Volume 3, Issue 1, The 105th Edition
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
The PBA is back on TV, so life is good. It's not that I don't watch the PWBA, but the telecasts are taped several days in advance, and I always know who won. Plus, with all the talk of the "new" PBA and the incredibly long hiatus, there was definitely that added anticipation of what was going to happen this fall.
The live telecasts will definitely have me glued to the TV screen. The regularity of the weekly telecasts (every Tuesday at 8 pm ET) will be a boon to anyone who wants to know "when bowling is on."
I'm thrilled that the telecasts are back to ESPN, with a capable lighting crew. I've always said that I would watch bowling just about any way they showed it, but the "film noir" version shown during the few weeks of the summer tour was truly a test of my patience.
The camera angles were a mixed bag. I found the overhead shot very interesting to see how the bowlers finished at the line, but there were several times where late falling pins were missed when the director failed to switch cameras. I almost got the feeling there wasn't another camera to switch to. Hopefully, experience is a good teacher here, and they take care of the camera placement issue before next week.
While a lot of people have mixed feelings about the eight-man telecast, it just grows on me more each time I watch. The 208-207-206 finish between Healey, Barnes, and Wiseman in the second match was a stunner. And anytime eight guys get a chance to make the show, there's a better chance I will care who's in each match. For the players, it allows more faces to make the telecast, and therefore more incentive money. And until these guys are competing for serious paychecks, the incentive money issue can't be neglected.
And speaking of Wiseman, the PBA has already come a LONG way. Last year, corduroy pants would have been illegal, and last night Danny comes strolling out wearing leather pants? Wow. I've heard comments on the untucked shirt--that I didn't mind. I really liked the retro look shirt, but I'm not sure if the viewers are ready for leather pants. Heck there are still people having coronaries over the hair length and facial hair rule changes made a few years ago.
Is it me, or between the Microsoft guys who own the tour and the two Nike execs they hired as Commissioner and President do they actually appreciate this marketing thing? The announcers, Phil Ferguson and Marshall Holman were actually talking about balls on the rack--and not just during the "In the Bag" feature. (For folks who really want to know the balls and drillings of what each pro used, make sure to check out BowlingFans.com's BallBeat feature. The ball reps tell you exactly what the pros were throwing, including any ball changes made during a telecast--not what the pros thought they were gonna throw before the show started). While I realize that certain companies sponsor a tournament, it's ridiculous to keep the fans/consumers in the dark because of fears of hurting the tournament sponsor's feelings. If Chris Barnes is throwing a Brunswick Monster, people want to know that. The same goes if Dave Arnold is throwing that Sugar Ray Leonard signature ball at spares.
And finally, just a few thoughts on the tournament format. With the entire 18 games of qualifying bowled on Sunday, two rounds of matchplay on Monday, and another block Tuesday morning, the condensed format is definitely going to favor the more athletic bowlers. The new "recommended" weight guidelines in the back of the PBA member handbook will now become something of a necessity for those who want to compete in these endurance tests. Also I anticipate seeing more of the younger players, because with the condensed formats, any chronic injuries are going to flare up during this many games over three days.
I'm so thankful the PBA is back on TV, with eight consecutive telecasts. I'm marking my calendar now for Tuesday nights. I've got plans.