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Gentlemen,

I've been lurking here for months, reading posts and admiring the knowledge of, camaraderie in, and passion for this avocation of ours. I finally have a post of my own to make.

I have been working my way up in the college ranks, and it looks like I will be getting some D-I work this coming spring. As a result, I've been thinking about upgrading my equipment, specifically my mask and CP. Even the D-II and -III stuff I am have been working probably warrants an upgrade.

The mask is first, as the one I have been using is a few years old, and not as heavy-duty as I think is warranted at the D-I level. The CP is good, but I will likely upgrade to a West Vest next year. So, I have narrowed the masks down to these, and would like input from the group on what would be the best choice.

Diamond Pewter Grey iX3 Aluminum Umpire Mask with Quik-Dry

Diamond Silver Big League Aluminum Umpire Mask with Leather

Wilson Silver Dyna-Lite Aluminum Umpire Mask with Memory Foam

I came to these choices because I don't want a hockey-style mask, and I don't want to drop 2 bills on a Wilson titanium. I get the feeling the Wilson is the best, but was wondering if the Diamond ix3 and Diamond Big League are equivalent (or close) for $30-$50 less. There is also this:

Wilson Silver Dyna-Lite Aluminum Umpire Mask with Black and Grey

which seems to be the same mask, with different pads, but this is another $30 above the memory foam padded Wilson.

LOL -- And as I type that last sentence, I can hear "Why take a chance with your head and face for $30-$50?" So maybe I have my answer. :P

But if anyone can speak to these masks, I'd love the feedback.

Cheers, all!

 

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11 minutes ago, tpatience said:

I would get the Wilson aluminum but take out the foam pads and put team Wendy pads on it.

Personal preference. I've found the Wilson pads work better in that frame than my TWs.

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The foam pads, in my opinion, are not as good as the TW pads. They do not absorb hits as well as the TW pads. I have worn both. And of course, the Wilson pads will work better in a Wilson mask.

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Personally, I trust Wilson leather pads the most just because TW gets hard in the cold where I am. I've heard many people swear by TW pads and I know they're top notch. I just prefer the Wilson leather pads. I don't trust diamond pads of any kind. Replacing pads is about a $40 adventure, so I'd just start with good pads. If price is a concern, I would entertain a steel Dyna-Lite, perhaps the one on UA with doeskin pads. 

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If all my gear got stolen, and I had to buy a mask today, it would be this one:

http://honigs.com/sport/baseball-softball/masks-helmets-padding/honig-s-pro-line-single-bar-mask-w-zorbium-pads-pkg.html

The Honig's frame is light and strong, and it's pre-loaded with Team Wendy pads. Great rig, great deal.

 

And all the recommendations in the world are worthless, if the rig doesn't fit YOUR face. Fit is very, very important, yet everyone seems

to forget about it. What works great for me, maybe ill-fitting, and not a good solution for you.

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See... And I am going to throw my vote behind the Diamond iX3 as that is the mask I currently use with the TW pads.

However, the consensus seems to be moving towards the Force3 v2 mask now more and more.

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This is good info, fellas - thanks.

BT_Blue -- I like the idea of the Force3, too, but that seems like it would be heavy. Does anyone reading this thread have one, and can you speak to the weight issue?

kylejt -- I somehow missed that mask from Honig's, and that seems like a good option, with one caveat....

Stk004's comment that the TW pads "get hard in the cold" caught my eye, since I am in Cleveland and a lot of season can be pretty cold here. Can anyone speak to that issue?

 

I knew I would get good info here.  :) 

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I start in February here in CT and leave the TW in my car front seat to warm them up on the way to the game.  I also massage/kneed them as I'm walking to the field and after pregame.  You can't just roll up to a game in sub 40* temps and expect them to be soft.

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1 hour ago, kanedog said:

I start in February here in CT and leave the TW in my car front seat to warm them up on the way to the game.  I also massage/kneed them as I'm walking to the field and after pregame.  You can't just roll up to a game in sub 40* temps and expect them to be soft.

And personally, I don't like the idea of my pads getting rock hard and losing protection. This doesn't happen with leather pads which is why I prefer them. But all of this is personal preference. I have a F3 V1 and it's heavy. Some guys say the V2 is lighter but I wouldn't know. I wear it tight but I still find it a bit heavy for my taste. 

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I live in San Diego, so it's rarely an issue. But I've worked games in the high 30s/low 40s. And I've had to massage the TW pads to soften them up, no doubt. The seemed to say pliable throughout the game after that.

 

I can't, nor would I ever wish to, speak to working in lower temperatures.

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Correct about the TW pads. I live further south than STK. If I forget to work my TW pads before the game, they usually soften up with in the first batter.

As for the Force3. Yes the v1 was almost two pounds. The v2 cut that weight by over a quarter. But it is still almost twice as heavy as my Diamond. However, the added concussion protection has me strongly considering a switch.

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I switched to the v2 this summer. I was concerned with the weight at first. After wearing the v2 for the first time, you become used to it. Took a foul ball off the mask during a D1 inter squad game. I assumed it was a slight glancing blow because I didn't feel anything. However, the catcher kept asking if I was ok. I'm very happy with the upgrade. 

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This is good info, fellas - thanks.

BT_Blue -- I like the idea of the Force3, too, but that seems like it would be heavy. Does anyone reading this thread have one, and can you speak to the weight issue?

kylejt -- I somehow missed that mask from Honig's, and that seems like a good option, with one caveat....

Stk004's comment that the TW pads "get hard in the cold" caught my eye, since I am in Cleveland and a lot of season can be pretty cold here. Can anyone speak to that issue?

 

I knew I would get good info here.   

I don't care for the tw's myself. I live in Nebraska and the first of the season is brutal to begin with then moves to just chilly in the mornings thru may. The tw's are like bricks when it's cold, even when it's just chilly. Ive heard you can work them but I'm not one who wants to do that extra work so I have pads that protect. I've changed over to a HSM, but I have the leather wilson pads on my extra mask now. I've worn the wilsons a

few times and I quite like them, especially when it's really hot. The tw's chaffed a bit when I sweated a lot, not bad but again, it added another reason they weren't worth it to me.

Sent from my SM-G920P using Tapatalk

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I like the Wilson memory foam pads.  I took a shot last weekend that bent my Plus Pos ZRO-G mask and didn't feel a thing.  They seem to be energy absorbing like TW, but they stay soft and pliable in any weather.

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If it happens to be cold, I usually put my mask on the passenger seat in my car, right next to my personal protection device (aka Nutty Buddy). With that, I have no concerns regarding pliability with TW pads or icy tentacles in places that do not like such extremes of temperature.

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5 hours ago, smckin said:

I use the Diamond Big League with TW pads no issues at all but im in the south....

Wonderful display of it in your profile picture. ;)

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On 10/21/2016 at 1:04 PM, tpatience said:

The foam pads, in my opinion, are not as good as the TW pads. They do not absorb hits as well as the TW pads. I have worn both. And of course, the Wilson pads will work better in a Wilson mask.

Wilson pads worked better for me on my titanium.

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