Jim Goes Parental with Umpire Cap & Bill Length Warning on Umpire-Empire Post

Sep 3rd, 2020

Right vs Wrong Umpire Bill Length

What umpire cap bill length should you wear when working the plate? Eject your traditional thinking. Read below. New style masks are changing what cap-stitch you should (and shouldn't wear) today.

See my 2 warnings below...in response to someone who felt a 6-stich hardshell cap would work for an All-Star Mag mask (It Won't!).

"You guys are starting to learn that I am like the over-protective father at times...but I would heavily caution you on wearing a longer bill hard shell cap.

We shared pics and wrote about this is at relates to buckets, but it applies to masks, too. (Article shows that different helmets have more or less space where cap bills are).

It used to be that all traditional masks were that rounded frame, except for the new view low profile mask from Wilson. NOT ANYMORE.

READ CAREFULLY (BIG WARNING AHEAD)

The All Star Mag masks and the Champro Rampage are more angled. Therefore, where your cap bill sits, there is less room there on these masks than on the rounded traditional ones. (read that again please.)

So, yes, you’re going to have watch your 6-stitch traditional cap with these, too. I always err on the side of caution, and I’m suggesting 4-stitch all the way when you wear the 2 style masks above if you wear a traditional cap - not a 6.

It’s why Stan and All-Star designed the SC900 (skull cap) for umpires to have a shorter bill. The new bill is right-sized. Anything else, including the SC500 (coach's helmet) and Rawlings Cool Flo is too long. Stay with me. Read further.

All-Star Cobalt Umpire Skull Cap Side Profile

BIG WARNING #2

I hear guys all the time say 'Heck I can get a 6 (sometimes I hear 8) stitch cap under my mask and can still take my mask off no problem'.

To those guys, and some might be you, so to you, I say:

SO!...Is your bill touching your frame or close to touching? If it is, then whether you can or can’t take it off is not the issue. Even if close to touching, your pads will collapse (compress is better word) inward when a force is applied to it.

Voila! You just built a direct bridge from your frame to your skull with your cap bill.' (Read again, too, please.)

In other words, what we don’t want to happen is to increase head protection in the industry, then hamper ourselves with old thinking.

I will stop writing. You stop reading.

Instead, take your favorite mask with your favorite cap for the plate. Take a pic or look in the mirror. Then apply force and see where your bill lies. Definitely do if you are wearing a mag mask or rampage.

Go ahead. Do it now. I will wait.

I would guess at minimum 15% of umpires are using bills that are too long."

See the original post for the "All-Star Cobalt Launch" on Umpire-Empire.com.

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About the Author

Picture of Jim Kirk

President Jim Kirk

Jim is a leading expert, educator and author on umpire gear, safety & appearance. After playing baseball at Centre College, he worked as a high school umpire during the Elbeco shirt years. He became involved in E-Commerce while working on an MBA in the early 2000s and bought Ump-Attire.com in 2006, He eventually led it to the leading umpire gear & attire retailer worldwide and a “Best Places to Work in Louisville” honor in 2020. He maintains long-standing relationships with Minor League Baseball Umpire Development & Training Academy and the National Association of Sports Officials (NASO). He serves as an adviser to UMPS CARE Charities, the charity of MLB umpires, served as a 2-term board of director from 2012-2018, and was named their 2015 Ambassador Award recipient. A supporter since the inception of the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, he was named to their Board of Directors in 2020.

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