Volume 1, Issue 24
By Angel Zobel-Rodriguez
The PWBA touring players have just come home from another swing, and the PBA fall swing has been going for several weeks, with three more stops to go. Considering ESPN has been airing both telecasts, it's time to compare how the two telecasts are handled. While I could probably watch a kid knocking over soda bottles with a basketball and still be happy to see "bowling", I've noticed that each tour has scored points in different areas of the telecast.
The PBA telecasts this swing air live and run a full ninety minutes. The return of the extra 30 minutes alone makes me want to sing from the top of buildings (OK, I will spare the audience, but yes, I'm thrilled). Heck, it's even run over its time allotment by a few minutes and ESPN stayed with the PBA show instead of switching to the world's strongest man competition. It's been so nice to see five bowlers with an opportunity of winning the title (and earning the endorsement money that makes or breaks the bowlers these days). It's also nice to see the PBA airing live, because the PWBA telecasts have been delayed a full week, causing absolute confusion in a conversation when certain bowlers make the step ladder finals two weeks in a row ("Do you mean on the TV show from last night, or from the telecast you'll see NEXT week?...").
Despite some problems with the women's show being delayed and then shortened by long-running football games, the PWBA telecast has been shown several times each week, and the later airings run in their entirety. ESPN has a habit of running programs more than once, and the PBA has just announced that they also will begin to air reruns several of the tour stops from this swing.
The PBA fall tour has a better original time slot for East Coast viewers airing on Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 9 PM Eastern, with West Coast folks still at work through most of the show. The PWBA schedule has favored West Coast fans with telecast times that would turn most Easterners into a pumpkin long before the show ends, with start times at or just after Midnight late Thursday night or early Friday morning depending on your perspective.
The PBA's latest pairing of announcers Marshall Holman and Phil Ferguson gets a huge thumbs up from me. While Ferguson still sounds less knowledgeable than I'd like, he has been doing his homework, and seems to show respect for the game. On the women's side, I'm still holding out hope for improvement. A few weeks ago, Jan Schmidt and Lisa Wagner were a great hit with me, but it was a one-time deal. This pairing is by far the best the PWBA has had in recent memory. When regular announcer returned, I was disappointed, because for as long as Leandra Reilly has been with the telecast, her comments show that she still knows very little about the sport.
The PBA tour is still working on creating the perfect the audience "atmosphere," although the dreadful nonstop clapping has given way to something that sounds more natural, and almost spontaneous. The only place the constant din belongs is in the arena setting of a couple thousand fans. As an audience (of maybe 100 people) member who started to really get cranky at the 45-minute mark, I'm sure that someone finally said "no more." The PWBA telecast seems to be encouraging the audience to wait until the ball leaves the bowler's hand, and I'm still old school on this, and prefer that moment of silence until the ball is released, so thank you, PWBA.
Although the PWBA is not touring for a few weeks, my favorite, the Sam's Town Invitational is coming up in mid November (although not airing until December 3). I guess I'll learn to survive on one live show a week. But until then, break out the popcorn, there are the reruns.