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Thoughts on All-Star "I-bar" LUC mask


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It’s not your fault, @Scissors, but All-Star I-Bar LUC mask is not its name. That’s what some lazy bozo on Amazon called it, based solely on the obvious clues on it – made by All-Star, it has these th

There is nothing wrong with them.  They aren't any better than the newer masks though. They are lightweight (hollow steel version vs. old solid steel) and the I-bar's offer you a good view.  The

More on this ........ I agree w/ @wolfe_man in that having the MAG doesn't get much better.  That being said however, the FM25 is a total work-horse!   If you want/need a back up, and want to go

There is nothing wrong with them.  They aren't any better than the newer masks though.

They are lightweight (hollow steel version vs. old solid steel) and the I-bar's offer you a good view.  The double-wire design makes the mask stronger than a single bar design (for hollow steel again). 

For view comparison, the MAG also utilizes the I-bar design.  Just the "blades" on the MAG are a bit wider than a regular mask (FM4K, FM2K or FM25 shown above).   The I-bar is designed to give you less horizontal obstruction so you can see more of what's happening in front of you (the strike zone). 

For feel, the MAG is so wicked light that I'm not sure anything can offer a similar feel - except for a titanium or possibly a super lightweight hollow steel mask.

With that said, if you have the MAG then you have arguably the lightest, strongest, best-looking <my opinion> and most well-designed traditional mask on the market.   The F3 is in another category, but for traditional masks (read non-springs) there simply isn't a better mask out there than the MAG in my humble opinion.

Oh, and one last thing, the MLB guys wearing these I'm guessing are the old-school guys like Cuzzi and Culbreth.  Sometimes guys just like wearing what's familiar.  Like an old pair of shoes or jeans that no longer look so great, we tend to keep wearing them because they're comfortable to us.  Many times, umpires are the same way.  We tend to stick with what we know or see the MLB guys wear... when we should do what they do and wear what we love and have proved worthy.

 

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6 hours ago, wolfe_man said:

With that said, if you have the MAG then you have arguably the lightest, strongest, best-looking <my opinion> and most well-designed traditional mask on the market.   The F3 is in another category, but for traditional masks (read non-springs) there simply isn't a better mask out there than the MAG in my humble opinion.

 

Thanks for the feedback, and glad to hear I made a good choice with the mag. I have the black frame with leather pads and think it looks absolutely great. I'll be sticking with it then :)

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More on this ........

I agree w/ @wolfe_man in that having the MAG doesn't get much better.  That being said however, the FM25 is a total work-horse!   If you want/need a back up, and want to go inexpensive, I'd HIGHLY recommend an FM25!

Definitely stick w/ the LUC pads on it also.  Lots of people dislike or speak of a 'double-bar' as a negative, but w/ the I-bar vision, not at all.  I used an FM25 for a few seasons and it's wonderful.  Hollow steel is still light, and this mask is well balanced and feels good on your face (especially w/ the LUC pads as they don't grab stubble either)

Just my .02 :nod: 

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16 hours ago, Scissors said:

Thanks for the feedback, and glad to hear I made a good choice with the mag. I have the black frame with leather pads and think it looks absolutely great. I'll be sticking with it then :)

If you love the mag and are looking for a hollow steel backup, I'd recommend the All-Star FM4000 steel. It's only 17.0 ounces compared to 16.8 for the Mag, and basically the same shape. Ump-attire has a black powdercoated one for only $109.99 (you can buy direct from All-Star too, but I think it's about the same price with shipping, and UA has an awesome return policy.  https://www.ump-attire.com/Products/FM4000-MBK/All-Star-Matte-Black-System-7-Steel-Umpire-Mask-with-UltraCool

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On 12/16/2020 at 1:56 PM, Rock Bottom said:

If you love the mag and are looking for a hollow steel backup, I'd recommend the All-Star FM4000 steel. It's only 17.0 ounces compared to 16.8 for the Mag, and basically the same shape. Ump-attire has a black powdercoated one for only $109.99 (you can buy direct from All-Star too, but I think it's about the same price with shipping, and UA has an awesome return policy.  https://www.ump-attire.com/Products/FM4000-MBK/All-Star-Matte-Black-System-7-Steel-Umpire-Mask-with-UltraCool

Thanks for mentioning this and your compliments. It's Christmas so we dropped the price a bit to make it more desirable for anyone who is interested.

We feel really good about this umpire mask and asked All-Star if they could powder coat that for us as we liked the black-on-black a little better than their catalog item with the silver frame. We feel this is the go-to lower price point mask choice in the All-Star line.

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1 hour ago, JimKirk said:

Thanks for mentioning this and your compliments. It's Christmas so we dropped the price a bit to make it more desirable for anyone who is interested.

We feel really good about this umpire mask and asked All-Star if they could powder coat that for us as we liked the black-on-black a little better than their catalog item with the silver frame. We feel this is the go-to lower price point mask choice in the All-Star line.

WOW! Such a deal!  I had to spend that much just to get my 2 FM4000s steels powdercoated.  

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It’s not your fault, @Scissors, but All-Star I-Bar LUC mask is not its name. That’s what some lazy bozo on Amazon called it, based solely on the obvious clues on it – made by All-Star, it has these things called I-Bars, and LUC? someone said there’s LUC on there somewhere. 

It’s actually the legendary FM25. It was originally designed for catchers, featuring rectangular ear guards, a pronounced chin guard that could serve as a throat guard, and a double-wire eyeport. Rawlings and Wilson had competing models. Despite Nike debuting the iconic single-wire Titanium at the turn of the century, All-Star never abandoned the reliability of the double-wire design, instead perfecting it with I-bar construction. Only the FM1000, 2000, and 4000 saw All-Star depart from two-wire, marked by an emphasis on deflection geometry over conventional expectations. 

Only 3 MLB guys use conventional double wire catchers masks, as I’m able to remember: Reynolds, Culbreath, and Cuzzi. Is there a performance gain? Not at all. As crass as it sounds, other than guys like Kerwin Danley (critical injury) or Tom Hallion (frequency), what mask the MLB guys wear is largely irrelevant, and simple vanity. Why? Because of three implications: 

  1. A MLB umpire only works, at most, 45-50 (if we count Spring Training) plates per year. They have less exposure to “likely impacts”. 
  2. In the modern game (or as Tim Kirkjian says, “In today’s game of the Live Ball era...”), if a MLB umpire takes an impact to the face/head, regardless of a mask’s protective integrity, that umpire is typically coming out of the game, or off the plate role. Medical and triage procedure now is a very slow and deliberate evaluation of head trauma. As such, the question (just the question alone) as to whether or not the umpire’s judgement and discernment of balls & strikes has been affected by that impact is too indeterminate for the Game to wait... it is simply easier and more satisfactory to the participants that the plate umpire is exchanged and replaced. Every MLB crew travels with 4, and COVID procedures saw some crews travel, or be deployed with 5, with one guy waiting and ready to go “on alert”. Thus, the particulars of mask protection are largely irrelevant.
  3. If an umpire’s mask hits the ground after an impact from a pitched or struck ball, that mask is considered a failed, or compromised mask, and can no longer be used. Such is the nature of insurance underwriting with MLB umpires that the mask is considered “worn properly” if it is secured to and about the head, covers the face completely, and is itself structurally sound and intact. If the mask flies off, we know that that’s a “good thing”, and that the bulk of the impacting energy is in the mask... knocking it off and away from your head. But not to an insurance underwriter. They don’t know or understand physics. They don’t want to know physics! Is the mask supposed to do that? Fly off like that? Was it tested and designed to do that? We have no documentation about that doing so... So no? So if that mask flies off, and hits the ground, that mask is viewed as a failure. Because according to the insurance agent, it’s nice that the umpire is OK, but can we now be assured that that mask is going to behave that way again? Has its protective qualities been affected by impacting the ground? Due to these uncertainties, most MLB umpires – the call-ups especially – don’t put a lot of uniqueness into their masks. Why would they? If it gets knocked off, and can’t be used anymore, why waste a near-one-of-a-kind SSK when you can just use a base-model Wilson Dynalite that is sitting there in the umpire room, supplied, because Wilson is (still, ugh) the EStMLB. 

With that said, those points seem to indicate that the Force3 Defender would be the ideal mask. It is supposed to be worn tight, providing a firm fit and base to let the springs function in the most effective manner possible. The only factor that hinders its widespread use, in Major League Baseball, is weight. Because these guys get hit so infrequently, and because it’s understood that they’ll be taken off plate in the event of an impact anyway, most eschew or opt out of the weight that the Defender inherently has. 

Until Wilson (finally) figured it out, and started making their own version, know what mask was the overwhelming most popular mask in Minor League Baseball for awhile? The aluminum Diamond iX3. Oh sure, the Nike Icon Titanium was the most revered, but the most popular? That Diamond iX3 had the three best properties in it that really appealed to Minor League guys – it was light (great when you’re doing 80-100+ plates per year), it wouldn’t bend (great when you’ve got an evaluator nitpicking your appearance on every game), and it was cheap (great when you’re on the Minors budget). 

Want to know how Diamond added $25 to the cost of their masks? Simple. Wilson showed up, selling their DynaLite Aluminum for $110-120. A rising tide lifts all boats. 

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Jim Reynolds has worn it the past two seasons having gone back to it after wearing the black Wilson ti followed by the black Wilson aluminum.  Mike Everitt returned to the FM25 in 2019 after sitting out 2018 after an opening day game concussion/hit that sidelined him.  Of note, he was wearing the new All Star Mag.  He had switched from the Wilson aluminum.  Have a good day. 

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4 hours ago, acpar72 said:

Jim Reynolds has worn it the past two seasons having gone back to it after wearing the black Wilson ti followed by the black Wilson aluminum.  Mike Everitt returned to the FM25 in 2019 after sitting out 2018 after an opening day game concussion/hit that sidelined him.  Of note, he was wearing the new All Star Mag.  He had switched from the Wilson aluminum.  Have a good day. 

Is this the hit you're talking about?

 

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5 hours ago, acpar72 said:

Of note, he was wearing the new All Star Mag.

 

1 hour ago, AL-Ump said:

Is this the hit you're talking about?

Everitt was one of the first (if not the first, at least the most evident) MLB Umpires to regularly wear a hard hat (what we call a skullcap). Using a conventional, standard skullcap – like the Rawlings CoolFlo – is admirable, but impossible with a FM4K or FM5K (the Mag) because of the geometry. The forehead section of those masks are dramatically more shallow than other masks, such that you’re limited to a 4-stitch hat in there, safely. You’re going to be really risking things with a 6-stitch (I do, and I know it), and you can absolutely fergetaboutit (did I say that right, @conbo61?) on a skullcap or 8-stitch. 

This was the motive force behind the All-Star Cobalt Skuly, and its shortened, 4-stitch-equivalent brim. 

Watching that impact, if Everitt’s wearing a Cobalt Skuly under that Mag? Much, much higher chance of “No Injury”.

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16 hours ago, MadMax said:

 

Everitt was one of the first (if not the first, at least the most evident) MLB Umpires to regularly wear a hard hat (what we call a skullcap). Using a conventional, standard skullcap – like the Rawlings CoolFlo – is admirable, but impossible with a FM4K or FM5K (the Mag) because of the geometry. The forehead section of those masks are dramatically more shallow than other masks, such that you’re limited to a 4-stitch hat in there, safely. You’re going to be really risking things with a 6-stitch (I do, and I know it), and you can absolutely fergetaboutit (did I say that right, @conbo61?) on a skullcap or 8-stitch. 

This was the motive force behind the All-Star Cobalt Skuly, and its shortened, 4-stitch-equivalent brim. 

Watching that impact, if Everitt’s wearing a Cobalt Skuly under that Mag? Much, much higher chance of “No Injury”.

Very close...

"Fuhgeddaboudit" 

"A" for effort.

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