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Found 49 results

  1. Time marches on, and we've got some new offerings in masks for the upcoming season... Hockey -Style Masks (HSM) All-Star is still the iconic HSM producer, but several rivals have made significant improvements to their product lineups. • All-Star: Showing focused refinement, the MVP4000-UMP and MVP2500-UMP models get updated padding and (supposedly) better paint jobs. In fact, the MVP2500 "Molded" is now black through-and-through, meaning that a ding or knick isn't going to discolor the shell. The MVP4000 is now offering a titanium cage, to keep pace with Wilson (see below). The System 7's, showcasing their I-Bar Vision construction, really allow the best sightlines of the HSMs on the market. • Diamond: The brand-new iX5 system is now on the scene, featuring a much more sculpted shell and 3D-formed cage. Unique to Diamond, the iX5 is the only HSM with a "shovel-front chin" on the cage. Looking like a throat-guard on a TM, this adds another deflective geometry to the mask, especially for those that drop the chin. The iX3 name has been dropped, and the previous model (the iX3) received some tweaking and has been released as a value-price-point named the EDGE Core. Of course, because umpires get much less "love" from the manufacturers, the "for-umpires" HSM is an EDGE Core labeled as DCH-EDGE-UMP. While it doesn't have the curves of the iX5, it still has the pronounced chin cage guard. • Easton: Made some needed improvements to the Mako, and are heavily marketing it as their flagship unit. For 2015, they've introduced the M7 (in two finishes – "grip" (matte) and "gloss"), which is a less-technical, slightly-lighter-weight unit that is posed to be their workhorse. It has a 3D-formed cage and a sculpted shell, indicating that is concentrating on deflective properties instead of mass and bulk, and appears to be so much more comfortable than the elder Rival. With the M7 now on the scene, Easton looks to be consolidating the Rival and the Stealth into a mask named Black Magic, and is aiming that more on youth (ie. 12U) baseball, and the budget price points. • Mizuno: Nothing new to report in their Samurai G4 line. It has the largest standoff and padding concentration in the crown of an HSM. • Nike: ... (sigh)... uh... Yes, Nike makes a HSM. It's called the De3539, and is made more as a branding piece (see? We're in baseball!) than as an advanced piece of protective gear. Unlike rival UnderArmour, who re-branded All-Star units, Nike... you can't tell who produces the Nike unit. • Rawlings: The Slowest-to-Update-Baseball-Company-In-the-World finally, finally introduced a new HSM after All-Star kicked their keester all down the 1BL. The CH1 (which, undoubtedly, stood for "Catching Helmet One") saw its shell redesigned, outfitted with new CoolFlo pads, and stuck with a curvy, sleek new cage that, strangely, looks like the negative (opposite) of All-Star's System 7 geometry. Hmmm. But it does look impressive! Debuting as the CH950 (so what happened to the 948 other versions?), look for this to be on a Molina near you soon. The entire lineup received CoolFlo pads. • Schutt: As one of the premier football helmet manufacturers, Schutt took their AiR technology and (finally!) applied it to their baseball HSMs. The catcher's HSM gets the AiR treatment first, labeled the AiR Maxx 2966. Unique and intriguing, Schutt extended the cage back along the temples, covering the ears and flanks of the shell. That means that's even more protection on the sides, and the cage carries and dissipates more energy before it reaches the shell. No one else is doing that! If you don't need the customizable comfort-fit of the AiR system, the 2966 is offered as an "umpire" version, but it (appears) to not get quite the cage treatment, still using the fall-2014 cage. • UnderArmour: UA is really trying to make headway in baseball, and they partnered up with one of the best in the business to do so in All-Star. UA's "Pro", though, is a re-branded All-Star MVP2300, which has the same shell, but doesn't have the iconic System 7 cage. • Wilson: Having already seen a significant improvement mid-season in 2014, the Shock FX 2.0 returns to the field, this time showcasing a titanium cage. The most technologically-advanced HSM of the bunch (for now, unless and until Force3 debuts a HSM entry), the SFX 2.0 is the apex protector for umpires; it just gets kinda haughty about it with the ... ahem... particular paint-job Wilson loves to show off. If you can't afford a Shock FX, but still want an HSM with the... Wilson paint job... look for the Prestige. Traditional Masks • All-Star: With a trimmer, more defined lineup, All-Star presses forward with the FM25Ti, FM25, FM4000 and FM2000. All four are offered as "umpire versions" with a hat-harness (instead of the Delta-Flex helmet harness), and give All-Star some distinction between itself and Wilson. This is noteworthy with the FM25Ti, which may be physically (titanium alloy and double-wire, more difficult to deform) and financially (titanium alloy, less costly) more appealing to a mid-level umpire than the pure-titanium show ponies Wilson and Nike trot out. Besides that, the FM4000 and FM2000 are instantly recognizable because of their bar layouts. • Diamond: How can you mess with one of the best-selling TMs in the industry, but still make it more appealing? Fix the pads! The iX3's geometry didn't change, but Diamond now offers new, improved pads on a re-labeled mask called DFM-UMP-BL (for "Big League", woo woo). This, and the venerable iX3, are one-in-the-same mask... one's named Ed, the other Fred. Oh, and you can get pads that have no logos on them. For those who really cling to tradition – we're talking Charleton Heston's grip – the DRM-PRO (used to be iX3) and DFM-43 double-bar masks are still available. • Easton: The Speed Elite returns, still with exceptionally lightweight construction in a robust geometry. It has some of the largest ear-guards in the business, and very reliable pads (think the complete opposite of the miserable pads on the Diamond iX3). It also has one of the smallest chin-throat guards, such that it encourages and makes easy the mounting of a hanging supplemental throat guard. • Force3: The mask everyone is rooting for. Now available in colors (and tan pads!! Sexxxxyyyyy), the Defender is a tangible promise that someone, somewhere is looking out for us who stand behind the plate. While it still is noticeably heavy, that weight has been steadily declining as Force3 continues to pare down the geometry and improve the hardware. The standoff distance is still something to be negotiated, as it feels like you're in cage, but this is the mask that should be your chief candidate if frontal, concussion-inducing impacts are your main concern. • Mizuno: Nothing new to report on out of Japan. • Nike: Unknown if Nike is even going to offer a mask for retail sale this year. • Schutt: Teamed up with Diamond, and offers the DFM-UMP labeled as the Comfort-Lite Mask. (If anyone from Schutt ever reads these forums, please contact me – I've got an intriguing mask design for you.) • UnderArmour: Continuing the relationship with All-Star, UA's UAFM Pro is a rebranded FM25, complete with I-Bar advertising tab on the chin. • Wilson: The big news came during the 2014 season, with the debut of new Memory Foam pads! They are meeting with rave feedback, and are probably the best rival to Team Wendys. Additionally, while the pads were developed independently, they debuted with the new Dynalite Aluminum mask, taking the spot as Wilson's lightest traditional mask in their lineup. This mask may be a Titanium-slayer, because with the lighter weight (marginal, but still), better pads, and lower cost, it addresses the three main issues umpires face (bad pun!) when selecting a mask. Disclaimer: I did not list Champro nor +POS because Champro's HSMs are rebrandings, and they have nothing new in TMs, while +POS designs some really innovative TMs, but has nothing obviously new for 2015 announced yet. Bonus Note: For those needing to protect a banged-up forearm, these might do the trick: https://www.underarmour.com/en-us/ua-forearm-pad/pid1220728-001
  2. The folks at All-Star disturb me. Oh, I applaud the effort and attention to detail their product designers have. The FM2000 (which @Thunderheads loves) screams "Branding!" with its bar layout in the shape of the company logo. Cute. Verrrrry cute. Then, All-Star took an even more aggressive step in the development of their System 7 MVP masks (MVP4000, MVP2500, et.al.) and gave them an iconic, readily-recognized grill layout, different from everyone else's (at the time). Nearly every HSM-wearing catcher in the Majors was equipped with one, and that form has since driven the market. The grill layout got to be so recognizable and trustworthy that the design team then placed it as the foundation for their debuting FM4000 traditional mask {TM}. It really stands out amongst the rest of the U-&-inverted-U masks on the market. Now, in a super-hush-hush move, it looks like the design team has been at it again... or, a MVP2500 and a FM2000 were left alone overnight in the lab together. Cue the Barry White... The FM1500 - A few online retailers have it available, but I can't tell if it's a legit baseball mask, or is intended for softball only... Or this is the mask that All-Star doesn't want us to know about yet. Oh the scandal!
  3. My fellow umpires – As a designer, I am constantly looking at equipment, structures, systems and processes and analyzing their features and flaws, their successes and failures, and developing ways of championing them or improving them. I have read, heard and witnessed many umpires convey that they either wear a HSM because of the total head coverage, or wear a catcher's skullcap because of the additional head protection from a foul ball ricocheting off the (closely placed) backstop, or careening off the overhead netting. There are also some concerns expressed by some umpires who may be turning their heads. My professional opinion is that a TM reduces concussions more so than a HSM. I won't totally poo-pooh a HSM, but when I hear from HSM users why they wear a HSM – namely, because they don't want to get hit in the head by a ball off the backstop – I start thinking of ways to address that, and at least present another option. I think I'm on to something. I've found a hybrid – one part helmet, one part hat – and am about to make some adjustments to it and possibly put it to prototyping and eventual production. It's very good as is, allowing you to easily wear (and remove) a TM with it. I'd like to hear from you, though, what sort of interest you might have in it. Please respond to the poll, and/or if you have any other feedback, drop me a PM. Thanks for your time.
  4. With the season winding down (at least up here in the North, where the other great slayer of baseball is awakening – football), I was struck with a musing... How would you prepare for the final game of the year? So, I'll present to you the survey question: The age/skill level is irrelevant. This is the final "game in town" in your hometown. _Everyone_ who's anyone is going to be there. It will probably be televised, too (at least on local channels... don't get ahead of yourself). As the resident Umpire and Baseball Aficionado, you have been asked by the local (VFW, Kiwanis, Key Club, Lions, 4H, whatever) organizers what sort of things you'd like to see instituted into the game and the festivities surrounding it. You've been also given a "gear allowance" to buy whatever gear you need as The Plate Umpire. Alright, I'll start... ------------------------- - I'd like the game to be slated to start at 7:05 PM. Beforehand, arrange to have one of the recent War Veterans throw out the ceremonial first pitch, along with someone the community identifies of note (illness-challenged youth, foundation award winner, etc.). - The game will be 7 innings in length, with a 5th inning stretch (or 9 innings, if the community organizers feel they can handle a game that long). - I'd have someone request the wonderful old guy/gal who plays the organ in the local church to come down and "play the (electric) pipes" on a synthesizer we have hooked into the PA-sound system. They would be at liberty to insert whatever filler music they'd like. - There would be a PA announcer, preferably with a voice like Garrison Keillor, Morgan Freeman, John Hurt, or David McCullough. Even-keeled, narrator-esque, not hyped like at a wrestling event. - I would heavily advocate for OBR, with only a "Continuous Batting Order" modification _considered_. - 4-umpire crew, of course. - I would get a Force3 Unequal Chest Protector, and probably Force3 SG's (or Champros), with highly-polished plate shoes, of course. It would be a Nike Titanium mask with tan TW's (or a black Nike NRS mask with tan TW's) to top it off, because I am going to make every effort to rock a black plate coat. If it's just too hot out, then go MLB Black for shirts. - Miss "Insert Community Name" would be tapped to sing the National Anthem, accompanied by the local Barbershop Quartet (if available... although they might do the 5th/7th Inning Stretch). If Miss "Community" happened to be Carrie Underwood, there would be no objection. The local VFW post would do a complete flag presentation. - The stadium / ball field would be lit (duh, of course!... there are no time limits here). - There will be fireworks after.
  5. So on Thursday, the NJ governing body -NJSIAA - made the brilliant decision that players and umpires could not wear sunglasses on the brim of their caps while on the field. Another interesting way to inject umpires and rule enforcement into situations that make us seem petty and OOO's. I understand that the many eye injuries that have occured from glasses flying off the players' hat brims while double plays are broken up and when catchers get freight trained are numerous enough to spur the action, but now I can no longer wear my glasses anywhere but on my face. I suppose this might impact the speed of the game, as players will now need to request time to get their glasses from the dugout, but if I refuse their request, and they get drilled with the ball, the next time they will remember to not only bring their glasses onto the field, but they will wear them only in the manner in which the manufacturer(s) expect. Thank you for your time. Good day sir.
  6. What is your ideal indicator? What features would you add or take away from your current indicator? Does a digital indicator appeal to you? Leave all ideas you have about a better indicator that you wish existed! Thanks
  7. Hi All, This is a question for the ladies. I'm looking for a new chest protector for softball, but am after some advice on something that fits 'best' for females. My current chest protector doesn't sit very well and is very bulky - I look like a terminator. I'd like something a little more subtle and the highest level I would be umpiring is U17/U19 state championships. Any advice or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks, Nic
  8. HS 18U Travel Ball -- F2 sets up inside, F1 throws a fast ball it bounces in the dirt and F2 misses it with his glove. It nails me in the face and knocks my mask off. The hit was hard enough to crack my throat guard. DC comes flying out of the dugout to see if I am okay, I turn and smile and say "Thank you "insert name", I didn't even feel it. Team Wendys is 110% worth it's money. No doubt about it, my partner bought his pair this morning after seeing the "ill effects"
  9. http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GBLZ5XS We created this survey for umpires in order to gather information for creating a new and improved umpire indicator. If you are interested, take this survey and let us know what you think. Leave any additional comments here!
  10. As per the title, does _anyone_ make a pair of combo pants in charcoal with _flat fronts_?! I got the Smitty charcoal combos, and tried them out... But I purposely left the tags on and didn't get them hemmed yet. I then ordered a set of Honig's charcoal pants, combo, in a 36 (I'm a 34)... And they're pleated, and yet again, they are crippled by that which befalls all pleated pants. It's like a beacon. Even when you get in a ready position. Embarrassing! Has the entire attire community lost their mind and imposed pleats upon us? Or is there somewhere still making a flat-front in charcoal?
  11. Alright, here's the pitch... (Yes, groan, what a pun)... I pick up on trends and quirks pretty quick, and after only a night or two at CDP, I noticed that several of the guys were A) trying to catch a nap whenever possible and B) were trying several different methods of establishing a degree of privacy and darkness around their bunk. Sheets were often the tool of choice, and my arsenal of zip-ties, carabiners and duct-tape quickly got "loaned" (I suppose you never loan duct tape, you give it) and eviscerated. As I've mentioned in other posts, I'm an Env Designer & IT Pro by trade, so I usually carry that stuff with me everywhere. But being the new guy on campus, I got put on "the island" – the bunk on its own in the middle of the floor, yes. Now, being a farm kid, and having spent a long undergrad working around computers, I can honestly sleep _anywhere_. You military guys can definitely relate (or surpass me). The traffic around my bunk didn't perturb me, but I can definitely understand why my fellow umpires didn't want The Island, and were sticking up sheets whenever they could... The noise and lights were obnoxious. So, promptly upon coming home, I set to figuring out a solution, and I think I came up with something... I present to you, The ShutOut ®. I'll post pictures as soon as the first one is completed (any day now... It's being stitched as I type this), but it is a kit comprised of 4 panels of (washable! opaque!) upholstery fabric with D-rings stitched onto the top edge, and straps (included) to hold these panels up over the top (unused) bunk deck conveniently and securely. Thicker than bed sheets, so very little light filters through, but still breathable and certainly removable and washable. The two long panels do have some ribbon loops stitched inside so you can hook your watch, mobile phone, and/or alarm clock to them. I'm taking orders for them now. The first one is getting photographed here, and then sent to CDP for Boddie (if any of you guys know Boddie) to use for Week 1. If you want to stop by and see it, and then order, just contact me. Otherwise, if you're interested just off my pitch here alone, please contact me. I'll be coming up Week 3, and if there are several requests now, I'll send/bring them up with me. Otherwise, I'll have to have them sent from my fabricator here (in Wisconsin) to CDP as the orders are made. There is a cost to it, which I will disclose in PM's. Yes, we do have (limited) color options – black, navy, charcoal, dark tan.
  12. I called my first game in the new gear: Diamond Light Mask, w/ Team Wendy's Wilson West Vest Platinum Took two wicked foul balls and one dirt bounding wild pitch. DID NOT FEEL A THING. I can honestly say....WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG....
  13. Can someone tell me of a retail store in Canada (Ontario preferably) that has a retail store to buy umpire jackets/shirts, other than Home Run Sports? If not in Canada, maybe in Buffalo, Niagara, or Pennsylvania?
  14. Like most others, I have the Powder Blue (also called Columbia Blue) shirt w/ white and navy stripe. I'd like to get another, and then was puzzled to find a new shade of blue... Slightly darker Carolina Blue w/ black trim. Right next to it, the Columbia Blue w/ black trim. There's also the Powder (Columbia) Blue w/ white and red trim, but I've been told that's a softball color, and a faux pas to wear (as in, don't). Lastly, there's the new MLB pattern, of all Powder blue (with vertical black piping). Which should I be buying? Would a difference between Carolina and Columbia -blue be that noticeable on-field in youth baseball? Is it totally faux pas to wear the MLB pattern if your partner(s) isn't (aren't)? Is it faux pas to wear MLB pattern if you're not an MLB umpire umpiring less-than-MLB games? The fishbowl for this would be someplace like CDP, where I realize someone always has an opinion on something, but I just want to reduce the (possibility of) snide remarks.
  15. I have a black Douglas Douglas that i am looking to sale or trade. I am looking for aregular Douglas if possible but will consider all offers. I also have a Charcoal Wilson that I am looking to trade or sale. It Has been used for less than 20 games. Still in great condition.
  16. Hey guys, from yesterdays Tigers v. Blue Jays game I'm watching and I see Angel has a Snap-Back Hat on...I didn't know that this was even an option.
  17. I bought this HSM used. I wanted to try it since I had never used a HSM before. I loved the view it game me but it is not for me. $30 Shipping included.
  18. Looking for two nice navy ball bags. Can anyone help a brother out on the cheap? Got Paypal, hehe P.S. I'm in Houston
  19. I have a Diamond ix3 chest protector and i was wondering if anyone else here used one and what they thought of it. I've used it for a year and i was wondering if this was a good one to stick with for the long haul or if i should be saving to upgrade sometime in the future? I like the CP but it doesn't have any actual plastic for protection, just high impact foam. I call HS and down at the moment so its not like I'm doing any major college ball. Not to make this post any longer, but I just wanna say that I'm new to the site and love it so far. I've learned so much just in my first day of reading and seeing what you guys think about different situations. I hope to learn as much as I can! Thanks! Name's Terry by the way.
  20. I have four shirts that I am looking to get rid of. All are either Smitty or Ump Attire shirts and colors are navy blue, powder blue (baseball alternate), cream and black. If you are interested, I am willing to send pictures.
  21. Hey guys, I'm having to purchase just about everything new this year as my stuff needs replaced after years of use. I need new shirts of all colors(only #24 if number is already applied to shirt), new pants, and a new mask. Im looking for size Large in shirts and im a size 36-38/ 30-31 length in pants. I am looking for charcoal pants. If anyone has any of these items, pm me and maybe we can work out a deal. Im also looking for a new Douglas CP.
  22. Hello guys, I'm from Puerto Rico and I'm planning to buy some new equipment, what CP you guys recommend? I'm 6'1. What mask? For the shoes I'm a reebok fan but what about the new NB plate and base shoes? What about ball bags? And pants if you guys can make a list or something for me about what it should be best and also what ump school should I attend on 2014? Thank you!
  23. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Unequal-Technologies-Umpire-Chest-Protector-/180983685992?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2a2377e368
  24. Just want to get some thoughts on equipment as I get back into the fray. I've got some ideas on what I want to get and it seems I've come to a couple choices on both the mask I want and the chest protector. I need experienced input to help finally choose one or the other. Tell me the GOOD, the BAD and what is the Biggest consideration to take into account in the choice. I found both items of each brand in the same price range, so it won't be based on that. If there is another comparable Brand/Model in the same price range, feel free to add that info too before I pull the trigger. Thanks in advance for your help. Mask: 1- Diamond iX3 2- +POS ZRO-G Chest protector: 1- Champro cp23 2- Diamond iX3 Need Ideas on Shin Guards too. Thanks, AX3
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