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I have been umping for a year now and use a cheap mask. I want to buy a new mask but I am so confused. I get all mask are light and that is fine but my question is what are the best straps to buy and beat pads?

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I would say if you don't want to replace your mask get the team wendy pads and a Wilson MLB mask harness. But if you do want to get a new mask go with either a Diamond Big league aluminum or a Wilson aluminum, both with team wendy pads.

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After you do some reading/research prepare to make your own decision. For every supporter of one brand/type of mask and pads setup there are just as many who completely disagree.

If you are a member of an association, ask the resident gear junky ( everyone has one) if he can show you some options, many will let you try a mask for a game.

Don't go cheap......protective gear is where you want to invest.  

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Check out Play it Again Sports, it seems that many guys here have had luck finding gear there. You may go thru a couple masks before you find one that suits you. I have a Diamond aluminum that is my back up, it's a great mask, but my Honig's hollow steel, even though it's slightly heavier, fits my vision a little better. If you are doing HS or up, just get the F3. 

When I was buying my first motorcycle helmet at 16, I was trying to not spend too much money. The salesman asked me, "How much do you think your skull is worth?" All of a sudden $100 didn't seem like that much money. 

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When selecting my CP I was torn between two models.  The price difference was approximately $50.

That also happened to be the same amount as the co-pay for an ER visit.  I went with the better CP.  

The same evaluation is applicable to the purchase of a facemask.

Good luck and don't skimp.

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On 6/4/2018 at 7:58 PM, conbo61 said:

When selecting my CP I was torn between two models.  The price difference was approximately $50.

The only problem with that rationale is Wilson prices their products at premium prices because they can. You cannot prove to me that a $80 Schutt XV or a $60 Champion P2xx is any less protective than a WestVest at $150+. In point of fact, you are paying for the exclusivity of having the MLB logo on it – there is no testing or certification process conducted by MLB so as to endorse that product with their logo.

So, carry that over to masks. Up until this year, why were the majority of MLB umpires wearing / using steel, vinyl-dipped DynaLites? Because they were cheap (supplied for free). Does that mean they were any better or more protective than anything else? If we were to scrutinize what pads these guys were using, we’d find other options being used as well, besides the default Wilson offerings. Does this mean they are the pads of choice?

Hardly.

I completely agree with you guys that you shouldn’t skimp on gear quality, but you should be identifying the benefits and shortcomings of the various gear options, and then making an informed choice, even if that means mixing and matching components so as to give you the best value. 

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On 6/4/2018 at 7:27 AM, Stan W. said:

If you are a member of an association, ask the resident gear junky ( everyone has one)

And if not... directly PM @MadMax :wave:

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On 6/4/2018 at 4:26 PM, Mister B said:

Check out Play it Again Sports, it seems that many guys here have had luck finding gear there.

This is a great resource. Though I would recommend checking with them during the off season or just before the season starts. Right now, the options can be pretty slim.

Also check out LOCAL sporting goods shops. I'm not talking about Big5 or Dicks (who only mainly carry HSM aka "Hockey Style Masks"). I'm talking Mom & Pop shops. They tend to carry a more diverse group of options.

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