I'm thinking of getting one but pricing and opinions are hugely variable.
I'm more than happy with my current F3v2 mask as my daily driver, so to speak, but I'm still concerned about broken bats and other flying objects that could hit me in the side of the head, so I've been contemplating biting the bullet and grabbing a HSM to use in higher-level wood bat leagues.
So far the ones in contention are (in order of preference) the F3v2 Defender HSM, the All-Star MVP4000, and the Wilson MLB Pro Stock.
From my perspective, the F3v2 still has the upper hand because of the springs and the extra bit of steel that extends over the forehead area, à la Gary Cederstrom's custom Wilson cage, not to mention it's over $100 cheaper than the All-Star. I'm not terribly concerned about more weight from the HSM as I didn't find the extra weight much of an issue when I switched from my +POS Zero-G to the F3v2 so I suspect I'll be fine going to the heavier HSM-style anyway.
Anyone have experience with any of these masks? Things I should know that I might have missed or might not have thought about?
In viewing clips of pitches and hits on mlb.tv, I have noticed a trend – MLB umpires are opting to a wider variety of masks rather than the default, formerly supplied Wilson DynaLite. We’re still seeing guys use the Wilson DynAlum and the occasional Wilson Titanium (Way Too) Low Profile, and there are those still relying on their Nike Icon Titaniums, but we’re also seeing increased numbers of Mizunos, Force3 Defenders, and All-Star FM4000MAGs.
I’m sincerely wondering when that “paradigm shift” or “break point” is going to occur, when it is open season on branding gear with attributed logos instead of hiding, obscuring, or flat-out lying so as to appease a company that lethargically refuses to progressively protect their “sponsored” representatives. Because a knocked-off mask is viewed as a “failed mask”, MLB umpires – wearing Wilson -marked masks especially – are directed to wear their masks far too tight. Well, coincidentally, this plays right into Force3’s strengths, as the reactive spring suspension functions best when the mask is worn snugly. It’s just a shame that Force3 doesn’t receive due credit!
I have been seeing more guys in the pros wearing the All-Star FM4000. I have heard many good things i.e lightweight, durable, comfortable to wear. However, I have also heard many negative things about the mask i.e sparks fly when you get hit, the upper bar does not extend far enough out leaving umpires vulnerable. I know I have seen some guys wearing a matte skull cap with it. I like many of the positives but am concerned about some of the negatives.
I am interested to hear what everyone's thoughts are about the mask
Have you found anything that backs up or disputes the cons of the mask?
Hey guys, there are a lot of members here who are mask addicted so I just thought I'd post some weights of some of the popular mask frames and accessories that I have, have had or tried. It might help you choose a back-up or lighten up your current rig a little. Every little bit helps. Though I can't attest to perfect calibration on my scale, I am using the same scale for each item so the differences in weight by comparison should be very accurate. Everything here is listed down from lighter to heaviest.
Also, if you guys want to 'weigh in' your own items that aren't listed here, feel free.
Nike Titanium - 11.1 oz
Rawlings Titanium - 11.5 oz
+POS ZeroG - 12.5 oz
All-Star FM25 Hollow Steel (with vinyl coating) - 14.6 oz
Wilson Chrome Moliben (without vinyl coating) - 15.2 oz
Wilson Dynalite Catcher/Umpire (with vinyl coating) - 18.7 oz
Diamond Quik-Dry Vinyl (Not 50/50 pads) (upper) - 0.9, (lower) - 1.3 oz
+POS black mesh (upper) - 1.0 oz, (lower) - 1.4 oz
+POS smooth tan leather (upper) - 1.0oz, (lower) - 1.4oz
Nike (upper) - 1.1 oz, (lower) - 1.8oz
All-Star Mesh (upper) - 1.6 oz, (lower) - 1.4 oz (Yep, I checked it twice, the upper is heavier than the lower pad)
+POS new Classic Brown Leather (upper) - 1.4 oz, (lower) - 2.0 oz
Rawlings LWMXTI (upper) - 1.8 oz, (Lower) - 2.1 oz
Wilson Amara Suede (upper) - 1.9, (lower) - 2.6 oz
Wilson Black Leather Wrap-around (upper) - 2.6 oz, (lower) - 3.9 oz
Harness (es) (Harnessi?!)
Rawlings Ti - 1.2 oz
All-Star Delta - 1.3 oz
+POS lite - 1.3 oz
Nike - 1.5 oz
Wilson - 1.6oz