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Catcher’s Corner: Post-Concussion, Why Switch from Hockey-Style to Traditional?

When David Ross came back from his concussion a week ago, Ross switched from a MVP4000 hockey mask to a boring old Mizuno G2 traditional mask. Throughout his career Ross has always been a hockey mask guy, and one can only have a few Theory’s on why he switched.

Source
  1. Ross and Brian McCann have always been friends as they played with the Braves together for a number of years, as we know McCann recently switched back to the traditional mask. Did McCann convince him to switch?
  2. Does it have to do with Ross’s recent concussion?  As I wrote about recently, most catchers coming off from a concussion tend to go with a hockey mask instead of the traditional as a safety precaution. It is most likely a matter of which one Ross feels comfortable in. After a career of using a hockey mask, I don’t think he would switch just like that.
  3. Does it have to do with the Kevlar cap Ross wore before his second concussion? Does it maybe fit better in a traditional mask and skull cap as opposed to an MVP4000? One could see how a Kevlar cap could take up space in an MVP4000 and not leave enough room for his head.
  4. Is this just a short term thing? Is Ross getting his MVP4000 repaired? Or is he getting the Kevlar cap removed and needed a quick replacement from what he has in the gear bag? This probably isn’t likely because he had a whole DL stay to get something repaired or something new.
  5. He likes to show off the sides off his beard. Just saying that might be it. Probably not though.

I don’t know, we’ll have to keep watching him to see what he does. But my best guess is Theory 3. Any All Star hockey helmet, whether it be the MVP4000 or 2500 is a very tight fitting piece of equipment, there’s not a lot of room in there. And that can be a good thing, obviously you want your helmet to be stable on your head. But the MVP4000 doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for something like a Kevlar skull cap, a traditional mask probably would.

But what really baffles me about this switch is that throughout his 12 year career in the Majors he has always worn a hockey mask. Whether it be the MVP2300 with the Reds, the Mizuno Pro with the Braves or the MVP4000 with the Red Sox, he hasn’t worn a traditional mask on a baseball field since college when he played at Auburn. When Brian McCann switched back to the traditional mask I wasn’t totally surprised because he had switched before, but with David Ross I’m shocked because he was always a hockey mask guy.

WPW Commenter Scott brought up a great point:

“My theory would be the impact effect. Yes the hockey style helmet does provide more coverage around the head than the traditional. That being said when a catcher takes a foul ball to the mask the head absorbs the impact b/c there is no place to the energy created to go since the hockey helmet is not meant to come off. With the traditional facemask and helmet when the ball is fouled off of your mask the mask absorbs the impact and comes off your head keeping your head from taking a direct hit to the dome. Just my theory but makes sense to me.”

Source: Another hockey mask bites the dust. Goodbye “The David Ross”, we had a nice run. You will go down in history as one of my favorite sets.

From a selfish standpoint, I don’t like it. Ross has always been the prototypical backup catcher, he’s a defense first guy, he’s an excellent receiver, and he always has worn a hockey helmet. I have always felt associated with Ross because he wore a hockey helmet and I loved the way he looked on a baseball field. Now I don’t feel that attachment anymore.

And another thing. I can’t describe a catcher that wears an MVP4000 and Mizuno gear as “The David Ross” anymore. That duty falls to—John Baker?! No! I will not stand for John Baker owning MVP4000 and Mizuno combo. Let me check some depth charts, I’ll be right back…

Nope, congratulations John Baker, you get your own combo.

4 comments

  1. My theory would be the impact effect. Yes the hockey style helmet does provide more coverage around the head than the traditional. That being said when a catcher takes a foul ball to the mask the head absorbs the impact b/c there is no place to the energy created to go since the hockey helmet is not meant to come off. With the traditional facemask and helmet when the ball is fouled off of your mask the mask absorbs the impact and comes off your head keeping your head from taking a direct hit to the dome. Just my theory but makes sense to me.

    1. Scott,
      that’s a really good point. i’m going to add this to the post.

    2. I agree with your theory and it makes sense to me as well, however my Wilson Shox FX 2.0 mask felt as if it deflects and absorbs energy from foul tips better than the traditional mask (Diamond) that I wear while umping. I haven’t taken many foul tips with either but the Wilson definitely felt better to me. Maybe it is just a bad mask comparing to a decent one but just my thoughts.

    3. While that is a theory both Torrealba and Mauer, Jaso and Avila have all been on the concussion list and all wear traditional masks.

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