Japanese sporting goods manufacturer Uoy Deloof has announced the development of a revolutionary umpire mask made of a space age material, Omnium Steel. According to spokesman Mitchell Tanner, Omnium is "a ferroalloy stronger than titanium though weaker than adamantium. Uoy Deloof metallurgists were able to develop a form of omnium which possesses elastic ductility while retaining high durability."
Tanner states that the new Omnium mask will absorb the impact of a baseball by distorting the mask frame. The energy is then reapplied to the baseball and away from the umpire's head. "The baseball reacts like it has hit a brick wall, but the umpire doesn't feel a thing," Tanner says. After impact the mask frame is restored to its original shape. Ouy Deloof is offering a lifetime warranty on this mask.
Unfortunately, a U.S. release date for the Ominum Umpire Mask has not been established. The company is in a class action lawsuit in Japan over injuries sustained when baseballs ricocheted off the Omnium Umpire Mask. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include six batters, three catchers, one pitcher, and a third base coach. During one recent Central League game, a foul ball rebounded off the Omnium mask and the players mistakenly played it for a sacrifice fly. Japanese baseball officials have called the Omnium Umpire Mask a "menace to Japanese baseball."
Stay tuned for more on this story as it develops.