Protective gear for catchers and umpires in both the Babe Ruth League and Cal Ripken Baseball will come in one form from now through 2020: Force3 Pro Gear.
The Connecticut-based protective gear company will look to improve safety of catchers and umpires, specifically through the use of its Defender Mask, which was first worn at the major league level by Braves catcher Tyler Flowers.
The Defender Mask includes spring technology to help reduce the possibility of sustaining severe head injuries. Jason Klein, president of Force3Pro Gear, said the mask "far exceeds the protective qualities of any other mask tested."
Now he’s ready to bring his technology to a league he enjoyed as a kid.
"I played in my local Babe Ruth League as a youth and came away with lasting experiences and lessons," Klein said. "I feel a very strong connection to this league and organization. To be part of this family now as an adult and to be able to contribute to the game at this level by working to help improve player and umpire safety is exciting and a great honor. I look forward to what we will accomplish together, now and in the future."
Babe Ruth Baseball has increased substantially over the years, now with more than one million players on more than 60,000 teams in 11,000 leagues. "Babe Ruth League is excited about our new partnership with Force3 Pro Gear, as this will enhance the safety, protection and well-being of our young athletes," president Steven Tellefsen said. "Safety has always been a top priority."
Klein said that the new deal with the Babe Ruth League—Cal Ripken Baseball is a division of the league—comes on the heels of other agreements for the company, such as with the Eastern College Athletic Conference, the South Atlantic League and Area Code Baseball.
— Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.