A baseball umpire puts his body and safety on the line at every game in a very different way than players. On the field, players move in response to one another’s actions, say, someone pitching or catching, and will naturally be saved by their superb reflexes from getting hurt unnecessarily. The umpire must stay still in the middle of the commotion and keep his eye on players in motion. As an umpire, you are quite vulnerable to an Akadema mitt or Mizuno shoe flying up in the air towards you, or a swinging bat! It would be smart to mind prices when it comes to buying baseball umpire equipment like uniforms, caps, hats, shirts, pants, jackets, shoes, and accessories like a glove conditioner. However, buying protective umpire gear on the cheap is probably the worst thing you can do. You should not compromise on protection, comfort, and flexibility.
Whether for baseball or softball, an umpire needs a protective helmet, first and foremost. A Hall of Fame umpires like Johnny Bench or Doug Harvey can tell you that a solid wood ball hitter is going to hurt, and you have no idea how much. A protective gear package for umpires will typically consist of a face mask, leg guard plus shin guard, and chest protector. Wilson Sporting Goods, labeled as the “Official Umpire Gear” of Major League Baseball (MLB), will certainly have some of the most trustworthy baseball umpire equipment. Wilson has invested heavily in research and development plus innovation and enlisted Major League umpire Joe West, who has now launched his own line, West Vest Equipment, and Gerry Davis to help design its products.
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It goes without saying that an umpire’s helmet and a face mask should be engineered to provide maximum protection and durability, specifically, powerful shock resistance and a tough shell-like ABS. What is often neglected here is the value of comfort, which should not be the case as you will sweat and squint through that titanium face mask for the entirety of a game. Airflow and visibility should be excellent as well as the fit, such as with form-conforming and wide-angle styles plus velcro adjustments. Paddings and linings should be absorbent and able to control moisture penetration, such as with multi-tiered durable EPP foam and open cell foam. A material like chrome molybdenum alloy will be lightweight and comfortable.
Protective baseball umpire equipment should be tough on outside forces but not tough on you. A chest protector should be designed to ensure excellent protection, sturdiness and fit in the breastplate and shoulder plate areas. Side paddings and the neck pad should enhance its snug fit while the addition of mesh back panels and adjustable, removable shoulder cups promotes air flow and extra comfort. Leg guards and shin guards should likewise be extremely protective and resilient in the ankle plate and kneecap areas, respectively. Moreover, you should make sure they fit comfortably without causing irritation where the impact is highest, such as with velcro paddings and removable instep guards. They will be protecting connective joints, which are sure to bend constantly.