The Best Umpire Ball BagJun 29th, 2022
The best umpire ball bag is the one that works best for you. The criteria for finding the best umpire ball bag are:
Go with cloth or neoprene ball bags, not vinyl ball bags. The vinyl ones have pouches on the outside. One of these with a plate brush hanging out is a tip-off that are you new at this. Don't let anyone think you are new to umpiring.
If you need a pro look ball bag, and you want to spend the least amount of money, the BEST UMPIRE BALL BAG FOR YOU is:
The Smitty Pro Style Umpire Ball Bag
Holds a minimum number of baseballs or softballs
Vinyl bags generally hold 2 baseballs and 1 softball. You are going to be saying "I'm out of baseballs (or softballs)" way too often with these.
All of the pro style ball bags, including the Force3 Dry Los hold up to 5 baseballs or up to 3 softballs. If you want to hold a few extra balls while maintaining a pro style look, the BEST UMPIRE BALL BAG FOR YOU is:
The Smitty Deluxe XL Expandable Ball Bag - holds up to 7-8 baseballs or 5 softballs.
If you are a softball umpire and want the maximum amount of space, the BEST BALL BAG FOR YOU IS: the Smitty Oversized Ball Bag - holds up to 5 softballs comfortably.
INSIDE POUCH PREFERENCE
The benefit of inside pouches on ball bags is to store your plate brush, indicator, and pen or pencil inside each. If you are annoyed by sliding your hand inside your ball bag only to get your fingers caught inside the pouches, and you store those items elsewhere, the BEST UMPIRE BALL BAG FOR YOU is:
The Force3 Dry Lo Umpire Ball Bag with No Inside Pouches
If you work when it's hot and/or you sweat a lot, moisture can seep through your pants, into your ball bag and on to the baseballs or softballs inside. If you need a solution to wet baseballs or softballs, the BEST UMPIRE BALL BAG FOR YOU is either:
The Force3 Dry Lo Umpire Ball Bags (with and without inside pockets) or The Smitty Deluxe XL Expandable Ball Bag. Both have a waterproof lining. (Use the criteria of inside pouch preference and minimum number of balls to help you decide your ultimate best).
If you want a professional looking waterproof ball bag that holds more baseballs or softballs securely and comes in a set or individually with one bag with pouches and one without it, the BEST UMPIRE BALL BAG FOR YOU:
The UMPLIFE Weather-Tek Neoprene Ball Bags
If you follow the best practice to match your cap color, this is easy. All pro style ball bags are available in black or navy. If you must instead match the color of your pants AND you are wearing polyester (NOT poly wool or poly spandex - these won't match the ball bag's polyester fabric), the BEST UMPIRE BALL BAG FOR YOU is either:
The Smitty Pro Style Bag or the Smitty Deluxe XL Ball Bag. Those bags are the only ones that have heather grey and charcoal grey options.
Share your tips for determining the best umpire ball bag for you in the comments below.
About the Author
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. 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, a “Best Places to Work in Louisville” honor in 2020 & 2021 and a National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Preferred Vendor. He maintained a long-standing relationship with Minor League Baseball Umpire Development & Training Academy for 10 years. 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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