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The1yankee

Anybody got a quality mask harness at a good price for an all-star fm25 mask

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Pardon me, @wolfe_man, but you knew I was hovering around, waiting to descend and comment upon a topic like this (tech-speak carpet bomb it, yo!)...

Yes, at one time, the Wilson WTA3007 and the Nike Icon in Steel looked eerily the same. Of course, the Icon was famously commissioned by and for Jorge Posada, and was executed in Titanium. That planform was further executed in Steel, and set the standard for all other single-wire masks. Because steel corrodes, though, it needs to be painted; because paint doesn’t molecularly bond to steel – such as it does with the powdercoat process – it merely clings to the surface and can be (and does get) knocked off easily by pitched or foul ball impacts... or when a catcher drops or flings his mask to the ground... or chucks it into the dugout bench in disgust... or drops his gear bag, with the mask in the bottom, onto the hard concrete, asphalt, or bus body.

Powdercoating is a rather involved process, and does add some specific steps and cost to the overall process. Vinyl dipping, by contrast, is a barbaric, cheap-as-hell process and something that the sports equipment industry has relied upon for decades. When you burn away vinyl dip from masks, I equate it to burning / washing away past sins.

Silvers and greys really came into their own as the novelty factor of the Nike Icon Titanium seeped into baseball. You can’t dip that metallic finish. Soon, Wilson was rolling out their own version of a titanium mask (to partner up with the WestVest Platinum), as were All-Star and Rawlings. And, any time there are premium masks at $200+, the cheaper steel lookalikes and knockoffs are not far behind.

As far as the pads go, @The1yankee, pad technology hasn’t changed much in the last 100-or-so years (it really needs to). Sure, in the past 10-15 years, with the advent of microfibers – which can wick sweat away, resist abrasion, and can mitigate bacterial infestations – we’ve seen a challenger to leather, but there are still those who prefer (or tolerate more) the feel of leather on their face. Bi-color pads were introduced to showcase that the segment touching your face was, in fact, real leather and not the cheap, pathetic vinyl that companies would utilize to save costs. Indeed, for some time, tan was a color that vinyl just could not properly replicate (it looked really plastic-y, fake, and would lack the variation that organic leather naturally has). Because real leather pads involve organic leather, there is another organic material in the pads, acting as wadding or a shape layer – wool. Wool is a truly remarkable material, for it serves other purposes in the pad, but it does add a degree of energy absorption above which just raw foam provides. It does, however, add weight and bulk – which aren’t bad for a mask that needs to protect against a 95mph projectile striking it, but not the expected heft that a $200 mask is.

Wilson identified that leather pads, with their imprecise shapes and propensity to shrink, would often leave parts of the mask exposed and potentially able to contact the wearer’s face during an impact. For this reason, they developed the Wraparound line of pads, wherein the mask bars are encased in leather, thus lessening the blunt, localized impact of steel-upon-tissue.

So, there are vinyl pads, and leather pads, and microfiber pads, all using a foam core, encased in a liner jacket of wool or visquine or a synthetic liner of some such...

... and then there are Team Wendy’s.

Team Wendy’s is a company built around one purpose – to reduce or eliminate Traumatic Brain Injuries. To that end, they developed a highly advanced (now patented) type of memory foam called Zorbium. It is exceptionally dense, with a slow crush speed and slow rebound speed. Because of their focus on headgear, Team Wendy’s has limited time, attention and resources to mask pads (and, unfortunately, to chest protectors) and can only offer them in black or tan.

Perhaps the only flaw or shortcoming with Team Wendy’s pads is, oddly enough, in regards to climate – when the ambient temperature is on the chilly side, the pads can get rock hard. This tendency also materializes after prolonged use and the salt – from your sweat – crystallizes within/upon the foam. Laundering the pads (use a soap or tech wash, please!) helps resolve both problems. Back in Wisconsin, I would keep my mask indoors instead of in my gear bag until just before travel time, or would even go so far as to microwave the pads (off the frame!) prior to travel time if the game day temperature was... brisk.

This isn’t to say that the other synthetic pads on the market are crap. Unlike TW’s, though, they have to achieve equitable energy absorption by volume (thickness). All-Star, +POS, and Easton (among others) make synthetic pads that are not only light, but provide excellent stand-off distance, and in a variety of colors. I use All-Star LUC pads on my Navy-rigged mask, while I’ve supplied +POS “AirFoam” pads to several umpire colleagues here in the Phoenix Valley (and I actually like these guys, so I’m not going to give/sell them garbage). I’ve also used the synthetic pads from Easton on their Speed Elite (one of the best masks no one’s ever heard about), and they work quite well.

Microfiber pads get a bad rap because, for catchers, they get trashed after being tossed on the ground. An umpire’s mask should never touch the ground (so shame on you bozos who toss your mask on the ground so as to conduct the plate meeting)! Also, some cheaper microfiber pads catch face stubble (ouch!). I will never pooh-pooh an umpire for preferring leather over microfiber or vice versa, but my role is to simply explain and inform, and kick ignorance’s ass when it appears.

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21 hours ago, MadMax said:

Pardon me, @wolfe_man, but you knew I was hovering around, waiting to descend and comment upon a topic like this (tech-speak carpet bomb it, yo!)...

Yes, at one time, the Wilson WTA3007 and the Nike Icon in Steel looked eerily the same. Of course, the Icon was famously commissioned by and for Jorge Posada, and was executed in Titanium. That planform was further executed in Steel, and set the standard for all other single-wire masks. Because steel corrodes, though, it needs to be painted; because paint doesn’t molecularly bond to steel – such as it does with the powdercoat process – it merely clings to the surface and can be (and does get) knocked off easily by pitched or foul ball impacts... or when a catcher drops or flings his mask to the ground... or chucks it into the dugout bench in disgust... or drops his gear bag, with the mask in the bottom, onto the hard concrete, asphalt, or bus body.

Powdercoating is a rather involved process, and does add some specific steps and cost to the overall process. Vinyl dipping, by contrast, is a barbaric, cheap-as-hell process and something that the sports equipment industry has relied upon for decades. When you burn away vinyl dip from masks, I equate it to burning / washing away past sins.

Silvers and greys really came into their own as the novelty factor of the Nike Icon Titanium seeped into baseball. You can’t dip that metallic finish. Soon, Wilson was rolling out their own version of a titanium mask (to partner up with the WestVest Platinum), as were All-Star and Rawlings. And, any time there are premium masks at $200+, the cheaper steel lookalikes and knockoffs are not far behind.

As far as the pads go, @The1yankee, pad technology hasn’t changed much in the last 100-or-so years (it really needs to). Sure, in the past 10-15 years, with the advent of microfibers – which can wick sweat away, resist abrasion, and can mitigate bacterial infestations – we’ve seen a challenger to leather, but there are still those who prefer (or tolerate more) the feel of leather on their face. Bi-color pads were introduced to showcase that the segment touching your face was, in fact, real leather and not the cheap, pathetic vinyl that companies would utilize to save costs. Indeed, for some time, tan was a color that vinyl just could not properly replicate (it looked really plastic-y, fake, and would lack the variation that organic leather naturally has). Because real leather pads involve organic leather, there is another organic material in the pads, acting as wadding or a shape layer – wool. Wool is a truly remarkable material, for it serves other purposes in the pad, but it does add a degree of energy absorption above which just raw foam provides. It does, however, add weight and bulk – which aren’t bad for a mask that needs to protect against a 95mph projectile striking it, but not the expected heft that a $200 mask is.

Wilson identified that leather pads, with their imprecise shapes and propensity to shrink, would often leave parts of the mask exposed and potentially able to contact the wearer’s face during an impact. For this reason, they developed the Wraparound line of pads, wherein the mask bars are encased in leather, thus lessening the blunt, localized impact of steel-upon-tissue.

So, there are vinyl pads, and leather pads, and microfiber pads, all using a foam core, encased in a liner jacket of wool or visquine or a synthetic liner of some such...

... and then there are Team Wendy’s.

Team Wendy’s is a company built around one purpose – to reduce or eliminate Traumatic Brain Injuries. To that end, they developed a highly advanced (now patented) type of memory foam called Zorbium. It is exceptionally dense, with a slow crush speed and slow rebound speed. Because of their focus on headgear, Team Wendy’s has limited time, attention and resources to mask pads (and, unfortunately, to chest protectors) and can only offer them in black or tan.

Perhaps the only flaw or shortcoming with Team Wendy’s pads is, oddly enough, in regards to climate – when the ambient temperature is on the chilly side, the pads can get rock hard. This tendency also materializes after prolonged use and the salt – from your sweat – crystallizes within/upon the foam. Laundering the pads (use a soap or tech wash, please!) helps resolve both problems. Back in Wisconsin, I would keep my mask indoors instead of in my gear bag until just before travel time, or would even go so far as to microwave the pads (off the frame!) prior to travel time if the game day temperature was... brisk.

This isn’t to say that the other synthetic pads on the market are crap. Unlike TW’s, though, they have to achieve equitable energy absorption by volume (thickness). All-Star, +POS, and Easton (among others) make synthetic pads that are not only light, but provide excellent stand-off distance, and in a variety of colors. I use All-Star LUC pads on my Navy-rigged mask, while I’ve supplied +POS “AirFoam” pads to several umpire colleagues here in the Phoenix Valley (and I actually like these guys, so I’m not going to give/sell them garbage). I’ve also used the synthetic pads from Easton on their Speed Elite (one of the best masks no one’s ever heard about), and they work quite well.

Microfiber pads get a bad rap because, for catchers, they get trashed after being tossed on the ground. An umpire’s mask should never touch the ground (so shame on you bozos who toss your mask on the ground so as to conduct the plate meeting)! Also, some cheaper microfiber pads catch face stubble (ouch!). I will never pooh-pooh an umpire for preferring leather over microfiber or vice versa, but my role is to simply explain and inform, and kick ignorance’s ass when it appears

Thanks

I wonder if TW recognized the issue of salt content in pads altering protection, 

And recommended for troops issued TW padded helmets, to wash pads with a soap that will take out the salt, therefore allowing pads to work at maximum efficiency.

Be interesting to know what TW, R & D TEAM, has to say regarding the salt thru perspiration issue

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