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BT_Blue

New masks for old MLB umpires

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Starting to notice guys moving away from the Big Yellow W masks to new ones. We know about Winters and Wegner going Force3 in the last year or two. And Hallion going Force3 at the end of the year. Also, famously, Hunter wearing the All Star Magnesium last year too.

Now O'Nora is rocking the Force3, Everett (as we are all aware) getting that horrible hit with the All Star Mag, and today Jim Wolf had the All Star hollow steel in today's Indians-Mariners tilt.

Would be interesting to see if anyone else has noticed anyone else going with a new rig this season?

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40 minutes ago, jwclubbie said:

@BT_Blue, are you sure Wolf had hollow steel? I was just looking it up, and could not tell myself. I thought it was so ugly I may get one myself lol.

 

1 hour ago, BT_Blue said:

Starting to notice guys moving away from the Big Yellow W masks to new ones. We know about Winters and Wegner going Force3 in the last year or two. And Hallion going Force3 at the end of the year. Also, famously, Hunter wearing the All Star Magnesium last year too.

Now O'Nora is rocking the Force3, Everett (as we are all aware) getting that horrible hit with the All Star Mag, and today Jim Wolf had the All Star hollow steel in today's Indians-Mariners tilt.

Would be interesting to see if anyone else has noticed anyone else going with a new rig this season?

I think my boy Jimbo is rocking the magnesium colored black.

02B79700-F61A-4489-9708-C7552D160C3E.jpeg

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58 minutes ago, jwclubbie said:

@BT_Blue, are you sure Wolf had hollow steel? I was just looking it up, and could not tell myself. I thought it was so ugly I may get one myself lol.

@sd181612 and @jwclubbie are right, @BT_Blue (Arik)... Wolf is wearing the black-cast FM4000MAG. You can see the telltale fill tabs on the ear guards. I watched some snippets from today's Indians vs. Mariners game, and those fill tabs are immediately recognizable.

#EvolveOrExpire, Wilson. The end is coming for you... you've had 15+ years to improve.

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1 hour ago, MadMax said:

@sd181612 and @jwclubbie are right, @BT_Blue (Arik)... Wolf is wearing the black-cast FM4000MAG. You can see the telltale fill tabs on the ear guards. I watched some snippets from today's Indians vs. Mariners game, and those fill tabs are immediately recognizable.

#EvolveOrExpire, Wilson. The end is coming for you... you've had 15+ years to improve.

Where can you get one of those black ones?

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2 minutes ago, umpstu said:

Where can you get one of those black ones?

I don’t know if they come stock like that. It’s probably powder coated 

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5 minutes ago, tpatience said:

I don’t know if they come stock like that. It’s probably powder coated 

Probably correct.  Can't seem to locate one anywhere.

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1 minute ago, tpatience said:

I don’t know if they come stock like that. It’s probably powder coated 

Probably not, Trevor. As Tony (at MaskIt) has imparted to us, powder coating and magnesium is dangerous because of the volatility of magnesium to catch fire. The powder coating process involves electrical current and a lot of heat...

No, these are more likely cast in black. To confirm, all I (or someone else) would need to do is look at the injection "navels" on the rear wall of either fill tab. Oh yeah, they're there ( @Stk004 can confirm this much). All-Star is probably (hopefully!) doing these domestically, and they're being produced in carefully controlled batches (instead of handing them off to a Chinese mass-production outfit, are you reading this Wilson?). Because they're near-unbreakable, there's little need of overproduction on the run so as to produce surplus inventory. The black ones have been a quiet, careful, focused move by All-Star to knock Wilson further off its perch and perilously closer to irrelevance. We likely won't see black FM4000MAGs in any purchasable form, much like the Majestic 2016 Panel long-sleeve shirts, at least not until next year when All-Star's business-partner UnderArmour rolls onto the scene. 

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And I’ve also been noticing something interesting with the guys wearing plate coats. They have been blacking out the Ws on their WV golds. Hamari, Everitt, Holbrook and even Joe West. 

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8 minutes ago, MadMax said:

Probably not, Trevor. As Tony (at MaskIt) has imparted to us, powder coating and magnesium is dangerous because of the volatility of magnesium to catch fire. The powder coating process involves electrical current and a lot of heat...

No, these are more likely cast in black. To confirm, all I (or someone else) would need to do is look at the injection "navels" on the rear wall of either fill tab. Oh yeah, they're there ( @Stk004 can confirm this much). All-Star is probably (hopefully!) doing these domestically, and they're being produced in carefully controlled batches (instead of handing them off to a Chinese mass-production outfit, are you reading this Wilson?). Because they're near-unbreakable, there's little need of overproduction on the run so as to produce surplus inventory. The black ones have been a quiet, careful, focused move by All-Star to knock Wilson further off its perch and perilously closer to irrelevance. We likely won't see black FM4000MAGs in any purchasable form, much like the Majestic 2016 Panel long-sleeve shirts, at least not until next year when All-Star's business-partner UnderArmour rolls onto the scene. 

I forgot that mags can’t be powder coated. Thank you 

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Is there any "safe" way to get these black instead of powder coating, and actually look good? Do be honest, the injection areas look like lead tape on the back of a golf club. I may opt for the steel version and powder coat.

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12 hours ago, MadMax said:

@sd181612 and @jwclubbie are right, @BT_Blue (Arik)... Wolf is wearing the black-cast FM4000MAG. You can see the telltale fill tabs on the ear guards. I watched some snippets from today's Indians vs. Mariners game, and those fill tabs are immediately recognizable.

#EvolveOrExpire, Wilson. The end is coming for you... you've had 15+ years to improve.

Tried to look for them and couldn't see them which is why I thought hollow steel.

10 hours ago, tpatience said:

And I’ve also been noticing something interesting with the guys wearing plate coats. They have been blacking out the Ws on their WV golds. Hamari, Everitt, Holbrook and even Joe West. 

Add Wolf to that list putting his sleeve number over his.

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8 minutes ago, BT_Blue said:

Tried to look for them and couldn't see them which is why I thought hollow steel.

Add Wolf to that list putting his sleeve number over his.

Well, he does that on his Power. I think he’s done that for a while

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3 hours ago, tpatience said:

Well, he does that on his Power. I think he’s done that for a while

He also did it on his Douglas. Hope you guys don’t mind this, but I’m going to call myself the “Wolfee connoisseur” from now on...:D

A7C29C1B-20BE-469E-A727-913EE2E89067.jpeg

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On 4/1/2018 at 9:15 PM, MadMax said:

Probably not, Trevor. As Tony (at MaskIt) has imparted to us, powder coating and magnesium is dangerous because of the volatility of magnesium to catch fire. The powder coating process involves electrical current and a lot of heat...

No, these are more likely cast in black. To confirm, all I (or someone else) would need to do is look at the injection "navels" on the rear wall of either fill tab. Oh yeah, they're there ( @Stk004 can confirm this much). All-Star is probably (hopefully!) doing these domestically, and they're being produced in carefully controlled batches (instead of handing them off to a Chinese mass-production outfit, are you reading this Wilson?). Because they're near-unbreakable, there's little need of overproduction on the run so as to produce surplus inventory. The black ones have been a quiet, careful, focused move by All-Star to knock Wilson further off its perch and perilously closer to irrelevance. We likely won't see black FM4000MAGs in any purchasable form, much like the Majestic 2016 Panel long-sleeve shirts, at least not until next year when All-Star's business-partner UnderArmour rolls onto the scene. 

Keep this is mind when answering this question, I own one piece of equipment from Wilson and that is a titanium mask.  I like this mask, but the All Star magnesium looks very appealing to me.  Now for the question.  Why the hate of Wilson so much?  Seems to be some very good equipment from a safety standpoint.

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16 minutes ago, umpstu said:

Keep this is mind when answering this question, I own one piece of equipment from Wilson and that is a titanium mask.  I like this mask, but the All Star magnesium looks very appealing to me.  Now for the question.  Why the hate of Wilson so much?  Seems to be some very good equipment from a safety standpoint.

Be ready for a thorough answer from @MadMax

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3 minutes ago, tpatience said:

Be ready for a thorough answer from @MadMax

I know, right.  That may be, but I do love MadMax posts.  He's about the most informative and entertaining person on this site.  I'm close to pulling the trigger on one of these All Star magnesium masks from Lesters.  Can get it for $290 delivered.  And I am a gear whore for sure.

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Well @sd181612‘s inquiry-response sure is grounds for excitement, eh? Way to track that down, Seb.

If there’s anything I push, @tpatience, it’s word counts... and peoples’ patience In reading. I guess the one saving grace is I’m an umpire of very few words during a game (and this includes plate meeting!). But afterwards? If you get me on a roll, we may need a couple beers...

Alright @umpstu, here we go... thank you for the kind words, and I’ll answer your very valid question as directly as I can, but I’ll try to relate it to masks (which is what the OP is obviously about) as much as possible.

Why do you have a Wilson DynaLite Titanium? From what I’ve been able to research, there are five titanium masks on the baseball landscape. The originator of the species, the Nike “Icon” (my name for that planform, because it is so iconic) set the standard, followed on by Wilson, Rawlings and All-Star. The fifth is a Mizuno (of Japan) product, and due to trade and import contracts (imposed by Wilson, Rawlings, et.al. of the NA companies), cannot be sold here in North America. Of the remaining four, the All-Star is designed almost wholly for catchers, with its double-wire eyeport, half-sphere profile, and oversized, rectangular ear guards. That leaves three, and of those, which  was designed for umpires? Well, again, none of them were intended for umpires specifically when they were developed, but I will admit that the Wilson Titanium was designed with umpires in mind, but that was more of a countering reaction to the upswell in popularity the Nike Icon received.

The Nike Icon really turned the baseball world on its ear... er... head. Jorge Posada was a Yankee, sponsored by Nike, and was the epitome of class, cool, and a winner. Catchers throughout the ranks wanted to imitate him (and still do now) with his propping of his mask atop his head... without a dangling throat guard in his face. Its single wire construction and low, wedge-shaped profile afforded great visibility while the remarkable low-weight meant it could be worn or shed with ease. More than a fair share of umpires, spending as much time in contact with catchers as they do, got a chance to try out the Nike Icon firsthand. Soon, a substantial number of catchers and umpires alike were seeking out the titanium mask, which would supplied to them by Nike reps and connections (supplied, not sold – there’s a critical difference).

There were some features on the Nike that were, at the time, unique to the baseball landscape. One was the lengthened, rake-less extended chin guard (AKA “throat guard”, but that label was to satisfy the college rule). Another was the gel-foam pads, fabric-lined with Dri-FIT. Up until then, the standard for mask pads were foam-&-wool -stuffed leather pads. Leather could hold up against the constant abrasion and punishment wearers would dole out. Leather could be conditioned, was reasonably soft, but could endure being dropped into dirt, sand, mud, chalk, or concrete. It may get scuffed, but that would “add character” and you’d wipe it off and you’re good to go. But here were these new, fabric-encased pads, comprised of advanced foams. The protective possibilities! But, there was no way (at the time) that pads like that would hold up to the punishment amateur catchers would exact upon them. That fabric would start to break down or come apart at the seams, and we’ve got users /customers who grudgingly are forced to buy new ones, or return them because they “didn’t meet expectations”.

And most common users treat mask and pads as a combined unit, don’t they?

This segues into what truly brought the era of the titanium mask to its nadir; not for a shortfall of performance or protection, but for a failure of customer service.

Remember how we emphasized that Nike supplied the Icon instead of sold it? That not only creates an air of exclusivity and preeminence, but more importantly, constrains product and warranty support to a very defined, containable segment. If a Nike Titanium Icon bends or (heavens forbid) breaks, do you call up Nike Customer Service and negotiate a return or refund? Uhhh... kinda can’t, because you didn’t actually purchase it from Nike. Instead, you contact your supplying agent, who may or may not be able to supply you with another one. If he (or she) can’t, while it may be saddening that you can no longer use that mask, are you out any money? No, not really. Is Nike? No, not really, because they likely made ten-fold off your use of the mask as an advertising object.

By contrast, Wilson sells the masks (and other equipment) to you. They (over)price it so as to pay off its development and all its peripheral costs, as well as to fund that ludicrous licensing-rights contract they have with MLB. Wilson outfits the masks in such a way so as to not protect you, but more to protect Wilson. They dread the customer service / warranty issue. If a $50, vinyl-dipped, leather-padded DynaLite bends, are you likely to claim a warranty issue? Possibly. But if you do, are they really going to be impacted by sending you another (cheaply made) $50 mask (which likely represents less than $10 in costs)? No, not at all. But if your $300 Titanium mask has a bend, or the pads split (or get discolored, even), you’ll be calling Wilson Customer Service faster than a double-play is turned. So why include super-modern, advanced pads on it if it’s likely to be the cause of a RMA? And then, if you do allow a RMA, you have to take a brand new mask – valued at $300 in your company ledgers – out of inventory and send it, with no additional profits, to a customer who is already disgruntled at the inconvenience!

See the nightmare for a company? But, do you also see in there the miserly, undermining attitude and focus on profits and the bottom line? The staunch refusal to invest in progression and development out of fear of financial risk? The compromises, nay, concessions made behind the scenes because we’re (as a market) deemed as not worth it?

This is why I hate Wilson.

Titanium was abandoned not because it is/was “unsafe”. It was because dealing with it, as a serviceable product, was eating into profits, and Wilson was unwilling to invest in the development and manufacturing of effective, quality pads. The same fate befell the Wilson Shock FX. This is doubly insulting to us as consumers because while the Shock FX had its faults, it was a highly effective design for umpires. Where it lost a tremendous amount of money for Wilson was for catchers. Most catchers were buying All-Stars, Eastons, and Mizunos (plucky Mizuno! Can’t we keep them out of North America?!), while those Shock FX’s that were getting sold we’re getting returned or replaced because the spring assemblies would break, jam, or fail... because amateur catchers would dump them on the ground repeatedly, and no coach or parent wants to arbitrarily repurchase a $200 helmet-mask! That shouldn’t break!

Why is this an issue? Well, isn’t Wilson supposed to be the Umpire’s company?

So, consider all this... extrapolate it across all masks, chest protectors, shinguards, or any other piece of protective equipment. Wilson has had the “exclusive supplier” contract with MLB(U) for over 15 years. What have they done for us??

Now, here’s where we tie this in to All-Star and magnesium masks (the FM4000MAG, specifically)... the reason Wilson abandoned titanium and embraced aluminum wasn’t because “it's better”. It’s that it, in mask form, is less likely to bend or break. And if it does, it represents less of an impact on the bottom line than “servicing” a titanium does. Aluminum, while not easily repairable (neither is titanium), is very recyclable. Most aluminum product fabrication is done in China (they have a staggeringly huge infrastructure for it), so they’re able to churn out an equally staggering number of masks, both to sell and to act as replacements. Greater quantities reduces costs, but should appear as lower prices, no? But hey, it’s a $110 super-lightweight, superstrong mask instead of a $250+ one, right?

But why isn’t this aluminum mask being targeted to catchers? Well, partly because the NFHS rules handicap the manufacturers to produce one-piece units (HSMs, et.al.), but more so because aluminum may be strong, but it too will succumb to breaking when being tossed on the ground, stepped on, beaten against a shinguard, stuffed in a gear bag and tossed into/out of a bus, or slammed into a dugout in disgust. And where do they break (most often)? The welds.

So, with that in mind, All-Star has embarked on its end-around strategy. It’s a progressive company. It thinks. It has developed an injection die-cast, weld-less mask design that has been already exhaustively tested and refined to be the strongest, yet lightest model they could with conventional methods. And, they’re sharing it between catchers and umpires. Is it perfected yet? No. It requires a very substantial set of pads, especially at the jaw, so as to provide the impact absorption and standoff distance that using magnesium demands. That set of pads isn’t quite thick enough at the forehead... yet... for an umpire.

... and that’s where something else has to change.

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6 hours ago, tpatience said:

Be ready for a thorough answer from @MadMax

You weren't kidding. This one might have set a record!

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6 hours ago, MadMax said:

Well @sd181612‘s inquiry-response sure is grounds for excitement, eh? Way to track that down, Seb.

If there’s anything I push, @tpatience, it’s word counts... and peoples’ patience In reading. I guess the one saving grace is I’m an umpire of very few words during a game (and this includes plate meeting!). But afterwards? If you get me on a roll, we may need a couple beers...

Alright @umpstu, here we go... thank you for the kind words, and I’ll answer your very valid question as directly as I can, but I’ll try to relate it to masks (which is what the OP is obviously about) as much as possible.

Why do you have a Wilson DynaLite Titanium? From what I’ve been able to research, there are five titanium masks on the baseball landscape. The originator of the species, the Nike “Icon” (my name for that planform, because it is so iconic) set the standard, followed on by Wilson, Rawlings and All-Star. The fifth is a Mizuno (of Japan) product, and due to trade and import contracts (imposed by Wilson, Rawlings, et.al. of the NA companies), cannot be sold here in North America. Of the remaining four, the All-Star is designed almost wholly for catchers, with its double-wire eyeport, half-sphere profile, and oversized, rectangular ear guards. That leaves three, and of those, which  was designed for umpires? Well, again, none of them were intended for umpires specifically when they were developed, but I will admit that the Wilson Titanium was designed with umpires in mind, but that was more of a countering reaction to the upswell in popularity the Nike Icon received.

The Nike Icon really turned the baseball world on its ear... er... head. Jorge Posada was a Yankee, sponsored by Nike, and was the epitome of class, cool, and a winner. Catchers throughout the ranks wanted to imitate him (and still do now) with his propping of his mask atop his head... without a dangling throat guard in his face. Its single wire construction and low, wedge-shaped profile afforded great visibility while the remarkable low-weight meant it could be worn or shed with ease. More than a fair share of umpires, spending as much time in contact with catchers as they do, got a chance to try out the Nike Icon firsthand. Soon, a substantial number of catchers and umpires alike were seeking out the titanium mask, which would supplied to them by Nike reps and connections (supplied, not sold – there’s a critical difference).

There were some features on the Nike that were, at the time, unique to the baseball landscape. One was the lengthened, rake-less extended chin guard (AKA “throat guard”, but that label was to satisfy the college rule). Another was the gel-foam pads, fabric-lined with Dri-FIT. Up until then, the standard for mask pads were foam-&-wool -stuffed leather pads. Leather could hold up against the constant abrasion and punishment wearers would dole out. Leather could be conditioned, was reasonably soft, but could endure being dropped into dirt, sand, mud, chalk, or concrete. It may get scuffed, but that would “add character” and you’d wipe it off and you’re good to go. But here were these new, fabric-encased pads, comprised of advanced foams. The protective possibilities! But, there was no way (at the time) that pads like that would hold up to the punishment amateur catchers would exact upon them. That fabric would start to break down or come apart at the seams, and we’ve got users /customers who grudgingly are forced to buy new ones, or return them because they “didn’t meet expectations”.

And most common users treat mask and pads as a combined unit, don’t they?

This segues into what truly brought the era of the titanium mask to its nadir; not for a shortfall of performance or protection, but for a failure of customer service.

Remember how we emphasized that Nike supplied the Icon instead of sold it? That not only creates an air of exclusivity and preeminence, but more importantly, constrains product and warranty support to a very defined, containable segment. If a Nike Titanium Icon bends or (heavens forbid) breaks, do you call up Nike Customer Service and negotiate a return or refund? Uhhh... kinda can’t, because you didn’t actually purchase it from Nike. Instead, you contact your supplying agent, who may or may not be able to supply you with another one. If he (or she) can’t, while it may be saddening that you can no longer use that mask, are you out any money? No, not really. Is Nike? No, not really, because they likely made ten-fold off your use of the mask as an advertising object.

By contrast, Wilson sells the masks (and other equipment) to you. They (over)price it so as to pay off its development and all its peripheral costs, as well as to fund that ludicrous licensing-rights contract they have with MLB. Wilson outfits the masks in such a way so as to not protect you, but more to protect Wilson. They dread the customer service / warranty issue. If a $50, vinyl-dipped, leather-padded DynaLite bends, are you likely to claim a warranty issue? Possibly. But if you do, are they really going to be impacted by sending you another (cheaply made) $50 mask (which likely represents less than $10 in costs)? No, not at all. But if your $300 Titanium mask has a bend, or the pads split (or get discolored, even), you’ll be calling Wilson Customer Service faster than a double-play is turned. So why include super-modern, advanced pads on it if it’s likely to be the cause of a RMA? And then, if you do allow a RMA, you have to take a brand new mask – valued at $300 in your company ledgers – out of inventory and send it, with no additional profits, to a customer who is already disgruntled at the inconvenience!

See the nightmare for a company? But, do you also see in there the miserly, undermining attitude and focus on profits and the bottom line? The staunch refusal to invest in progression and development out of fear of financial risk? The compromises, nay, concessions made behind the scenes because we’re (as a market) deemed as not worth it?

This is why I hate Wilson.

Titanium was abandoned not because it is/was “unsafe”. It was because dealing with it, as a serviceable product, was eating into profits, and Wilson was unwilling to invest in the development and manufacturing of effective, quality pads. The same fate befell the Wilson Shock FX. This is doubly insulting to us as consumers because while the Shock FX had its faults, it was a highly effective design for umpires. Where it lost a tremendous amount of money for Wilson was for catchers. Most catchers were buying All-Stars, Eastons, and Mizunos (plucky Mizuno! Can’t we keep them out of North America?!), while those Shock FX’s that were getting sold we’re getting returned or replaced because the spring assemblies would break, jam, or fail... because amateur catchers would dump them on the ground repeatedly, and no coach or parent wants to arbitrarily repurchase a $200 helmet-mask! That shouldn’t break!

Why is this an issue? Well, isn’t Wilson supposed to be the Umpire’s company?

So, consider all this... extrapolate it across all masks, chest protectors, shinguards, or any other piece of protective equipment. Wilson has had the “exclusive supplier” contract with MLB(U) for over 15 years. What have they done for us??

Now, here’s where we tie this in to All-Star and magnesium masks (the FM4000MAG, specifically)... the reason Wilson abandoned titanium and embraced aluminum wasn’t because “it's better”. It’s that it, in mask form, is less likely to bend or break. And if it does, it represents less of an impact on the bottom line than “servicing” a titanium does. Aluminum, while not easily repairable (neither is titanium), is very recyclable. Most aluminum product fabrication is done in China (they have a staggeringly huge infrastructure for it), so they’re able to churn out an equally staggering number of masks, both to sell and to act as replacements. Greater quantities reduces costs, but should appear as lower prices, no? But hey, it’s a $110 super-lightweight, superstrong mask instead of a $250+ one, right?

But why isn’t this aluminum mask being targeted to catchers? Well, partly because the NFHS rules handicap the manufacturers to produce one-piece units (HSMs, et.al.), but more so because aluminum may be strong, but it too will succumb to breaking when being tossed on the ground, stepped on, beaten against a shinguard, stuffed in a gear bag and tossed into/out of a bus, or slammed into a dugout in disgust. And where do they break (most often)? The welds.

So, with that in mind, All-Star has embarked on its end-around strategy. It’s a progressive company. It thinks. It has developed an injection die-cast, weld-less mask design that has been already exhaustively tested and refined to be the strongest, yet lightest model they could with conventional methods. And, they’re sharing it between catchers and umpires. Is it perfected yet? No. It requires a very substantial set of pads, especially at the jaw, so as to provide the impact absorption and standoff distance that using magnesium demands. That set of pads isn’t quite thick enough at the forehead... yet... for an umpire.

... and that’s where something else has to change.

Have you been able to play with one of the mags yet?  And can Team Wendy pads work on the mags?

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8 minutes ago, umpstu said:

Have you been able to play with one of the mags yet?  And can Team Wendy pads work on the mags?

I've held one in my hands and brought it up to my face so as to see what the field of view is. I knew how light it was going to be... but it's rather surreal not to see any welds on it whatsoever. What's remarkable, though, is how oversized that jaw pad is. When you hold the mask in your hand, and if you've been catcher/umpire for some time, you quickly realize why – because the mask has next-to-no mass, all that energy has to go somewhere.

So, in their current form, I'd advise against TW pads on the Mag. I use TWs on the hollow steel version, and in this format, there's not a lot of distance between the bars and your face. It's not that TW pads can't handle the force, but... ehhhhh... man, I don't want to risk it. Current TW pads aren't just thick enough to create the kind of stand-off distance between your face and the mask bars. I mean, look what happened to Everitt – it wasn't that the mask was compromised, there simply wasn't enough pad at the top to keep the mask from compressing to impact against the top of his head.

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30 minutes ago, MadMax said:

I've held one in my hands and brought it up to my face so as to see what the field of view is. I knew how light it was going to be... but it's rather surreal not to see any welds on it whatsoever. What's remarkable, though, is how oversized that jaw pad is. When you hold the mask in your hand, and if you've been catcher/umpire for some time, you quickly realize why – because the mask has next-to-no mass, all that energy has to go somewhere.

So, in their current form, I'd advise against TW pads on the Mag. I use TWs on the hollow steel version, and in this format, there's not a lot of distance between the bars and your face. It's not that TW pads can't handle the force, but... ehhhhh... man, I don't want to risk it. Current TW pads aren't just thick enough to create the kind of stand-off distance between your face and the mask bars. I mean, look what happened to Everitt – it wasn't that the mask was compromised, there simply wasn't enough pad at the top to keep the mask from compressing to impact against the top of his head.

Not a smart ass question here, but I really like the Wilson wrap around leather pads.  How about those?  Where it hit Everitt was so flukey.  I was wearing a Rawlings titanium once and a foul ball somehow hit me on the button of my cap.  For reals.  And I actually bled from it.  Had another time a ball hit me in the ear behind the ear flaps on my mask. I didn't turn my head either.  Felt like an insect bite and next thing I know I have blood streaming down my neck.

Other than the top pad, how were the sight lines and the weight?

 

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6 hours ago, Richvee said:

You weren't kidding. This one might have set a record!

I was thinking the same thing about half way through. Would love to have seen a word count on that last Max post. Lol

Side note and back to the original idea when I started this thread... looks like Tim Timmons during today' Braves game was wearing a silver frame Force3 with black pads.

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14 hours ago, MadMax said:

 

So, with that in mind, All-Star has embarked on its end-around strategy. It’s a progressive company. It thinks. It has developed an injection die-cast, weld-less mask design that has been already exhaustively tested and refined to be the strongest, yet lightest model they could with conventional methods. And, they’re sharing it between catchers and umpires. Is it perfected yet? No. It requires a very substantial set of pads, especially at the jaw, so as to provide the impact absorption and standoff distance that using magnesium demands. That set of pads isn’t quite thick enough at the forehead... yet... for an umpire.

... and that’s where something else has to change.

@MadMax ..... not yet, .... the MAG isn't offered officially to 'umpires' like their other models ........ YET :D 

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