Have you or have you known any umps out there that wear a mask or protective equipment in SP games?
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Old Mon May 03, 2004, 04:07pm
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One time, only, the first year I called ball. The disparaging remarks made about him behind his back convinced me I would never need to wear the gear in SP. It does seem to me, however, the last 2 years, I've heard of more umps getting hit by foul balls. I personally think it's because more batters are swingging at the high pitch, which, if fouled back gives you very little reaction time. This is why I've started turning sideways a little more in the SP game. Less of a target, doncha know.
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Old Mon May 03, 2004, 04:08pm
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Never worn a mask in 20 years but there is a piece of gear that you might wear depending on your gender.

[Edited by ChampaignBlue on May 3rd, 2004 at 05:10 PM]
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Old Mon May 03, 2004, 04:30pm
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Cool

I never wore any mask when I worked SP.
Standing off to the side helps a lot, but then
again keep in mind that the catcher is probably
at the position because they cannot actually
"catch" !!
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Old Mon May 03, 2004, 06:01pm
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Back when I was calling SP, I saw a friend of mine get his face completely rearranged by a ball straight back into his mouth and nose. I think he lost three teeth as a result. This was in my waning days of officiating the game, but after that, if I were to go back to umping it, I may feel inclined to wear a mask regardless of whatever comments the players felt they needed to make. Of course, that if is a mighty big if anyway.
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Old Mon May 03, 2004, 06:32pm
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It doesn't matter which game you are working, you should always be in the slot, and in the down position at the time of the swing.

If more umpires are getting hit with foul balls, it's possible they are not using the prescribed mechanics.

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Old Mon May 03, 2004, 10:37pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by IRISHMAFIA
It doesn't matter which game you are working, you should always be in the slot, and in the down position at the time of the swing.

If more umpires are getting hit with foul balls, it's possible they are not using the prescribed mechanics.

Mike that's a big assumption. You're still gonna get foul balls by your head, in the slot and in the proper position. It's the nature of the game. You never got hit by a ball off the bat? I'm naturally assuming your mechanics are excellent. We've all had close calls or been hit. Can't blame that on bad mechanics, it just happens.
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Old Tue May 04, 2004, 06:49am
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I agree with TexBlue. It's gonna happen no matter if you use perfect mechanics or not. I had an umpire in my area here who worked for like 30 years and claims he never got hit by a ball while working the plate. Of course, he also claims at the height of his career he worked 600 games a year.

I've seen the best here in Omaha/Council Bluffs get hit by balls that don't get caught by the catcher, and also have close calls with foul balls that "roll" back in the air at them. Bad mechanics? No, laws of gravity and nature. Just can't help it sometimes.
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Old Tue May 04, 2004, 08:48am
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I restrict my softball umpiring to fastpitch (girls' H.S/NFHS, ASA, and USSSA), but I do not think I would want to behind the plate in a slowpitch game without wearing a mask and breathing apparatus. I just think that it is a prudent thing to do.

When I was in college in the mid-70's and played slowpitch softball (intramural sports, that is), the IM department required the catchers and plate umpires to wear masks to protect themselves from foul balls. I know that in the college IM sporst situation it is also a matter of liability from the college's standpoint, but it just makes sense. Afterall hockey goalies finally started wearing masks, and after Steve Yzerman's injury I think that you just might see more NHL players wearing full masks like the players in H.S. and college wear.
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Old Tue May 04, 2004, 09:07am
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Thumbs up Put on your gameface!

Spent many years working SLOOOOOW pitch. I never wore a mask but at the time I was a little faster than the average bear. There were many close calls on foul balls but I was almost always able to either move my head or get a hand up.

It is not the speed of the pitch that will get you like in fastpitch or baseball - it's that last second redirection and the incredible spin put on the ball when the bat just slightly nicks the ball. Threads and that spin could very well chew your face up.

I've seen a few catchers use a mask... Some may scoff, some may jest, life with safety is still the best. They may have gotten heckled but they still had all their teeth.

I guess if I was still regularly working slowpitch I might look into a very lightweight mask. I still have my teeth also but I am getting a little older... and perhaps wiser... surely more humble and less reckless.

Check out the gameface for $30. It is actually made for players but would also work well for a slow pitch ump.

http://www.gameface.com/

[Edited by DownTownTonyBrown on May 4th, 2004 at 10:09 AM]
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Old Tue May 04, 2004, 02:02pm
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Quote:
Originally posted by TexBlue
Quote:
Originally posted by IRISHMAFIA
It doesn't matter which game you are working, you should always be in the slot, and in the down position at the time of the swing.

If more umpires are getting hit with foul balls, it's possible they are not using the prescribed mechanics.

Mike that's a big assumption. You're still gonna get foul balls by your head, in the slot and in the proper position. It's the nature of the game. You never got hit by a ball off the bat? I'm naturally assuming your mechanics are excellent. We've all had close calls or been hit. Can't blame that on bad mechanics, it just happens.
I have never been hit by a batted ball above the knee. I've ducked a few, but I'm talking less than 4-5 in over 15 years. Yeah, yeah, I know, it only takes one.

I am always in the slot and I have worked quite a few games where there is no catcher in front of me.

Once I determine the pitch to be legal, I get low, sometimes lower than many FP umpires as I like looking up through the strike zone. You will see more strikes at that angle. As Steve M can tell you, I'm not exactly short or thin which is probably why I cannot get as wide as he can?

Remember, in SP, many of the swings are up which means that ball is more like to go up or down, not continue on the line of the arc which is where I am at the time. I'm more likely to be hit by a foul off the cage than directly from the bat.

That said, and knowing how Rowe's Law works, I'll probably get clobbered this year. Thanks, guys!

BTW, I didn't say it WAS a problem with the umpire's mechanics, but that is could possibly be a problem with the umpire's mechanics. Haven't y'all learned yet that I talk enough, don't need you folks adding words for me





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Old Tue May 04, 2004, 02:11pm
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The funny thing is for about a year I have tried to talk my daughter into using the GameFace in her playing (She plays 3rd base) and she absolutely refuses. I get hit in the chin while umpiring and she asks me why I dont wear a mask and I didn't have a good answer for her other than "No one does" which is the same answer she gives me on why she doesnt wear a gameface.
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