The official PBA season began last week with a whimper. It was the annual Japan Cup. Due to a format change, though, the TV finale consisted of four Asian bowlers nobody has ever heard of before, one Canadian, and Mika Koivuniemi, whose name I spelled from memory and got right. I like Mika a lot as a bowler, but I didn’t have the patience to sit through that much bowling just for him.
That brings us to today’s USBC Masters, which I’ll think of as the unofficial start of the new season. I’ve only watched a half hour of it so far, but it’s been interesting so far. Every year, the PBA tinkers with the televised format just a little bit. This year, Dave Ryan is gone. Randy Pederson’s “professional sports voice partner” is now Rob Stone, who’s playing the “I’m a dumb bowling guy. Teach me everything, Randy. Walk me through this. What’s a “turkey?”" routine. UGH.
I thought it fascinating that the two of them weren’t on screen for nearly the entire first half hour of the show. When they were, Stone spent most of his time reading off his card, probably because he wasn’t at all familiar with bowling or any of the people in it. It’s going to take a while for him to get up to speed. Pity.
So what happened to Ryan? Did he find a more lucrative deal? Is he sticking with college football full time now?
The Masters is held in right field of the Milwaukee Brewers’ ball park, always empty at this time of year. I can’t imagine you’ll get a very good view of the lanes from twenty rows above, though. Oddly enough, the dignitaries had lane-side seating at TABLES off to the left. I wonder if that’s ballpark-only, or something they plan to include in traditional alley finales, too.