Another day, another catcher makes a concussion-related switch. Only this time, the switch was made because of the threat of a concussion, not because of an actual one. Travis d’Arnaud switched from an Under Armour Traditional mask to a hockey-style mask as a preventative measure for head injuries.
He wanted more coverage on the tops and sides of head from the back swings he was getting from hitters. The best option for him is the hockey mask because it offers more protection around your face from back swings that might hit you where a traditional mask won’t protect you.
After the initial shock of seeing this it makes sense that d’Arnaud would do this. He’s worn a hockey mask before and is comfortable with it.
But what’s interesting about this is the fact that d’Arnaud just introduced two combinations of gear that have never been used in the Major Leagues before. Let me explain.
Brian Schneider had a contract with Nike when he played. As we can see above Nike shoes, Nike wrist band, Nike batting glove. But Nike doesn’t make catcher mitts or helmets of Major League quality, so he wears the MVP4000 and the CM3000. This is the Brian Schneider Factor. A catcher that wears an MVP4000, an CM3000, and then doesn’t wear All Star gear. Other examples of this include 2011 Jose Molina, 2008 Bengie Molina and that Reebok gear we would all like to forget, and current day Ryan Hanigan.
Because Nike doesn’t have an agenda when it comes to mitts, I would call it a neutral company.
Consider Buster Posey. Buster Posey wears a Rawlings mitt, an MVP4000 and Under Armour gear.
It makes sense for Posey to wear Under Armour because he has a Rawlings glove. If he tried to wear System 7 it would be a conflict of sponsorship. Under Armour is made for guys like Buster Posey and Matt Wieters who don’t want to use the gear their glove company produces.
There are numerous examples of this when you look around the league. Gerald Laird, Alex Avila, Taylor Teagarden, A.J. Pierzynski, Wilson Ramos, Chris Ianetta, Kurt Suzuki, Derek Norris, John Jaso, Carlos Ruiz, Welington Castillo, Miguel Montero. You get the point. All these guys use Under Armour or Nike gear because they either don’t like the gear their glove company would give them (or because they’re getting paid).
d’Arnaud is the first guy to wear a CM3000 with Under Armour gear. I don’t think it’s that d’Arnaud doesn’t like All Star gear, I think he just got stuck in a contract with Under Armour and wanted to switch from a Mizuno glove (picture taken in 2011) to an All Star glove shown below.
But the real question is, when d’Arnaud’s contract with Under Armour is up, what will he do? Will he stay with Under Armour or sign up with All Star? Who is going to pay him to wear their best gear? Oh, the troubles of being a pro catcher!