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  • Champro Pro-Plus Magnesium Alloy Umpire Mask

       (1 review)

    Umpire in Chief

    Champro_Pro-Plus_Magnesium_Alloy_Umpire_Super-lite patented magnesium alloy frame is the lightest available, 14.8 oz.

    • Ergo-fit pad system
    • DRI-GEAR® moisture wicking pad covers
    • Ear, throat and forehead extensions
    • 3-way adjustable harness included

    This product is available from Ump-Attire.com.

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    Big Red

    • 4
       1 of 1 member found this review helpful 1 / 1 member

    I was in the market for a new, and particularly a lighter mask, to step up from my old steel two-bar. I was leaning toward the Wilson Titanium, especially w/ the reputation of their customer service, but the price was just too steep for me. Did some research and narrowed it down to the Diamond IX3 and this mask.

    Based on Pete's review from MidWestUmp.
    The mask is made of a magnesium alloy (not sure what is used to make the alloy part) and is incredibly light...listed at 15.5 oz, just under a lb! As of now, only comes in black finish, so anyone wanting silver will have to look elsewhere.

    As far as reason for the magnesium alloy, I can only venture they picked a material that is nearly as strong as titanium, but lighter and is less expensive, which is probably the main difference in the price.

    Coverage is great...well-placed and streamlined ear extensions, a forehead tab at the top and the longer-than-most throat extension allowed me to install a 4" throat protector v. a 6" on my old mask.

    Only hit I could think of as far as the construction is that the ends of the individual bars are not rounded off like you see on Wilsons, and while reaching into my bag on a couple of occasions, I've caught my finger on them. But that's extremely minor and more cosmetic than anything. Finish appears to be durable and good quality....have taken a few hits and I can hardly see where the ball hit.

    One of the things Pete mentioned in his review were the stock DRI-GEAR pads. They are moisture-wicking...some like, some hate it. I'm the latter as the material isn't near as smooth as leather, and any little bit of stubble will catch on the material and could possibly irritate your face during the course of a game (it did for me). If you want moisture-wicking and don't mind the outer material, then they should be OK. I tried it once and did not like it at all. Another issue w/ the pads is that the packing material inside seems to feel like coarsely shredded styrofoam and the pads actually "crunch" when compressed. I've attached a close-up photo of the pads after I removed them.

    I purchased a set of Wilson two-tone Wrap-Around pads and swapped them out for the stock pads. Made all the difference in the world. If not for the pads, I would've rated this mask a solid "5" in the comfort department. Again, some people may like the stock pads, but a good set of leather pads are highly recommended....I even tried my old set of Honig's calf-skins on there and they felt great.

    After installing the Wilson pads, I noticed a change in visibility as well. The design of the stock pads make it sit slightly further from your face than w/ the leather pads I tried on it. Compare the pictures I've attached of the model wearing it w/ the stock pads v. me w/ the Wilsons. Makes a difference in visibility.

    I've worn the mask for all my games this season and even working 4 games behind the plate in one day, I hardly noticed it. Coverage is great and visibility is very good for a mask that is not low-profile, especially w/ the leather pads. The thinner one-bar design helps. I've attached a couple of photos of me wearing it.

    As I mentioned, I've taken a few good hits w/ it, both baseball and softball. Granted, the baseballs were less than 70-75 mph and softballs less than 50 mph...all of them fouls straight off the bat, some dead-center on the mask. Got my attention, but I hardly felt it and the mask peeled as it should on the off-center hits.

    As far as the ratings, here is my rationale:
    Comfort: 4
    - Very light weight is a huge plus, especially during several games or a long tournament. No issues w/ the adjustable harness. Stock pads kept it from a "5."
    Price: 4
    - A bargain compared to the titanium masks. Still, there are other masks out there that are almost as light and slightly cheaper, but you can't beat the weight. If you swap out the pads, factor in addtl price of different pads.
    Durability: 4
    - May be too soon to tell, but has withstood several impacts and living in my bag in my trunk very well so far.
    Protection: 5
    - This is based on protection of other masks I've tried and not compared to HSMs. The light weight makes a BIG difference when getting hit. Mask provides great protection where the extensions are concerned, particularly the throat.
    Look: 5
    - The finish is of good quality and looks to be very durable. As I mentioned above, only hit to the mask itself is the finish of the bar ends. Wish Champro would make a silver finish for those that like it.
    Overall: 8
    - Different pads would've made it a 10 for me. As is, the stock pads affect both the comfort and visibility. However, you can't beat the frame for weight AND protection.

    An incredibly light mask w/ a frame that offers superior protection and a much cheaper alternative to titanium, even w/ different pads. An option on pads would make this top of the line as the leather pads made a significant improvement in both comfort and vision.

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