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New guy behind the plate


Coachgrinnan

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Hi I am Michael.  I will calling baseball for the first time this year.  I am sure this has been asked a thousand times, but I did some searching, and did not find it.  I need some guidance on gear.  Are there any brands to stay away from.  Is it better to buy cheap for the first year, then up grade later, or should I just bite the bullet and spent the money now?  I think I have chest and lags figured out.  But, when I look at masks, I am overwhelmed!! Where do I start?  I think I want a non-hockey style.  Beyond that what should I look for?

Thank you

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Welp, I'd recommend you start by reading through the posts in this Umpire Equipment forum and searching for things like "Gear," "Chest protector," "Cup," and whatever else you're looking for -- it's all here for the reading.  Gear choices are very personal, so what works for one person may or may not work for you.  Whatever you do, don't cheap out.  Buy the very best you can.  Many people started on the cheap and have regretted it.  You'll earn the money back in short order if you take a decent number of games.  I paid for my initial $1,200 equipment purchase after six weeks, and I didn't look for many bargains, so you can do well for yourself and pay even less, which means it'll pay for itself faster for you if you keep a busy schedule.

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I have the Wilson shock fx 2.0, on amazon it's around 250 and worth every penny. I got mine from MLB catcher for WAY less so if you look around you can find a good used one a lot cheaper. I've taken balls from every thing from 9u to 16u on it and I'm glad I switched over from the TM. Over the winter months is a great time to look for preloved gear or deals (amazon is a good place for umpire jackets, none of mine have been over $12) and officialschoice.com is a site I like for shirts. Umpattire.com is always a good go to for gear. Good luck and welcome. This site is a treasure trove of knowledge for new Umpires. Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk

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There are major league catchers and umpires wearing HSM. At the youth level for sure they provide more protection. The Shock 2.0 is a great helmet I've used to 300 or so games this year without any problems. Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk

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There are major league catchers and umpires wearing HSM. At the youth level for sure they provide more protection. The Shock 2.0 is a great helmet I've used to 300 or so games this year without any problems. Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk

Dang Ken, you've worked 300 plates this year?  Slow down, leave some games for the rest of us.

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That's about right, a bit more then half my 2-man games and a bunch of solos. I'm trying out a Force3 HSM but other then that I alternate my two Shock 2.0's. I've been hit in every part of the helmet with no I'll effects no I'll effects no I'll effects :-) I recommend a throat guard as well no matter what type of mask you choose. Sent from my SM-N910T using Tapatalk

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Yes.  @JaxRolo was just being, you know... JaxRolo.  HSMs provide a higher degree of protection than traditional masks.  Many of us wear them, myself included.  They're more expensive than TMs, but it's worth it for those who can afford it.

How so? Maybe if you turn your head! lol

 

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How so? Maybe if you turn your head! lol

 

Pretty much, yeah.  The fact that you're wearing a helmet gives you more protection.  I'm not knocking TMs.  I love the look, myself, but I like the narrower angle of the mask on my HSM, which will take less direct force when hit and the fact that my whole head is protected.

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I appreciated my HSM doing kiddie fall ball. Took two thrown bats to the side of the head and more than a few missed balls, yeah I turned my head and I was bobbin and weaving back there behind 9 - 13u kids that (for the most part) sucked at baseball and/who had never caught/pitched before. Awe, the joys of fall training ball... I like my TM with TW pads also. I still wear it but only on better quality ball fields. I prefer the look and ease of function of it when I'm behind quality catchers. Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk

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@Coachgrinnan:  A couple of thoughts:

(1)  If you have joined an umpire association ask them if they have negotiated a discount with any of the equipment/uniform companies.  For instance, I negotiated a 10% discount with Honigs on behalf of my association. 

(2) Absolutely, never take a plate assignment without plate shoes.  For some reason a lot of new umpires think that this is one place where they can skimp on money.  It only takes one foul ball off your unprotected toes to end your season.

(3)  If you have joined an umpire association, ask someone in the association you trust if any members are upgrading their equipment and might be selling their old equipment.  Older equipment is often perfect for first year umpires.  (That was how I got my first equipment).

(4) Don't buy uniforms without checking with your umpire association/league to make sure what they require in uniforms.  It would suck to buy 4 new black shirts only to discover that the league you are working for still requires navy shirts.

(5) As for the mask thing, buy what you think you would be comfortable wearing, but don't go cheap.  I don't like HSM so I bought a $200+ traditional mask that still looks brand new after a year of abuse at the NCAA Division I & II level.  I'm not saying that you need a $200+ mask as a first-year umpire, but don't buy the $39.95 one either.

That's my 2 cents.

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  • 1 month later...

Have a Wilson Shock FX 2.0 HSM, have used for 3 years...Really like it. I also say buy the best equipment you can afford...I like my Wilson West Vest and Platinum leg guards...New Balance plate shoes and Nike Air Elite Pre Game turf shoes for the bases....Good Luck!

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Hi I am Michael.  I will calling baseball for the first time this year.  I am sure this has been asked a thousand times, but I did some searching, and did not find it.  I need some guidance on gear.  Are there any brands to stay away from.  Is it better to buy cheap for the first year, then up grade later, or should I just bite the bullet and spent the money now?  I think I have chest and lags figured out.  But, when I look at masks, I am overwhelmed!! Where do I start?  I think I want a non-hockey style.  Beyond that what should I look for?

Thank you

Great gear can be expensive. Good gear is sufficient if funds are tight and you don't know if you will be an umpire in year 2. Cheap gear is never worth the risk. For face masks, you can get a steel mask for $19.99 at any sporting goods store. It will protect you, but your neck will be sore after a game, and if you have a DH behind the plate in one day, forget it. There are lots of really good masks on the market that will protect and be comfortable. My mask cost $230 and is worth every penny. But my game fees have paid for it over and over again. When you are starting off, I suggest paying about $70. That price will get you a really good mask that is comfortable. There are lots of brands out there, but if you pay somewhere in the vicinity of $70, you'll be happy with the results. Down the road you can decide if $230 is worth it for you or not. 

Mike

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My take is basically the same as most here. Don't skimp on mask or chest... I use the Allstar System 7 chest protector and love it. The collar protection is great, it extends over the stomach area farther than many other CP's which at many of the levels I do where the catching is not awesome this is a good thing and I dig the removable interior pads for washing to keep me smelling great! (my partners like this also or so I have been told :-). I use a +POS mask which I love ($69.99 if I recall) but there have been some issues lately as reported by users of this board about purchasing from them directly so buyer beware on that front.

Also think about protecting your boys... there are a few threads about the Nutty Buddy which I use and am a 100% believer in and a few other products. @Majordave did a whole write up several months back about his journey to find the best cup so I suggest searching for that thread... it was entertaining to say the least and somewhere in there was some good feedback and information as well.

@lawump also brings up a great point about plate shoes... if you do not have the $100-$150 for a good new pair then at a minimum use steel toe boots. When I first started I took some 4" throat protectors and boiled them to soften the plastic a little. I then took the protector and formed it over the metatarsal portion of my steel toe boot. When formed I laced the guards into the boot and viola instant plate shoes.  

Lastly have fun and good luck!

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Hi I am Michael.  I will calling baseball for the first time this year.  I am sure this has been asked a thousand times, but I did some searching, and did not find it.  I need some guidance on gear.  Are there any brands to stay away from.  Is it better to buy cheap for the first year, then up grade later, or should I just bite the bullet and spent the money now?  I think I have chest and lags figured out.  But, when I look at masks, I am overwhelmed!! Where do I start?  I think I want a non-hockey style.  Beyond that what should I look for?

Thank you

How's this for advice:

"Buy cheap equipment, meet a nurse."

Don't skimp.   Unless you're a glutton for pain and are on someone else's health care plan.

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When I first started I took some 4" throat protectors and boiled them to soften the plastic a little. I then took the protector and formed it over the metatarsal portion of my steel toe boot. When formed I laced the guards into the boot and viola instant plate shoes.  

That is MFing GENIUS! Seriously, you waited this long to post this bit of information!? Really!? 

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When I first started I took some 4" throat protectors and boiled them to soften the plastic a little. I then took the protector and formed it over the metatarsal portion of my steel toe boot. When formed I laced the guards into the boot and viola instant plate shoes.  

Lastly have fun and good luck!

I got these for my shoes. Wore them all last year. Work great. As I live in BC (Pacific Northwest), I like cleats over turfs shoes on a greasy field. Up here, monsoons are the only reason for a rainout. 

Although, I did have a sun delay last year. 

http://www.amazon.com/Kanga-Tuff-Metatarsal-Footwear-Attachment/dp/B005HEPWGG

 

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