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11 hours ago, BretMan said:

Lots of talk about the new Cobalt...but I see that there’s another new CP from All Star on the Ump Attire website. How about that F3 clone-looking soft cover hard shell? Looks interesting. Has it been out for awhile or is it as new as the Cobalt?

Thanks for mentioning. I wouldn’t frame it with the F3. The only similarities there is it’s black and looks cool.

It’s more like the Diamond iX3 without extensions, but with padding, protection and materials upgrades.

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Product is not finished yet. We are meeting with them next week to go over things before production begins. Full and accurate details to come when the time is right.

@Rock Bottom The $125 is purchase on the final version - see our recently released video. We met with All-Star, yes a couple adjustments but the one that customers will receive on the pre-order will b

I got to use this CP in a game a few days ago. It fit me very well around the torso and shoulders. It is low profile and protective. I took off the gap plates and just shortened up the shoulder caps w

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Like I said on the stream, the CPU26 was the biggest surprise. The cobalt is awesome but I expected it to be awesome. I didn’t not have high expectations for a “soft shell” but this floored me. The interior plates are STOUT! And this thing is light. Like, did I forget to put on my chest protector light. 
 

@JimKirk the diamond comparison is apt, but the quality level to my eye, (I see a lot of diamonds with my newer trainees), is far above. 

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Greetings brothers,

     I just wanted to weigh in on Cobalt and really All-Star in general...

     First, we should all thank @JimKirk, @Matt Arcovio, Tommy Owens and of course, Stan Jurga at All-Star for putting together this tremendous video presentation of the new Cobalt line. The video is nearly 2 hours and I'm sure took many more hours of planning to prepare for...and it's offered to anyone for free. This video should be required viewing for all umpires at any level. Whether you are in the market for new gear or not, there's a lot of great information about the general state of umpire equipment and All-Star's approach in the marketplace. Beyond their Mg mask, I have never really given much thought to All-Star. That has all changed now after this video...now, I'm not saying I'm going to run out and gear up with new All-Star equipment but, the Cobalt CP especially should be given serious consideration for anyone going forward. The CPU26 (as mentioned) is indeed a great option for those looking for something lightweight to be used for calling lower level youth ball, softball umpires or anyone looking for a value-priced option and ditto on the Cobalt shins.

     For me, the BIG TAKEAWAY was the Catalyst Cryohelmet V2. Concussions are absolutely a real concern for all of us, especially behind the plate of course. As Jim says, it's a game fee for most of us to purchase one of these and it might just be the difference between staying home from our day jobs and going to work as normal the next day. It might mean the difference between taking a few weeks off and returning to the field or never umpiring again. No guarantees of course because the same force in the same spot affects each person differently. This device can absolutely help. It's on my list and it should be on yours, too.

     The skull cap is next-gen. The look is definitely not there yet for me but, again I cannot dispute the science, research and design that was executed here. If I was leaning towards more protection than what a traditional mask provides, I would go HSM before a skull cap. I'd also like to be on the record now that within 10-15 years, MLB will no doubt require PUs to wear a skull cap or HSM. About 4 weeks ago, Joe West caught a back swing and was cut for stitches and likely at least mildly concussed and he is but one in a long, long list of guys who have been injured to that degree or more. A skull cap or HSM would have reduced his injury.

     In closing Jim, you have obviously been working closely with Stan and everyone at All-Star in the development of the Cobalt line. They are not just a supplier and you are not just their client. This relationship has clearly crossed over into a true partnership and all baseball and softball umpires globally and the game of baseball itself will benefit. I worked in hotel sales and marketing for 10 years and this was the kind of relationships with our clients that we were always working towards and only seldom achieving. I congratulate you and All-Star and all continued success for the future! I hope we all have more opportunities in the future to view similar types of videos (Ump-Attire TV or UA-TV?) with all the great suppliers and manufacturers out there that you work with. Judging by the traffic here, Wilson, Force3 and Diamond would be welcome programs for sure. In the meantime, tell Ty to keep those individual product reviews coming and thanks again for all that you do to keep us connected to the choices in the marketplace!

~Dog

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@BT_Blue as I was reading down through the posts, I was thinking the same.  I was going to ask @JimKirk if Dr Stan had mentioned any possible dates for the Cannon Show.  Then, I get here and you already asked.

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10 hours ago, Aging_Arbiter said:

@BT_Blue as I was reading down through the posts, I was thinking the same.  I was going to ask @JimKirk if Dr Stan had mentioned any possible dates for the Cannon Show.  Then, I get here and you already asked.

I think this is more a Tommy Owens question than a Jim Kirk question. As the producer of what seems like almost every umpire centric zoom call worth watching. It is in his and Stan's court to bring us the fun.

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On 8/30/2020 at 10:48 PM, SeeingEyeDog said:

The look is definitely not there yet for me but, again I cannot dispute the science, research and design that was executed here. If I was leaning towards more protection than what a traditional mask provides, I would go HSM before a skull cap.

What’s lacking?

And, furthermore, what properties does a HSM – designed and optimized for catchers – make it more attractive to you than the Skuly and the “best” TM?

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7 hours ago, MadMax said:

What’s lacking?

And, furthermore, what properties does a HSM – designed and optimized for catchers – make it more attractive to you than the Skuly and the “best” TM?

There's lots of equipment out there. And if there was one mask that was the best then that would be the only one for sale and that would be the only one we wear. What works best for you is not perhaps what works best for me. This is America. We love our choices. Witness...the Oreo aisle at the grocery store. #DoubleStuf4Evuh

All-Star's skully while engineered and built with modern technologies still sits a bit too high on the head, in my judgement. And I'm just evaluating this from seeing Doc Jurga, Jr. wear it.  I have not worn one yet myself. I have a prodigious melon with an equally prodigious occipital lobe. Even a normal baseball cap (7 7/8 - 8) sits up on my head. The skully is practical. It works. It does offer more protection than not wearing one at all. But, in order for anything to protect, it has to fit.

An FM4000 Mag with skully is $284.98. It's also 2 pieces of equipment and you would consider adding $15 - $25 to upgrade the harness. You are now pushing $300. In the end, it wouldn't be comfortable for me, it wouldn't fit me so, it might not protect me.

A Force3 Defender HSM is $149.99 and is one piece and I know it's comfortable, it will fit me so, it may protect me. It will protect me better than a skully rig.

I'm not here bad mouthing All-Star or their gear. On the contrary and as I stated above, there is clearly a great deal of research and development going into their products. They are doing things the right way, in my judgement, by collecting and responding to umpire-specific feedback. I will continue to look to All-Star when I am shopping for gear where I did not at all before and I hope all of you do, too.

~Dog

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Thanks for your thorough answer. Let’s dive in...

4 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

All-Star's skully while engineered and built with modern technologies still sits a bit too high on the head, in my judgement. And I'm just evaluating this from seeing Doc Jurga, Jr. wear it.  I have not worn one yet myself. I have a prodigious melon with an equally prodigious occipital lobe. Even a normal baseball cap (7 7/8 - 8) sits up on my head.

Okay, fair point. I’m correcting and clarifying only your terminology, not the essence of your point. I would agree with you that it doesn’t drop, sweep, or project “down” far enough, especially at the temples and the back. In my drafts of “it” – the ideal hard hat for umpires – I envisioned something more akin to how hockey helmets protect, especially at the temples, then sweeping up and over the ear, then sweeping down and cupping the occipital lobe. Then ventilate the snot out of it. Of course, keep the shortened visor, or brim, to it.

The Skuly comes up just short because it’s still built off the principal of a batting helmet or catcher’s skullcap, especially that catchers turn theirs around and wear it backwards. Granted, All-Star has begun to address this, with the occipital cradle and much more specific, customized fit padding inside. Have you ever seen the inside of a Wilson skullcap?? It’s a bedpan! There’s a leather band running around the perimeter, and a foam puck at the crown. That’s it! Rawlings isn’t much better, but at least the CoolFlo version is better padded and better ventilated.

What we need to avoid using are the words “look” or “style”. We, as an umpire community, from top to bottom, have to get past how a piece of gear looks, or how its style doesn’t fit so-and-so’s feelings on style.

4 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

An FM4000 Mag with skully is $284.98. It's also 2 pieces of equipment...

The Skuly is $60, but can be used in conjunction with any TM, from any other manufacturer, including a Force3 Defender. Would I wear it with a Defender? Oh heck yes! Especially since the Defender is heavily dependent upon having a snug fit, and the Skuly can distribute the drag load on your head upon the shell of the Skuly.

The Defender solves “the problem” through mechanical means and mass “tuning”. The FM5000 (and its sibling the FM4000) solves it through geometry and materials science. Both are valid. The other companies are simply propagating mask designs based on “what we’ve done before”, and... shocking! here’s those words again!... look or style.

4 hours ago, SeeingEyeDog said:

A Force3 Defender HSM is $149.99 and is one piece and I know it's comfortable, it will fit me so, it may protect me. It will protect me better than a skully rig.

Ah, we have to see the Defender HSM at $199 instead of it on sale, since it being on sale doesn’t reflect its comparative value. Also, we don’t know whether the Defender HSM is on sale due to a special, or if it’s end-of-line or end-of-version. 

To your credit, you chose one of the most advanced HSMs on the market, and one that has the best chance of fitting you. However, it too has a character flaw, a flaw that is inherit to all HSMs on the market – they’re designed for catchers, who (typically) have smaller heads, who drop and tuck their chins to receive and block pitches, who take impacts from a variety of angles, who routinely dump their masks onto the ground (but shouldn’t need to), and who throw, from the ear and cheek. Of these “for catchers” HSMs, you’re not going to find any that are more technically sound than the Force3 (by mechanicals) and the All-Star MVP (by geometry). Wilson had a serviceable, almost ideal, HSM for umpires in the Shock FX, but terminated it because they were losing money and market share on it with catchers. The succeeding Pro Stock is an exceptional design for catchers, but provides very little padding or stand-off distance in the chin, and is extremely limited in its sizing (I think it tops out at 7 5/8”), with a very narrow neck opening so as to allow catchers to throw from the ear... which is where the Shock FX impeded catchers.

Similar can be said about all the other HSMs on the market, with features and styling to enable catchers to do their job, frequently without having to take the HSM off. To that point, what is it that we, as amateur umpires, are expected to do by evaluators and baseball participants so as to observe, rule, and adjudge plays? We are (supposed) to take our mask off! 

Yeah, you’ll get annoyed with taking off your bucket, and then squeezing your head back into it, after the umpteenth time that game, and wonder why there isn’t something better. :question1:

This all changes... the ball starts rolling... the dominoes start falling... when a company actually takes us seriously, and designs something for us; and, when we stop settling for afterthoughts and “might work”s.

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5 hours ago, MadMax said:

 

The Defender solves “the problem” through mechanical means and mass “tuning”. The FM5000 (and its sibling the FM4000) solves it through geometry and materials science. Both are valid. 

What's the FM5000?! Is that a Maxism for the FM4000 Mag? Lol

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8 minutes ago, Rock Bottom said:

What's the FM5000?!

The Cobalt CP is the CPU5000. The FM4000 Magnesium is being promoted as the face of the Cobalt line or family... so may as well call it the FM5000, too.

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