Saturday, October 10, 2009

Review of Wilson Platinum Chest Protector

I have been wearing the Wilson West Vest Platinum Chest Protector for two years and I have been entirely satisfied. The Wilson West Vest chest protectors (Platinum, Gold and Charcoal) are designed by MLB umpire Joe West and are generally regarded as the best "mass produced" protectors available. All West Vest protectors feature a hard plastic shell that disperses a ball's impact and offers maximum protection to the umpire - much more than a soft shell protector. The Gold and Platinum are the only two umpire chest protectors endorsed by Major League Baseball.

The Platinum is available in two sizes: 13.5" and 10.75". The 13.5" model weighs in at 3-1/2 pounds and is surprisingly light. An average-sized umpire will find that this protector covers the rib area, but not the stomach. Taller umpires will discover that the Platinum may not cover all of the rib area. Some umpires have modified the Platinum with an extra protective plate for greater protection. I have not felt the need for an extra plate. The Platinum also features better protection around the sternum than the Gold.

When I first purchased the Platinum it seemed a little flat, however, over time it conformed to my body. Until the protector adjusted to my body I had some difficulty with it slipping downward. After breaking it in I have not experienced this problem.

When I wear the Platinum I feel like Will Ferrell's character Frank the Tank from "Old School." Like Frank the Tank, the Platinum is unstoppable and absolutely bullet-proof. However, unlike Frank the Tank, the Platinum is designed to be worn with pants. . . although I imagine you could still visit a KFC while wearing the Platinum (don't get it? Watch the movie! Or see the video clip).

The Platinum is at its best when you take a foul ball directly to the chest - CRACK! The whole game stops and all eyes are upon you. A coach calls from the dugout, "You O.K., Blue?" You stand up straight, and respond with a confident swagger that reminds the crowd of John Wayne, or maybe Superman: "Yes, I'm fine." Women swoon and lesser men blush, and all because you are wearing the WILSON WEST VEST PLATINUM CHEST PROTECTOR!

Care of the Platinum is a breeze thanks to a convenient and thoughtful design that attaches the soft shell padding to the hard plastic shell. Simply unfasten the Velcro straps holding the plastic shell and remove the pad. Here is a video on the disassembly:

At the time of this article, the Wilson West Vest Platinum Chest Protector can be purchased at the following retailers:

HQ4Sports for $139.95 and free shipping for orders greater than $99

CAT Sports, $139.95

Ump Attire, $144.95

The bottom line is this is a great protector and worth every penny.

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