Saturday, January 24, 2009

Texas Rangers New 2009 Uniforms: Industry Scoop

<==Star Telegram

Joe Siegler looks at history of Rangers uniforms; comments on new uniforms; has television screen captures of new batting helmet.

The new batting helmet is a dramatic shift. It is two tone, with metallic flecked paint.

I speculate the design is inspired by the way players accumulate more and more pine tar on their batting helmets as the season goes on. The design even has wing thingys which are positioned where the players fingers would stain pine tar down the sides of the helmet as the players press the palms of their hands against the fronts of helmets while shoving the batting helmets into place. The wing thingys even fade out as they go back - exactly as the players' finger-implemented pine tar stains fade out as they go further back on the helmet. I'm speculating, but this makes sense as inspiration for the design.

My Southern brother is not speculating. He is a professional in the field of sports uniforms and helmets. He emails some industry scoop:
OK…sometimes I have the most obscure knowledge given my career path….similar to MSNBC’s Morning Joe program feature of “News You Can’t Use” …that’s me

1. The Rangers had to make a special appeal to Major League Baseball to request wearing BLACK shoes. MLB dictates / requires that a team’s shoe color be their dominant uniform color. Also, MLB defines the dominant uniform color as that which applies to 75% of their uniform. Therefore, MLB requires one of their teams colors to be 75% of their uniform from head to toe.

2. Most common plastic used in baseball helmets is ABS. ABS plastic is used in football helmets 9th grade and below. ABS allows for greater flexibility and of course is much less expensive. Two things happened a couple of years ago…first helmet paint went to acrylic…the same stuff used on cars….several application steps are required…priming, painting, hardener application , then the final clear coat finish. It is during this final clear finish coat you have the option for metallic flakes to be added. Look at your car paint, all cars have metallic flakes in their paint, you don’t see any of them with just a flat color. I never sell a helmet without adding metallic flakes in the clear coat process, even on white helmets it makes a huge difference…note The University of Texas helmets and how they shine on TV compared the big Badger football team or even the Cardinals in the Super Bowl. This is why HS, college, and Pro football helmets shine so much better today, and look so much better with HD TV cameras. The metallic flakes come in multiple shades of different colors…next time you watch Rutgers , they have red flakes in their red paint, makes their helmets really shine. Metallic flakes even allow eccentric alumni such as Phil Knight and Nike to dream up so many color combinations for Oregon ’s helmets.

3. MLB had a problem…ABS plastic won’t accept acrylic paint…it weakens the integrity of the shell (that means they crack)…so MLB was SOL on the retail market for good looking helmet paint colors. MLB used their heads…good ‘ol lawyers and money being the root of all evil. MLB said they were concerned with concussions so they appealed to NOCSAE to increase the standard on protection of helmets used in college through the big leagues. To increase the scoring ratio from baseballs slamming into batting helmets required helmet manufacturers to move into GE’s Lexicon plastic which is used in HS varsity through NFL level football helmets, but VERY expensive. But guess what this does for MLB now Sherlock? If I told the story line correctly, hopefully you have concurred MLB is now able to use high gloss metallic acrylic paint and thousands of parents through out the metro-mess will be filling into Academy, Oshmann’s and Lids at the mall to pay $200 for a MLB merchandise approved Rangers batting helmets. MLB and the Rangers put mega bucks into their pockets…thank you very much. Only in America !

God Bless.

Sign me, Insignificant Info

To my way of thinking: virtually every sports fan loves this type of inside scoop. Thank you to Southern Brother.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a vent... these helmets have been around for years!