The PBA Turns 50

Notes on the New PBA Season:

The Professional Bowler’s Association opened up their 50th annual tour this weekend with the traditional first of four majors — the PBA World Championship.  They touted the new formats and new exciting changes in the tour for the season, hot on the heels of the previous week’s NBA Player/PBA Pro team championship, which the one NBA league bowler handily won.

They teased a couple different formats. The first is an all plastic ball week.  I like that idea.  Reverting to older materials will put a premium on bowling skills over equipment technology.  I just don’t know where they plan on finding that many plastic bowls.  Are they all going to K-Mart to find new bowls to drill?  ( I know, I know.  They use plastic balls all the time for spare shooting.  Forgive me my snark.)

They’re also planning a week of house oil conditions — in other words, a strike shooting condition on easier oil patterns.  That could be fun.

The other immediate change is the new bowling uniform.  This season, NASCAR drivers are bowling!  Well, not really, but sponsor logos are now splashed across the chests and stomachs of more bowlers.  It started with scripting bowlers’ names on the backs of their shirts.  Then they added the American Flag above it after 9/11.  Now, that American flag has been replaced with a sponsor, plus three patches on one sleeve, two on the other, and a large sponsor logo splashed across the front of their shirt.  The only place left for sponsorhip now is patches on the butt or down the legs.  I fully expect we’ll see one of those next season.

Ironically, the giant “STORM” logo is allowed on Norm Duke’s chest, but the commentators aren’t allowed to mention bowling equipment manufacturers by name.  This might be a good thing, given that one of them works for a manufacturer as a rep now.

I’m not sure if this is specific to that particular location or if it’s a new PBA mandate, but they were playing music inbetween shots.  It was odd.  And slightly annoying.  I felt sorry for the bowlers, who had to listen to that crap until they put their first foot up on the approach.

The PBA telecasts are still not in high definition.  How ridiculous is that?  Aside from one or two handheld cameras, all the other shots are locked down.  Everything is inside.  Lights can be adjusted for.  Why NOT do high def?  Are they really that cheap?

Chris Barnes is always championed as The Ultimate Bowling Technician, and continues to think his way to failure.  After a successful game bowling from deep inside, he chased after Duke’s line in the finale and stunk.  When he finally switched back to his deep inside line late in the already-lost game, he started to strike.  Duh.

And Duke played the faithful straight up and in line, right up the second arrow, until his final bowl of the day, which he threw on Barnes’ line and also struck.  Ouch, Barnes.

It is impressive that Duke has now won three majors in a row.  The pressure will be on in January at the next Major.  Nobody’s ever won three in a row.  Winning four in a row would be insanity.  I’ll be rooting for it, unless he comes up against Walter Ray Williams Jr., who I always root for first.  (Duke did bowl a 300 against Williams once, though.)