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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 09:44am
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Vindication! (finally)

ASA and the "Helmet."

I switched to the helmet five years ago, which meant that I was not wearing a hat during the game. I wear a hat to the field, and up to the throwdown after the initial warm-up pitches. Then I tuck the hat into the fence next to my water bottle and kitchen timer, and p/u and put on the helmet for the rest of the game. At the end of the game I put the hat back on and exit the field.

I received assurances from both our State H.S. and State ASA associations that this would be acceptable for tournaments. I worked both high school tournaments and the ASA State JO tournament wearing the helmet.

But I received a lot of grief here, and on other umpire boards from the ASA purists for being "out of uniform." At my age, I have no interest in traveling outside my area to call tournaments, so advancing to regional or national tournaments is not on my agenda. Thus I kept wearing the helmet.

ASA moves slow - but they do move. Today I received from our state ASA association a letter from Kevin Ryan officially sanctioning the wearing of a helmet without a hat. Kevin does say that he wants umpires to buy a helmet that will allow for wearing a hat - BUT - for those that do not have that style - being without a hat is acceptable!

The complete text:

06-23-08

All,

We have been asked many times recently about the ability to wear a helmet mask by the plate umpire without a cap. As we all know the helmet style mask is relatively new to softball umpiring. We have said in the past that our uniform includes a cap for all the umpires on the field. However; we have also seen where a cap can make the helmet mask fit incorrectly. There are helmet masks available and made to accept a cap underneath it. Where we strongly recommend that if a plate umpire decides to wear a helmet mask they purchase the one that will accept a cap underneath it. It is also strongly recommended that a cap should be worn underneath it, should a plate umpire wear a helmet mask. If an umpire does wear a helmet style mask and can not fit a cap underneath it remember they will not be like the rest of their crew, but it will be allowed.

Kevin Ryan
ASA Supervisor of Umpires



(emphasis mine)

WMB

Last edited by WestMichBlue; Tue Jun 24, 2008 at 09:46am.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 10:22am
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I am still not a fan of umpires running around with their hair all mussed up. I just don't think it looks very professional.
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 10:36am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestMichBlue
ASA and the "Helmet."

I switched to the helmet five years ago, which meant that I was not wearing a hat during the game. I wear a hat to the field, and up to the throwdown after the initial warm-up pitches. Then I tuck the hat into the fence next to my water bottle and kitchen timer, and p/u and put on the helmet for the rest of the game. At the end of the game I put the hat back on and exit the field.

I received assurances from both our State H.S. and State ASA associations that this would be acceptable for tournaments. I worked both high school tournaments and the ASA State JO tournament wearing the helmet.

But I received a lot of grief here, and on other umpire boards from the ASA purists for being "out of uniform." At my age, I have no interest in traveling outside my area to call tournaments, so advancing to regional or national tournaments is not on my agenda. Thus I kept wearing the helmet.

ASA moves slow - but they do move. Today I received from our state ASA association a letter from Kevin Ryan officially sanctioning the wearing of a helmet without a hat. Kevin does say that he wants umpires to buy a helmet that will allow for wearing a hat - BUT - for those that do not have that style - being without a hat is acceptable!

The complete text:

06-23-08

All,

We have been asked many times recently about the ability to wear a helmet mask by the plate umpire without a cap. As we all know the helmet style mask is relatively new to softball umpiring. We have said in the past that our uniform includes a cap for all the umpires on the field. However; we have also seen where a cap can make the helmet mask fit incorrectly. There are helmet masks available and made to accept a cap underneath it. Where we strongly recommend that if a plate umpire decides to wear a helmet mask they purchase the one that will accept a cap underneath it. It is also strongly recommended that a cap should be worn underneath it, should a plate umpire wear a helmet mask. If an umpire does wear a helmet style mask and can not fit a cap underneath it remember they will not be like the rest of their crew, but it will be allowed.

Kevin Ryan
ASA Supervisor of Umpires
(emphasis mine)

WMB
Another GAGA decision. Personally, I would never recommend this equipment for an umpire.

There is no doubt that they offer the maximum amount of protection to an umpire's head from injury. I'm sure this may not be true for all, but the feedback I have received concerning this piece of equipment is that it is a snug fit.

A member of my staff which works both big and little ball is being treated for a whiplash injury which has been attributed to the helmet mask he was wearing at the time he took a hard foul to the face.

When an umpire wearing a regular mask gets hit with a foul and the mask ends up pushed to the side of his/her head, it may look funny and silly, but that is exactly what should happen. That "give" keeps the brunt of the impact from being felt by the umpire. Given my druthers, I'd rather have a few people laugh at me for a couple of seconds than risk neck injury.

JMHO
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 10:36am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skahtboi
I am still not a fan of umpires running around with their hair all mussed up.
I haven't had that problem since the 80's . . .
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  #5 (permalink)  
Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 11:00am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IRISHMAFIA
There is no doubt that they offer the maximum amount of protection to an umpire's head from injury. I'm sure this may not be true for all, but the feedback I have received concerning this piece of equipment is that it is a snug fit.
Think football helmet, with a ring of padding around the crown of the head. That is the protection you speak of; also the reason why hats don't fit.

Quote:
When an umpire wearing a regular mask gets hit with a foul and the mask ends up pushed to the side of his/her head, it may look funny and silly, but that is exactly what should happen. That "give" keeps the brunt of the impact from being felt by the umpire.
If you get hit square in the center of the face mask it doesn't turn; you absorb all the energy of the ball. I had an 80 mph baseball pitch put me flat on my back with my old iron cage.

Because of the angle of the helmet, most hits to the head will deflect off the helmet. The backstop absorbs the energy rather than your head.

Besides the safety issue, the helmet - IMO - is more comfortable to wear; cooler and with better visability.

There must be some reason why every BB and SB catcher in the country, from T-ball to MLB is wearing the helmet. Even MLB umpires are now wearing it.

Yes, the hair gets messed up. I try to keep my hair short during the season, and the comb comes out a few times between innings.

WMB
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 11:08am
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You really do take this kind of stuff personally, don't you? Or, maybe you just love taking shots at ASA. I thought ASA was not that big in your area, or did I "misremember" something in another thread?

(Special thanks to The Rocket for adding a very useful word to the American Lexicon!)
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  #7 (permalink)  
Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 12:45pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WestMichBlue
If you get hit square in the center of the face mask it doesn't turn; you absorb all the energy of the ball. I had an 80 mph baseball pitch put me flat on my back with my old iron cage.
Then, IMO, your mask was too tight. In all my years of baseball, even wearing the cast iron mask, it ALWAYS moved when hit, square or not.

Quote:
Because of the angle of the helmet, most hits to the head will deflect off the helmet. The backstop absorbs the energy rather than your head.

Besides the safety issue, the helmet - IMO - is more comfortable to wear; cooler and with better visability.
I can only reference the feedback I've gotten. No argument with the protection. I think the visibility depends on the individuals experience. Once I got rid of the iron, I've never had an issue with visibility. I don't doubt your claim and that isn't my issue.

I agree with Scott's observations that do not look professional. Not a big fan of the umpires staring down the base line on fair or foul calls with the helmet still in place. Every time I see that, I look for Godzilla to be walking onto the field.

Quote:
There must be some reason why every BB and SB catcher in the country, from T-ball to MLB is wearing the helmet. Even MLB umpires are now wearing it.
Could it be for the same reason the MLB umpires wear different color shirts and don't use a balloon protecter, because it isn't stylish?

AFA catchers, they do not have the same priorities. They rarely get the big hit because they have a glove and move (or just duck and let it hit the umpire ). The umpire is trained to stay in a vulnerable position and trust the catcher to stop the ball.

Quote:
Yes, the hair gets messed up. I try to keep my hair short during the season, and the comb comes out a few times between innings.
And that is a good thing that you take that action to be more presentable on the field. However, that is you. There are probably plenty of umpires with a fair amount of hair that don't give a damn about how they look sans helmet and that is where it gets ugly.

WMB[/quote]
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 12:56pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skahtboi
I am still not a fan of umpires running around with their hair all mussed up. I just don't think it looks very professional.
I don't wear that style helmet, however, I solved the mussed up look.

I SHAVED my head.

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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 01:57pm
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I have considered going to the helmet because of an incident last year. I made a stupid mistake and ducked on a foul ball, needless to say the next thing I knew I was looking up, flat on my back and several people over me calling my name.

Problem is, of all the ones I have tried on I have not been able to find one that feels comfortable and that I can remove quickly without hitting my glasses and dislodging them. Granted it may not be adjusted properly yet and/or I have not had very much practice with it.

I actually come from a Hockey background and played goalie for many years with the old fiberglass type mask, so when I find one I think Ican adjust to fit I will like it much better.

As for the hair, I wear mine very short, but realize that is not always the case with all umpires.
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 02:20pm
SRW SRW is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IN ASA BLUE
I have considered going to the helmet because of an incident last year. I made a stupid mistake and ducked on a foul ball, needless to say the next thing I knew I was looking up, flat on my back and several people over me calling my name.

Problem is, of all the ones I have tried on I have not been able to find one that feels comfortable and that I can remove quickly without hitting my glasses and dislodging them. Granted it may not be adjusted properly yet and/or I have not had very much practice with it.

I actually come from a Hockey background and played goalie for many years with the old fiberglass type mask, so when I find one I think Ican adjust to fit I will like it much better.

As for the hair, I wear mine very short, but realize that is not always the case with all umpires.
Recommendations:
1. Don't duck.
2. Get contacts or lasik.
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 04:29pm
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At the clinic I attended this year an ump told me he switched to a goalie-style helmet (All Star, I believe) because he took one square in the mask last year and got a concussion. I bought one (Nike Pro Gold) a couple summers ago but I cannot wear a hat under it, so I just sold it on ebay (for a $10 profit!) and ordered a Diamond one.
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 10:16pm
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^Now that is what I call redundancy.^
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 10:17pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whiskers_ump
I don't wear that style helmet, however, I solved the mussed up look.

I SHAVED my head.


I have been known to do that myself, though right about now I am sporting really short hair, where I have it that is.
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 10:18pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ntxblue
I haven't had that problem since the 80's . . .

Eh...you still have more than I do.
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Old Tue Jun 24, 2008, 10:24pm
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I've been looking for a HSM but so far none have fit right. Some parks I work are simply dangerous with passed/foul balls. When I find one, I will buy it and wear it at those parks.

In lieu of that, I've looked for protective skull caps which would fit under my hat but I've never been able to find one.

Wearing a hat under a HSM is lame.

I have a crew cut of whats left of my hair so the hair messed up thing is a non issue.
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