Amidst all the hubbub surrounding the debut of the Champro CM83/84 Rampage die-cast Magnesium mask, there’s another mask that appeared in Champro’s catalog that is just as intriguing and likely at a great price point.
This mask, my friends, is aluminum. It is the CM81/82, based on Champro’s CM71/72 Ultralight hollow steel mask, but this time done in aluminum, so it doesn’t bend! I know from experience of using it and supplying to my junior umpires, it has excellent sightlines, a squared chin guard with forward rake, and a broad extended crown guard. Now in aluminum, Champro really did think of everything!
Here’s the big value, though... Wilson’s DynaLite Aluminum starts at $110. The famous Diamond DFM-iX3 is at $70, but could really use the thicker, better pads of the BL (Big League) version at $90. Well fellows, this here Champro is $70. I love the idea of taking that extra $40 I just saved and getting... well, just about anything else of quality to complete my umpire gear needs.
I'm looking for the shoulder paldrons for the Force3 chest protector or something else along those lines. I was inspired to try and put together my own chest protector, like the one pictured below, by a minor league umpire and Facebook friend.
If no one has any they want to part with. Do you know if you can get "replacement" chest protector parts or ones that are not sellable on a full piece from Force3?
Just arrived this afternoon:
Yup, that’s a Diamond DFM-iX3-Pro. For catchers. In aluminum.
It weighs nothing.
I gotta say, the pads on this thing, as simple as they are, are better than the default pads on the Umpire version (not the DFM-UMP-BL)! In any case, it’s strong, light, and offers a rather generous eyeport. It won’t bend.
The only reason this didn’t really gain traction with catchers is because it’s not an All-Star or UnderArmour, or Nike, or Easton (who all use titanium or steel), and the NFHS codes prohibit them. Without them carried on retail shelves, they’re only order-able online, where they get undercut by insanely cheap steel masks (Rawlings, Wilsons and MacGregors) or overlooked in favor of the name-brand starlets (Easton, UnderArmour, All-Star).
I ordered this mask in for one of my fellow umpires who is using an old TAG -brand steel, bent like a coat hanger would be to be used as a TV antenna. I have a black harness for it, and we’ll be teaming this up with +POS tan leather pads... which should be arriving any day now.
Oh yeah, the price? Ordered direct from Diamond, $30.