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cyberBob35

My starter kit - need to decide on shins

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I'm starting my first year of umpiring.  I will be doing baseball from 8U through high school and softball from 8U to 18U.  A mix of rec, travel ball, and everything in between.  After reading this forum for months I finally ordered some equipment.  At times I felt like I had analysis paralysis as I looked at so much equipment and changed my mind a million times.  Any way, here is what I settled on.  Would love feedback, suggestions, or ideas.  I still need to get some accessories (ball bags, counter, etc.)

Diamond Big League mask with leather pads - I seemed to struggle to find the right mask.  My budget didn't allow for a force3 or super high end, but I also didn't want to go barebones.  I'm hoping I found the middle with this mask.  

Schutt XV HDX chest protector - This was a last minute decision.  I was looking at the original Schutt but didn't want to deal with the harness issues.  Even though I liked the cp.  I was going to buy the Champion hard shell, but when I went to ump-attire.com to order they had the new Schutt.  I ordered it and figured I'll send it back for the Champion if I don't like it.  

Nutty Buddy - Enough said, although very hard to find in-stock

Shin guards - I'm wavering here and not sure what I want to do.  I know all the recommendations are for the force3.  Ump Attire didn't have the 16.5 in stock so I held off getting any shin guards.  I get conflicting advice.  Some umpires in our associate claim I don't need to spend that much for shins to start.   Maybe I save some money and get something else until I start working some games.

Anyway, thank you all for your participation on this board.  I've learned a lot from reading everyone's post.  It's great that everyone is willing to share so much information to help others.

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1 hour ago, cyberBob35 said:

I'm starting my first year of umpiring.  I will be doing baseball from 8U through high school and softball from 8U to 18U.  A mix of rec, travel ball, and everything in between.  After reading this forum for months I finally ordered some equipment.  At times I felt like I had analysis paralysis as I looked at so much equipment and changed my mind a million times.  Any way, here is what I settled on.  Would love feedback, suggestions, or ideas.  I still need to get some accessories (ball bags, counter, etc.)

Diamond Big League mask with leather pads - I seemed to struggle to find the right mask.  My budget didn't allow for a force3 or super high end, but I also didn't want to go barebones.  I'm hoping I found the middle with this mask.  

Schutt XV HDX chest protector - This was a last minute decision.  I was looking at the original Schutt but didn't want to deal with the harness issues.  Even though I liked the cp.  I was going to buy the Champion hard shell, but when I went to ump-attire.com to order they had the new Schutt.  I ordered it and figured I'll send it back for the Champion if I don't like it.  

Nutty Buddy - Enough said, although very hard to find in-stock

Shin guards - I'm wavering here and not sure what I want to do.  I know all the recommendations are for the force3.  Ump Attire didn't have the 16.5 in stock so I held off getting any shin guards.  I get conflicting advice.  Some umpires in our associate claim I don't need to spend that much for shins to start.   Maybe I save some money and get something else until I start working some games.

Anyway, thank you all for your participation on this board.  I've learned a lot from reading everyone's post.  It's great that everyone is willing to share so much information to help others.

With the ball you'll probably working you're going to see a lot of suckie catching.  You're going to most likely take a beating.  They're your legs.  I'd protect them.

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1 hour ago, cyberBob35 said:

I'm starting my first year of umpiring.  I will be doing baseball from 8U through high school and softball from 8U to 18U.

Diamond Big League mask with leather pads - I seemed to struggle to find the right mask.  My budget didn't allow for a force3 or super high end, but I also didn't want to go barebones.  I'm hoping I found the middle with this mask.  

Schutt XV HDX chest protector - This was a last minute decision.  I was looking at the original Schutt but didn't want to deal with the harness issues.  Even though I liked the cp.  I was going to buy the Champion hard shell, but when I went to ump-attire.com to order they had the new Schutt.  I ordered it and figured I'll send it back for the Champion if I don't like it.  

Nutty Buddy - Enough said, although very hard to find in-stock

Shin guards - I'm wavering here and not sure what I want to do.  I know all the recommendations are for the force3.  Ump Attire didn't have the 16.5 in stock so I held off getting any shin guards.  I get conflicting advice.  Some umpires in our associate claim I don't need to spend that much for shins to start.   Maybe I save some money and get something else until I start working some games.

Anyway, thank you all for your participation on this board.  I've learned a lot from reading everyone's post.  It's great that everyone is willing to share so much information to help others.

The first mask you purchase is usually the most difficult to decide upon. With any of the models that get listed here on U-E and are available at any of the online sources, you really can't go wrong. The Force3 Defender is excellent, but it is an investment, and may be overkill for what you're doing. There are two approaches to this: 1) Get inexpensive masks that will bend when overwhelmed, teamed with really top-notch pads, or 2) Get a top-notch mask that won't bend and functional pads that won't get you killed. I favor Approach 1, while many other of our fellow umpires favor Approach 2. Both are valid. The Diamond DFM-iX3 genuinely is that top-notch mask... it's just that for the first few years, the pathetic pads would have got ya' killed. Those on the Big League, at twice the volume, should work adequately.

How fortuitous for you. Not only does the new XV-HDX have the anchor points to mount a Flex-style harness incredibly easy (thereby eliminating my MadMaxMod, and taking away a significant piece of my self-worth), but it also comes with what amounts to be a Flex-style harness (Ray's ULFH RayFlex is still better). I myself don't like dealing with the harness issue, and I'm the one that kinda mastered the mod! The margin of difference between the Schutt-Adams XV and the Champion just whittled down now to two factors – ventilation and width / breadth. The XV has those massive 10mm holes in it, reducing weight and allowing for outstanding ventilation, while the Champion P2xx is, itself, narrower and slimmer. The XV also has the "tummy apron" extension, comprised of blocks of Schutt's D3O padding. If you do need to use this extension, this is going to result in a better overall fit of the CP instead of getting a taller torso unit (such as a 17" P200). 

Did you get a Nutty Buddy Flex? That's the only way to... fly (? I guess).

This is such a pickle. Once you get the Force3 Ultimates (or really, any other top-notch shinguard of any clout, such as the Douglas or All-Star models), two things will strike you: 1) Just how enormously comfortable and protective they feel, and how natural and nimble you seem to be with them on, and 2) What took you so long in purchasing them in the first place?? Available funds are a very real, valid impedance, but as we know, it takes money to make money, right? So here's what I would suggest – either hold out and scrimp and save and get the Ultimates from an online retailer who has a set on a shelf (while Force3 and Ump-Attire have them on backorder) now, or consider / try the All-Star System 7's (or similar models), or get something that will hold up for the interim and that you can regard as spares or sell-off-to-another-umpire later, once you're able to get the Ultimates. Perhaps those Diamond Featherweights or Champro models from Ump-Attire, or the Honig's K10 Collegiates, or All-Star LP1's might fit the bill and budget for you. You did mention you're going to call softball too, right? Yes, you get in the shins just as frequently (even more so, likely) in softball, but the complexity and cost of the top-notch guards such as the Ultimates and System 7's and the Douglas models is lost. Having a second set that can be used for softball is not a bad thing.

You did buy plate shoes, did you not?

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9 minutes ago, MadMax said:

The first mask you purchase is usually the most difficult to decide upon. With any of the models that get listed here on U-E and are available at any of the online sources, you really can't go wrong. The Force3 Defender is excellent, but it is an investment, and may be overkill for what you're doing. There are two approaches to this: 1) Get inexpensive masks that will bend when overwhelmed, teamed with really top-notch pads, or 2) Get a top-notch mask that won't bend and functional pads that won't get you killed. I favor Approach 1, while many other of our fellow umpires favor Approach 2. Both are valid. The Diamond DFM-iX3 genuinely is that top-notch mask... it's just that for the first few years, the pathetic pads would have got ya' killed. Those on the Big League, at twice the volume, should work adequately.

How fortuitous for you. Not only does the new XV-HDX have the anchor points to mount a Flex-style harness incredibly easy (thereby eliminating my MadMaxMod, and taking away a significant piece of my self-worth), but it also comes with what amounts to be a Flex-style harness (Ray's ULFH RayFlex is still better). I myself don't like dealing with the harness issue, and I'm the one that kinda mastered the mod! The margin of difference between the Schutt-Adams XV and the Champion just whittled down now to two factors – ventilation and width / breadth. The XV has those massive 10mm holes in it, reducing weight and allowing for outstanding ventilation, while the Champion P2xx is, itself, narrower and slimmer. The XV also has the "tummy apron" extension, comprised of blocks of Schutt's D3O padding. If you do need to use this extension, this is going to result in a better overall fit of the CP instead of getting a taller torso unit (such as a 17" P200). 

Did you get a Nutty Buddy Flex? That's the only way to... fly (? I guess).

This is such a pickle. Once you get the Force3 Ultimates (or really, any other top-notch shinguard of any clout, such as the Douglas or All-Star models), two things will strike you: 1) Just how enormously comfortable and protective they feel, and how natural and nimble you seem to be with them on, and 2) What took you so long in purchasing them in the first place?? Available funds are a very real, valid impedance, but as we know, it takes money to make money, right? So here's what I would suggest – either hold out and scrimp and save and get the Ultimates from an online retailer who has a set on a shelf (while Force3 and Ump-Attire have them on backorder) now, or consider / try the All-Star System 7's (or similar models), or get something that will hold up for the interim and that you can regard as spares or sell-off-to-another-umpire later, once you're able to get the Ultimates. Perhaps those Diamond Featherweights or Champro models from Ump-Attire, or the Honig's K10 Collegiates, or All-Star LP1's might fit the bill and budget for you. You did mention you're going to call softball too, right? Yes, you get in the shins just as frequently (even more so, likely) in softball, but the complexity and cost of the top-notch guards such as the Ultimates and System 7's and the Douglas models is lost. Having a second set that can be used for softball is not a bad thing.

You did buy plate shoes, did you not?

Th All Star system 7's are excellent and light shin guards as well.  The Wilson Platinums at $89.99 look to be a pretty good deal, with fantastic protection, and can be used at any level ball.  Unless you decide you want to buy something that costs more later on these might fit the bill.  Dave mentioned shoes.  There are a lot to choose from and my recommendation would be to find a pair of New Balance 460 plate shoes on the cheap. You'll have to spend some time online looking for them, but you can probably find them at a very discounted price.

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Thank you everyone.  The opinions and insight are great.

I think I'm going to go with the Force3 shin guards.  I feel like I did a decent job of getting good, quality equipment to start with so why skimp now on the last piece.

I did buy plate shoes.  They are actually going to be the first thing to arrive.  I got the New Balance 460v3 in all black.

 

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You won't regret your purchase decision and doubtful you will ever need to buy another set of shinguards.  If, per chance, you don't like or want them you can resell them very quickly here in the equipment for sale forum.

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May you blessed in your career. I think you will be, as you've sought counsel from guys that have the experience and wisdom to know. 

Keep doing that, not just with equipment, but with EVERYTHING. 

You will get alot of advice, and it won't all be good. So be charitable and gracious, but don't hold on to anything to tightly unless it comes from guys that still trying to grow. 

For my part, I found that college umpires, and high level HS umpires that are STILL training and learning are the best guys to take advice from. However, there's exceptions to this as there is to most things. 

Read, practice, ask questions, and verify the answers. 

And HAVE FUN!!! 

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