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Scott Kennedy

OFFICIAL 2-MINUTE REVIEW: Diamond Big League & iX3 Umpire Masks (DFM-UMP & DFM)

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There are some quick things to take from this:

  1. The actual mask frames are all the exact same. The frame is aluminum, with a generous profile, strut-less ear guards, an extended crown guard (a feature unique to a select number of mask models), and a squared, chisel-point chin guard. The finishes vary, surely – as Scott points out, the DFM-UMP-BL (Big League) has a matte finish while the "common" DFM-UMP has a semi-gloss finish. What that indicates to me is the BL model has an anodized finish, while the common model has a for-aluminum paint.
  2. Diamond has gone all-in on aluminum with the iX3 line. There is a Catcher's mask (which doesn't get enough play in college or pro level. The Umpire version we know so well is one of those "Near Perfect" creations. The fact that it's aluminum, and from Diamond, keeps it at an appealing price point of less than $100. It is not titanium!
  3. Diamond finally realized that their pads were the weak point of the mask as a system. The DFM-UMP-BL features pads that are nearly twice as thick as the previous stock pads. This is not the "best of the best". Full-grain leather does not improve the absorption and protection by the pads – the pads' internal construction makes the difference! The "best of the best" would be an internal foam of an ultra-modern, latest-technology material that would absorb 99.99% of the impacting force energy. That material isn't here (quite) yet, it isn't being researched by Diamond (more like Team Wendy), and it certainly won't be encased in leather at a $40+ price point (the mask frame alone goes for $40. Figure a harness goes for $10... so that means the pads are valued at $40. Well, so are Team Wendys).
  4. The DFM-UMP is so popular with amateur, collegiate, and Minor League umpires because A) it is so freakishly lightweight, B) it doesn't bend (unless assailed by an overwhelming force), and C) it is less than $100 (are you reading this, Wilson??). A bent mask looks stupid and unsafe. Amateur umpires take hits so much more frequently than their professional counterparts, but are operating on such a lower budget, they cannot afford to buy replacement masks.
  5. I know not what Scott is talking about in regards to "upgrades with their (Diamonds) umpire masks and umpire equipment". This is probably Diamond's only real standout umpire product. Their CPs, shin guards and other protective gear are average at best. They do not make a for-umpires HSM, and their CPs are all foam-encased "panel jackets" – they do not offer a true hard-shell.
  6. The "crink" in the mask, unique to Diamond, serves absolutely no (known) purpose. If it was located further down, towards the bottom of the mask, it would make sense, as that way, the center chin tab on the pads would secure around it, while the bottom of the mask would then be available to attach a Diamond -brand dangling throat guard in the proper location, as advised by many including Scott Kennedy in one of his videos. As it is, Diamond makes their throat guards with a broad centerline clasp so as to attach to the bottom rung on the chin guard!

And yes, the mask planform has been circulated around to Gerry Davis, and Schutt, and other vendors to be outfitted with re-branded (or re-labeled) pads and sold under a variety of names. It's an incredibly successful design.

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