Goodbye old school: McCann switches to hockey-style mask

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Some fans of Brian McCann’s old-school look behind the plate have been in a dither since the Braves catcher’s recent switch to the hockey goalie-style mask that so many catchers wear today. Gone is the metal mask and backward batting helmet he wore before.

McCann said the change was made strictly for function and not aesthetics

“I tried [the hockey-style mask] the other day and liked the vision out of it,” said the six-time All-Star. “The bars are closer to your face and you can see better.”

He said it’s lighter and “you get more breeze to your face. So it’s better all the way around. In the front it’s all open.”

McCann tried the goalie mask a few years ago when he had vision problems and briefly wore glasses while playing.

“But I didn’t really give it a chance,” he said.

This time, he’s got no plans to revert back to the traditional mask.

Next up: Verlander and Tigers

Tommy Hanson makes his last spring start Saturday when the Braves faces Detroit and AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander in a 1:05 p.m. game at Champion Stadium. It’ll be shown on SportSouth.

Planned relievers for the Braves include closer Craig Kimbrel and right-hander Cory Gearrin.


Martin Prado led the Grapefruit League with 23 hits before Friday, when he broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double in the fourth inning of the split-squad road game at Kissimmee…. Braves Dan Uggla and Freddie Freeman were tied with Detroit’s Brennan Boesch and St. Louis’ Ryan Raburn for the Grapefruit League home run lead with six before Friday…. Third baseman Chipper Jones (arthroscopic knee surgery) and pitcher Arodys Vizcaino (reconstructive elbow surgery) were placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. Jones is eligible to return April 10 and hopes to be back for the April 13 home opener vs. Milwaukee. Vizcaino will miss the entire season.

33 comments Add your comment


March 30th, 2012
8:10 pm

I do miss Mac’s old mask, but if he can play better with his new hockey mask, I’m happy to see more of it.


March 30th, 2012
8:13 pm

Eric in Tampa

March 30th, 2012
8:30 pm

So what will he wear to post-game press conferences now that he won’t have the helmet!?

Gran Jen 1

March 30th, 2012
8:53 pm

Glad he switched, just looks safer to me!

Who Me?

March 30th, 2012
9:15 pm

He’ll need it with Livan pitching….


March 30th, 2012
9:26 pm

He’s gonna wear a chrome dome. The same hair do he wears all the time

Jason Voorhees

March 30th, 2012
10:07 pm

So now when you talk about Jason, you won’t mean Heyward.

Eddie Matthews' Ghost

March 30th, 2012
10:09 pm

He doesn’t need a mask, chest protector or glove. With this mob pitching he’ll never see a pitch make it past the plate. They sign Levon who cannot throw harder than 82 MPH and ERA over 6.50 and the WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL CUTS HIM AND HAS NO ROOM FOR A OVER THE HILL HAS BEEN. Good grief. DO the Braves actually EXPECT people to come to the park and PAY GOOD MONEY in this stinking economy to what this mess? Ain’t no way Jose.


March 30th, 2012
10:15 pm

I hope the new mask will help B/Mac throw out base runners.

John Leonard

March 30th, 2012
10:18 pm

Will it help the noodle arm?


March 30th, 2012
11:03 pm

Whatever works…

Ken Stallings

March 30th, 2012
11:57 pm

Can’t believe it took him this long to switch! The hockey mask is clearly superior and there is nothing about it lesser than the traditional mask. Better protection, lighter, better visibility, better fit. Hockey goalies took no time at all to make a full shift to that style. Arturs Urbe was the last hockey goalie I saw who used the older style that was like the traditinoal baseball mask.


March 31st, 2012
12:15 am

Vision problems, eh?



March 31st, 2012
1:55 am

Why not pick up abreu for 1 mil? Instead of Livan for 1 mil? I don’t get it.

[...] The Atlanta Braves Catcher Brian McCann has gone from old-school to the new after making the switch to a hockey-style helmet in the last week for use behind the plate.  One of the few guys who still wear the flap-less hard-hat with old-school mask over top, McCann made the move for vision and comfort. [...]

Sideline Dude

March 31st, 2012
9:49 am

Please Chipper, go ahead & retire. Free up a roster spot for someone who can play everday.

Just saying..

March 31st, 2012
10:22 am

Ghost, you always been this happy?


March 31st, 2012
10:40 am

In other news: Chipper changes his jock strap…


March 31st, 2012
10:45 am

Livan was hired to replace Vizcaino in the bullpen and give the Braves more depth. Livan will be a reliever, not a constant member of the rotation. The 5th starter will be either Medlen or Delgado.

Rodents of Unusual Size

March 31st, 2012
11:42 am

Wren has a habit of reaching into his past with regard to player aquistions, I understand he has good memories Livan but i have good mermories of Glavine and Maddox that does not mean i want them back now.

Rodents of Unusual Size

March 31st, 2012
11:45 am

Why not pick up abreu for 1 mil? Instead of Livan for 1 mil? I don’t get it.

Where did you read that abreu was available for 1 mil?

Tokyo jacket

March 31st, 2012
11:51 am

For all the talk of needing bats, I think it says something to have the hits leader and HR leader(S) on your team. That’s pretty solid when you’ve got the fastest guy in baseball leading off. With our pitching that I know will come around, I think we’re actually in pretty good shape. I’m looking for 95 wins. Adding Livan Hernandez was the best $750K Wren will spend this year. Great insurance policy to keep our young arms young!


March 31st, 2012
11:59 am

Haven’t read anywhere recently about roster cuts. Have any been announced? Last I heard, the roster was around 40-45 players.


March 31st, 2012
12:50 pm

What is the plan with Chipper? Before he got hurt, he had clearly not gotten into any kind of groove. When he is physically ready to come back and play, that groove may or may not come with some at bats.

I, for one, wouldnt have him trying to find his groove in the three spot in the batting order.

Any word on this from the Braves?

Good Money....

March 31st, 2012
1:19 pm

No one paid good money (or otherwise) when the braves WERE good. Turner field can’t sell out during a playoff game–and ticket prices in atlanta are NOT expensive.

The real joke isn’t the team, it’s the fans. The Braves should follow the Thrashers out of atlanta and give a city who will actually show up at the stadium a chance.


March 31st, 2012
1:37 pm

Today’s “Player of the Game” will be Eric Henski, he fouled off 5 pitches of Verlander before striking out.


March 31st, 2012
1:42 pm

Tokyo jacket
March 31st, 2012
11:51 am

What flavor is that kool-aid your drinking, need to get me some of that stuff.

Tampa Gator

March 31st, 2012
1:43 pm

He will need a mitt that extends 3 feet outside the strike zone on either side of the plate when Hernandez is pitching and Gregg is umpiring……oh….I forgot…..Gregg was asked not to umpire anymore after the strike….I wonder why???? I still think something was up that game and MLB covered it up. It is my only conspiracy theory….I still see McGriff taking ball four on a pitch at least 2 feet outside….and Gregg calling it strike three to end the series. What a joke Gregg was in that game. Gregg probably cost the Braves another world title that year.

Venis La Pennis

March 31st, 2012
9:52 pm

I see that Uggla’s going cold with the bat just in time for April ? And Mr. .200 Heyward hits a long homerun between 15 outs…

[...] MLB 12 The Show Batting Stance/Delivery/Accessory Edits Brian McCann is going to the hockey-style mask. So: Brian McCann Catcher Mask style: New __________________ Fan of the Toronto Blue Jays [...]

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