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Mr Ump

Shot to the face...Pads question

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I have several mask (F3; Zero G, Wilson) that I rotate. Took my first flush shot in my Wilson Aluminum with Memory Pads I just bought. It was a deflection off a upper fastball but I felt it in my cheekbone.  I was originally was gonna change to Team Wendy’s (my preferred pad) but just had not.  24 hours later I had a migraine and I can go a whole year and only get 1-2 headaches much less a migraine. Picture is a previous Aluminum with TW that was stolen so ignore. 

My question is what pads do you prefer? Why?

67D2989D-1A90-4AB3-9C7E-9A8638FA428A.jpeg

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I use a force 3, because IMO it’s not just about the pads. The technology can help. And I think force 3 is the mask to do it. So many catchers in MLB are using it now. 

I have a backup I use for younger age groups, and those are Wendy’s. 

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2 hours ago, Mr Ump said:

I have several mask (F3; Zero G, Wilson) that I rotate. Took my first flush shot in my Wilson Aluminum with Memory Pads I just bought. It was a deflection off a upper fastball but I felt it in my cheekbone.  I was originally was gonna change to Team Wendy’s (my preferred pad) but just had not.  24 hours later I had a migraine and I can go a whole year and only get 1-2 headaches much less a migraine. Picture is a previous Aluminum with TW that was stolen so ignore. 

My question is what pads do you prefer? Why?

67D2989D-1A90-4AB3-9C7E-9A8638FA428A.jpeg

In memory foam, Team Wendy is the summer/hot weather go-to barrel type replacement pad for most frame types. Wilson is likewise for early season/colder weather games.

I went deeper into the subject of memory foam pad considerations based on temperatures here: https://www.ump-attire.com/Buyers-Guide/Umpire-Mask-Pads-Buying-Guide

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We talk about pads all the time, but I wore that aluminum frame for a season with a variety of them. It was incredibly painful and I was glad when the F*#King thing cracked mid-game and I had to go to my backup. It may be the frame itself.

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TW. TW.TW. And when I think otherwise, I remember TW.

They absorb so much of the energy of the ball in ways that @MadMax can explain way better than I. I have taken shots +90 and I have never yet been stung too hard. Maybe it's luck or maybe it isn't, but all my masks have TW pads that I change on a regular basis. 

I do not seek a future in finger painting, so I go with the best.

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11 hours ago, Thatsnotyou said:

I use a force 3, because IMO it’s not just about the pads. The technology can help. And I think force 3 is the mask to do it. So many catchers in MLB are using it now. 

I have a backup I use for younger age groups, and those are Wendy’s. 

I have one. The pads are not comfortable to me. 

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8 minutes ago, Kevin_K said:

TW. TW.TW. And when I think otherwise, I remember TW.

They absorb so much of the energy of the ball in ways that @MadMax can explain way better than I. I have taken shots +90 and I have never yet been stung too hard. Maybe it's luck or maybe it isn't, but all my masks have TW pads that I change on a regular basis. 

I do not seek a future in finger painting, so I go with the best.

I think you maybe right. I never feel anything with TW pads no matter the frame.

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11 hours ago, JimKirk said:

In memory foam, Team Wendy is the summer/hot weather go-to barrel type replacement pad for most frame types. Wilson is likewise for early season/colder weather games.

I went deeper into the subject of memory foam pad considerations based on temperatures here: https://www.ump-attire.com/Buyers-Guide/Umpire-Mask-Pads-Buying-Guide

Thanks for the info. I needed to re-read  this from when you first published it. I forgot to mention that the game time temp was 110 at a 7pm start. Memory Foam was ‘pillow’ soft when hit. I think I will switch them out to TW’s.

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12 hours ago, Thatsnotyou said:

I use a force 3, because IMO it’s not just about the pads. The technology can help. And I think force 3 is the mask to do it. So many catchers in MLB are using it now. 

I have a backup I use for younger age groups, and those are Wendy’s. 

I have a F3 and it is ok. I can’t get use to the pads but will keep trying.

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13 hours ago, Mr Ump said:

Thanks for the info. I needed to re-read  this from when you first published it. I forgot to mention that the game time temp was 110 at a 7pm start. Memory Foam was ‘pillow’ soft when hit. I think I will switch them out to TW’s.

I've had the same issue with the Wilson Memory Foams in the heat.

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“ Hi everyone I’m Mike Lindell for My Pillow®️Mask Pads.  My patented fill will cradle every part of your face.  Use code ARIK at checkout to get 10% off......:rolleyes:

 

 

 

 

FCA9804C-44D9-468E-860B-40EB8EAA2781.jpeg

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15 hours ago, Mr Ump said:

I have a F3 and it is ok. I can’t get use to the pads but will keep trying.

While sitting on your face, or when hit? Or both? 
 

I can’t say I notice much just resting on my face like any other pad. 

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31 minutes ago, Chris Hickman said:

“ Hi everyone I’m Mike Lindell for My Pillow®️Mask Pads.  My patented fill will cradle every part of your face.  Use code ARIK at checkout to get 10% off......:rolleyes:

 

 

 

 

FCA9804C-44D9-468E-860B-40EB8EAA2781.jpeg

I would NEVER buy from this con artist! Lol

 

I'm a Team Wendy guy. Even like them in the colder weather we get here in the spring. They are only rock hard for maybe half an inning on me. I had the Wilson memory foam and sold them off because I find them TO soft.

I just acquired a Force3 v2 this LONG off season. I am looking forward to trying it out. But wish they had a microfiber pad option, as I am not a fan of leather pads.

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16 hours ago, Kevin_K said:

TW. TW.TW. And when I think otherwise, I remember TW.

They absorb so much of the energy of the ball in ways that @MadMax can explain way better than I. I have taken shots +90 and I have never yet been stung too hard. Maybe it's luck or maybe it isn't, but all my masks have TW pads that I change on a regular basis. 

I do not seek a future in finger painting, so I go with the best.

 

15 hours ago, Mr Ump said:

I think you maybe right. I never feel anything with TW pads no matter the frame.

Its odd... my last concussion I remember having is with Team Wendy pads. That being said. Rather than blame the pads and frame. I thank them for doing their job. It rocked me pretty good. So much so it actually broke a weld on my Diamond aluminum. But that fracture and the pads doing their job changed a major concussion with another rig, to a minor one. One where I only had to avoid the plate for a week and was back on the bases 2 days later.

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2 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

I would NEVER buy from this con artist! Lol

 

I'm a Team Wendy guy. Even like them in the colder weather we get here in the spring. They are only rock hard for maybe half an inning on me. I had the Wilson memory foam and sold them off because I find them TO soft.

I just acquired a Force3 v2 this LONG off season. I am looking forward to trying it out. But wish they had a microfiber pad option, as I am not a fan of leather pads.

I wish they had a microfiber pad too. Someone tell Jim Evans

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2 hours ago, BT_Blue said:

 

Its odd... my last concussion I remember having is with Team Wendy pads. That being said. Rather than blame the pads and frame. I thank them for doing their job. It rocked me pretty good. So much so it actually broke a weld on my Diamond aluminum. But that fracture and the pads doing their job changed a major concussion with another rig, to a minor one. One where I only had to avoid the plate for a week and was back on the bases 2 days later.

The Memory Foam did their job but just not use to getting a concussion or the headache. As I type this 3 days later I am still not right when vertical. When hit with TW I don’t feel anything or very slight. I am ordering in the morning a black set.

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I like the All-Star LUC pads, but I've never taken a BIG shot in them, plus that's all I've used, so I can't really say how good they are.  I know many others on here give them great reviews.

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Just remember, sometimes a shot is going to affect you no matter what you are wearing...

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3 hours ago, Rock Bottom said:

I like the All-Star LUC pads,

The All-Star LUC pads and (from what I’ve found so far) the +POS AirChamber (my name for them) are exactly the same: coated open-cell foam blocks that have been cut-to-shape, and then jacketed in two layers of microfiber and technical mesh. There is a degree of resistance to the foam used, so I liken it to the “egg-crate” foam used in road/travel cases for high-end electronics, cameras, guns, etc. I trust All-Star’s employment of these pads, because All-Star is the only manufacturer I know of to actively test (and therefore, refine) their protective products in-house, on their own rig.

Easton has similarly trustworthy pads on its Speed Elite mask (which doesn’t get enough advertising love from us, BTW; it’s a very, very good hollow-steel mask, especially good for novice, developing umpires because of its minimal chin guard allowing just about any and every throat guard (TG) to be attached, and the oversized ear guards, which forgive head twitches, turns, and poor positioning).

All three pads I’ve listed share a trait, though – stand-off distance, AKA “thickness”. In order to achieve adequate resistance / impedance to crushing flat during an impact, the open-cell foam has to be thicker. The lighter the frame becomes, the greater the mass of pad needed to absorb the energy, or the thicker the pad has to become to increase the stand-off distance.

All-Star hit its ceiling on the thickness of the LUC pads. Thus, when they introduced the ludicrously lightweight Magnesium mask, they discovered that they couldn’t go much thicker on the pads before they became unwearable. That’s when, and why, the distributor plate was infused into the (lower) pad, so as to engage the near-entire volume of the pad during an impact instead of localized to only the point of impact.

Memory foam introduces two factors into the construction and function of pads: graduated resistance & recovery, and mass. When an impacting energy strikes, the memory foam crushes with formulaic resistance. Then, it recovers back over an equally formulaic time (not instant). It’s this recovery-over-time that’s important, because that’s where all that impacting energy goes... it’s transformed into heat and a much more gradual energy used by the foam to recover its original shape.

This is why memory foam pads – Wilson’s, and then Team Wendy’s Zorbiums – are so pliable when warm or hot. The foam is already using the ambient heat to “rebuild” its shape! Zorbium is merely a patented, proprietary, advanced memory foam developed by Team Wendy, much more dense than “common” memory foam, and possessing a formulaic resistance & recovery rate intended to mitigate the tremendous energy imparted during a head’s collision with a solid object. Because the pads have been engineered to handle all that energy (which is converted to heat), they are not very pliable while cold. In the desire to be more comfortable, Wilson has used a more common, less-advanced, less formulaic memory foam. It’s not bad, just not ideal. The problem (for them) becomes one of compromise – if they increase the thickness of the memory foam (obvious option), they increase the weight, which the “pro guys” don’t like, because they’re wearing a “heavier” mask for 3+ hours. If they shop around for a more formulaic foam, they increase the cost, which is another turn-off on sales.

You can tell that Wilson has “designed” themselves into a corner on their mask pads – the memory foam pads are using the “tubular sausage” construction, and they’ve issued advisories that mask pads should be changed yearly. Now, to be fair, Team Wendys uses the tubular sausage construction on their mask pads, too, but I cut them a little latitude here. They’re not, nor ever have been, a baseball company. Their offering of mask pads in their Zorbium is a blessing and luxury, given the other products in Team Wendy’s catalogs that certainly command more attention and demand.  They’re not issuing directives or advisories to “change your mask pads every year!”. However, do recall who is supposed to be “our” (as umpires) official and exclusive supplier, as so deigned by Major League Baseball?

Hmm? Any guesses?

If you can’t innovate new things to attract customers, just set up a repetitive frequency to purchases.

But new things are coming, from alternative sources. Just recently, UnderArmour debuted their Windpact Crash Cloud™️ mask pads on their new FM2 “Umpire’s” Mask. Instead of relying on formulaic memory foam, these pads have air bladders inside, each with valves – like heart valves – that empty the air out when put under immediate pressure, with resistance, then refill and resume their shape. All the physics of memory foam without the mass, all the volume of open-cell foam with more resistance!

Now, I’d be short-sighted if I didn’t also address leather pads. They do have their place and benefits. Leather pads are quite abrasion resistant, and wipe off reasonably well, which is important when a mask is dumped on the ground as often as a catcher’s mask does. When filled with good foam, they do cushion fairly well, and their bulk weight does very well at energy dampening and absorption. This, however, is their detractor. They’re heavier than microfiber, and get heavier when waterlogged (by sweat, especially). Leather does not do well while wet. In fact, if it stays wet, it starts to rot. On the other hand, foam, especially when compressed, wants to give water away. Consequently, in order to wick that moisture and hold it away from the leather, a lining material must be layered between the leather and the foam. Until the advent of synthetics, like what’s used in the new LMX pads from All-Star, this material was wool! It works, but adds up in heaviness and warmth. And what did we say energy was converted to? Heat!

So, the All-Star LMX pads are good, as are the Honig’s K47s, and the Wilson doeskins and wrap-arounds are serviceable, but most other leather pads are token at best.

Now, in regards to the Force3 Defender, and its leather pads, we have to consider this a one-off, different than any other mask on the market. Because of the active spring suspension on the double-frame mask, the only way it truly works is if the mask is snug and firm on your face. If the pads were softer or “cushier”, there wouldn’t be enough resistance to engage the springs! You’d have the entire mass of two frames compressing the pads and smacking against your face! From what I’ve read, Force3 is now infusing Kevlar into their pads, which definitely aids in energy absorption. This might be a prelude to doing the casing in microfiber, but for right now, the use of leather is not only for solid, comfortable fit, but for durability when the mask gets dumped on the ground by a catcher. 

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On 7/25/2020 at 8:34 PM, Thatsnotyou said:

So many catchers in MLB are using it now. 

You’re seeing more and more catchers in the Major, Minor, and college ranks wear the Force3 because it definitely reduces impact energy, thereby reducing effects-in-aggregate.

Why you’re not seeing it on MLB umpires in great quantity is not because it’s less capable or less protective than other masks, it’s because it is, understandably, heavier. The MLB guys are favoring the decidedly lighter FM4K-Mags, Wilson Aluminums, Wilson Titaniums, Nike “Icon” Titaniums, and the occasional Diamond iX3 Aluminum or Mizunos. It’s a numbers game; if they’re doing 300-400 pitches per game, and ~44 games per year, and if they do take a significant shot, which is rare (unless your name is Kerwin Danley), they’re coming out of the game (precautionary measures) anyway, then they’re going to use the lightest mask available to them.

Those of us in the lower professional and amateur ranks are going to benefit from a mask that protects us, and keeps its shape, for the long haul. 

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More guys in MLB this season appear to be using a helmet or skull cap instead of a hat. It seems to skew younger too. Were they given advice on using that during their latest equipment/injury session? It seems more “in” now. 
 

I’d like to know which ones they are using, and would definitely try one out. 

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46 minutes ago, Thatsnotyou said:

More guys in MLB this season appear to be using a helmet or skull cap instead of a hat. It seems to skew younger too. Were they given advice on using that during their latest equipment/injury session? It seems more “in” now. 
 

I’d like to know which ones they are using, and would definitely try one out. 

The skull cap with the very short bill is by All Star. They should be available for retail in September. Highly encouraged by MiLB and MLB, and umpires are starting to wear.

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3 hours ago, MadMax said:

You’re seeing more and more catchers in the Major, Minor, and college ranks wear the Force3 because it definitely reduces impact energy, thereby reducing effects-in-aggregate.

Why you’re not seeing it on MLB umpires in great quantity is not because it’s less capable or less protective than other masks, it’s because it is, understandably, heavier. The MLB guys are favoring the decidedly lighter FM4K-Mags, Wilson Aluminums, Wilson Titaniums, Nike “Icon” Titaniums, and the occasional Diamond iX3 Aluminum or Mizunos. It’s a numbers game; if they’re doing 300-400 pitches per game, and ~44 games per year, and if they do take a significant shot, which is rare (unless your name is Kerwin Danley), they’re coming out of the game (precautionary measures) anyway, then they’re going to use the lightest mask available to them.

Those of us in the lower professional and amateur ranks are going to benefit from a mask that protects us, and keeps its shape, for the long haul. 

I have a very thick neck so the weight doesn't bother me. I could never get the harness on the F3 adjusted so that my hat would stay on.

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14 minutes ago, umpstu said:

I have a very thick neck so the weight doesn't bother me. I could never get the harness on the F3 adjusted so that my hat would stay on.

Try placing the side straps on a different bar.

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