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LoneBlueStar

Equipment Suggestions?

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Hi everyone,

As you may know, Im pretty new to umpiring, only being in for about 2 seasons, and the cheap starter gear I bought for $100 off craigslist is starting to wear down (surprise! :D).

I expect to have about $250-300 to spend on a new mask and chest protector when I get paid in a week or so, so suggestions would be extremely appreciated! Also, are the 3n2 plate shows worth getting? Ive seen some mixed reviews on here about them.

Edit: I work coach pitch to 14u

-LBS

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At the level you are at and giving a nod to your finaces I would buy a Champion hard shell and a Diamond Big League mask.  I would use the remainder to upgrade to the NB plate shoes and buy a Nutty Buddy. Good luck.

edit.  Also upgrade the stock CP harness to a razzer, delta flex or force 3. 

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13 minutes ago, boyinr said:

At the level you are at and giving a nod to your finaces I would buy a Champion hard shell and a Diamond Big League mask.  I would use the remainder to upgrade to the NB plate shoes and buy a Nutty Buddy. Good luck. 

I agree. The champion is probably one of the best at the price. And you can’t pass up the nutty buddy

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Ditto on the Champion. Great protector that will grow with you (there are MLB, MiLB, and college guys that wear that protector.) Also, in the thread regarding the @MadMax modification to the Schutt XV. It looks as if Schutt/Adams has upgraded the XV to not having the yoke harness and adding the plastic side clips.

 

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Another vote for champion cp. That's what I wear for high school and have worn for some college scrimmages with no issue. Great value and imo offers the best look as it's contoured and not bulky. 

I also use and like the diamond mask. I was able to purchase the mask alone and added leather Wilson paths. I like that combo a lot and spent less money than the big league version. 

Yiu might also want to check out +pos zero gravity mask. Hollow steel is very light, nice pads, and a very good looking mask similar to Wilson, Nike, etc. you can purchase of their website for as little as $50 and this mask is my current go to. 

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2 minutes ago, mwest5575 said:

You might also want to check out +pos zero gravity mask. Hollow steel is very light, nice pads, and a very good looking mask similar to Wilson, Nike, etc. you can purchase of their website for as little as $50 and this mask is my current go to. 

So... fair warning regarding +pos.

They used to be the standard bearer in umpire equipment and clothing. But fell behind because of poor customer service. And was surpassed by Honigs and now Ump-Attire and a few others. 

Many people still swear by them. But many others have had communication and shipping problems with them. So your experience could vary.

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Disclaimer: To each their own, the best advice is to try out different gear and see what fits you best as it will very from person to person.  Size is not always an indicator of best fit to your liking.  Even someone with the same dimensions as you may have different likes and feels than what you may want/need.

If I were starting over, I'd go with the following if I were on a budget and wanted new gear:

1. Champion or Schutt hard shell CP (offer very similar protection as Wilson for about 1/2 the cost of a  WV Gold or WV Platinum).  Champion will run you about $60-70 shipped and Schutt/Adams maybe closer to $80-90.  Schutt breathes so much better though!   I have heard of folks having trouble with the Champion shoulder epaulettes cracking after a shot or two, so my preference would be the Schutt/Adams.   Or... find a used WV Gold someone is getting rid of.  It's hot, but it's a tank and you don't have to worry about being hurt in it.

2. Honig's has a  great mask with calfskin pads ($40 navy, $70 black plus shipping).  If you want to spend a bit more, an All Star FM4000 is a good lightweight mask as well, but a little pricier.

3. Plate Shoes - find a pair of Reebok Zigs if you can on here or maybe on the FaceBook umpire gear selling wall.  A guy has a new pair of 10.5 b/w mids for $100 on there right now. Plus, he has a pair of used twice, all black lows in 11 for $75.  $75 is almost what you'll pay for the 3n2 after shipping - and the Reeboks are way better shoes to wear for comfort and durability.

If you watch and do some looking before buying, I'm confident you can get very good gear (shoes, CP and mask) that will last a long time for well within the budget you have to work with.  if you figure $100 on plate shoes and $75 each on CP and mask - that's right at your budget of $250.  I think it's very do-able. 

Main thing is, buy gear that will last and you can move up with.  It's no fun buying new gear every 2 years and then not having much value left in the old stuff. Buy good gear and it will either last you - or you have a little value to swap if you prefer something else. 

One last recommendation, check out all your local options.  By that I mean FaceBook, Craigslist, LetGo app, Sideline Swap app, Play It Again Sports, second hand stores, eBay, etc. as you can sometimes find very good gear cheap.  I've found Douglas and Wilson CP's for $25 a couple of times from local guys getting out of umpiring that just needed a little cleaning and they were ready to go.  I've heard of other guys finding Nike masks for $10 and so on.   Sure, it doesn't happen every time - or even every year - but you may get lucky and save a bundle!

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Another Facebook option is a group that "waffles" umpire equipment on Facebook.

Basically, you pay in a small amount (say $5-15 depending on the waffle) and you enter into a small raffle to win gear.

I have seen things like a West Vest on there go for as little as $10 in a 15 person waffle.

Mind you... I have never participated. But is seems like a heck of a deal.

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I would suggest the Douglas CP. Mine is an older Douglas, but I imagine it hasn't changed in design other than aesthetically. Also, if you get chance to get a Nike Titanium, I highly recommend it. But it's preference and may take some trying on gear to find what fits and what you like.

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@LoneBlueStar, highly recommend ordering from a site like Ump-Attire.com. Especially since, with the amount you are spending, you would qualify for free shipping.

But a bunch of stuff. Free returns for anything you don't like or want.

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@BT_Blue I will certainly order off Ump Attire, been hearing great things.

As to the other stuff, thanks for the input! I looked at the CPs and the masks y'all have suggested during lunch and I am really liking the Schutt CPs and the Diamond BL Mask.

Unfortunately, most of the people selling used gear in my area are actually aware of its value! :)

-LBS

 

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If you can swing it... order the Champion as well. Then return the one you don't like.

The yoke system on the Schutt land be odd and not fit as well. Hence the reason for the MadMax mod.

However, what ever one you choose. Purchase a flex style harness. In particular, the one that @Razzer sells. Personalization is included in the price.

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On 2/14/2018 at 12:35 PM, LoneBlueStar said:

 

... and I am really liking the Schutt CPs and the Diamond BL Mask.

The Schutt XV and Champion P2xx are the budget-busters of their class. Hardshell, compact, and using advanced foam jackets to achieve equitable protection with minimal bulk. The Schutt is better ventilated, and is using the more advanced foam (called D3O), but comes with a wretched Y-yoke harness (hence why you need this mod inspired by some guy named MadMax; or, wait for or locate the Adams XV version), and is one-size fits most (13” tall), but does include an attachable 4” D3O extension. The Champion is available in three different torso lengths (P200 = 17”, P210 = 15”, P220 = 13”), and the harness, while simple and basic, is easily replaceable with a Flex -style harness (ULFH RayFlex, All-Star DeltaFlex, Force3 NewFlex).

In regards to the masks, the Diamond iX3 family is top-notch. Diamond went all-in on aluminum, which is a tremendous benefit and value to amateur-level umpires. Only recently has Wilson wised up to this and is offering their iconic DynaLite planform in an aluminum version. Aluminum doesn’t bend, unless there is constant load applied to it in an unplanned direction. In the masks, the welds are more likely to break (pop) under a tremendous or sudden impact than for the bars to bend. Why is this advantageous to Wilson and Diamond? Because a bent mask is a customer service / warranty return issue, whether it be steel or titanium (which both do bend, albeit from differing load forces). And of course, aluminum is cheaper than titanium but just as light.

Within the Diamond iX3 family, though, the only differences between the DFM-iX3, DFM-UMP, and DFM-UMP-BL are cosmetic – the frames are all the same. A semi-gloss paint job was applied to the DFM-iX3, while the BL version gets a matte black or clear anodized finish. The BL is the only one that has even remotely useable pads, as they are twice the volume (thickness) of the pathetic pads on the original iX3 and basic UMP. If, however, you are already considering advanced pads (and you should), such as Team Wendy’s or Wilson MemoryFoams, you can save yourself the premium price tag of the BL and get a “lesser” model and switch out the pads. Or, if this explanation just prompts you to snatch up a Wilson DynaLite Aluminum with MemoryFoam pads, go for it.

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On 2/14/2018 at 8:21 AM, wolfe_man said:

Main thing is, buy gear that will last and you can move up with.  It's no fun having to go 2 weeks between gear purchases and then not having much value left in the old stuff. Buy good gear and it will either last you - or you have a little value to swap if you prefer something else. 

There-I fixed it for you!  :D

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