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PBA still alive and kicking

November 15, 2011
By STEVE BROWNLEE - Journal Sports Writer (sbrownlee@miningjournal.net) , The Mining Journal

Last week, I mentioned I liked to watch old Professional Bowlers Association shows from last season dating all the way back to 1961 on ESPN Classic.

This week I thought I'd mention the current edition of the PBA Tour.

The PBA has done a poor job in getting out this information, and I think it's even worse at explaining how things are working once you get to their website.

But here's what I've been able to find out:

First off, yes, the guys (and a few gals too) will be back on ESPN, but not until the first Sunday of next month, Dec. 4. They'll be on every Sunday afternoon until early March except Christmas Day, and yes, that's means you can watch the PBA on New Year's Day.

NCAA basketball's March Madness forces a break for two weeks, then the Sunday telecasts resume through April 15.

About half of the season, including everything until late January, is from the World Series of Bowling that started on Nov. 5 and wraps up on Nov. 20.

Qualifying in two events may even be going on as you're actually reading this, and the finals of nine events are taking place this weekend, Friday through Sunday, in Las Vegas.

But they won't make it onto ESPN for weeks, and in some cases, months later.

So I'd suggest being careful if you check out the PBA website starting Friday if you don't want to accidentally stumble onto the winners.

If things hold like they have in the past, you should be able to log onto the PBA home page, www.pba.com, without stumbling onto "spoilers" of who won, but if you dig very far into information on each event, you might be disappointed if you don't want to know the winners ahead of time.

I know I'm going to be careful checking out the site for awhile.

The Dec. 4 TV event, the World Bowling Tour finals, is only peripherally connected to the World Series, though its finals are part of the championship marathon in Vegas this weekend.

Again, it wasn't easy to find info on the World Bowling Tour, but with a couple searches on the PBA site I found a listing of its events. They included two tournaments in the U.S., the USBC Masters and the U.S. Open from back in February, and a half-dozen other tournaments held in a wide range of countries - France, Finland, Korea, Kuwait, Australia and Thailand.

A bunch more searches uncovered who's going to be on TV, and by the way, the ESPN coverage is two back-to-back, hour-long shows starting at 1 p.m.

The women's finalists (I'm guessing they'll go first) are No. 1 Caroline Dorin-Ballard of the U.S., No. 2 Nina Flack of Sweden and No. 3 Sandra Andersson of Sweden. Ballard is a mainstay of women's pro bowling, but I can't tell you a single thing about the Swedes.

The men are headed up by No. 1 Mike Kouviniemi of Finland, the same pro who visited Marquette for Finn GrandFest in 2006; No. 2 Sean Rash of the U.S., a young power phenom on the PBA; and No. 3 Jason Belmonte of Australia, who popularized two-handed bowling four or five years ago.

Overall, the World Series of Bowling I would have to call the "budget PBA" that brings everyone together in one place over a relatively short time span. It not only gets tourney organizers and participants in and out from around the country quickly, but makes it economically viable for bowlers from other countries far and wide to take a stab at bowling with the best in the U.S.

Considering that I heard some rumors over the summer that the PBA might just fold altogether, this is quite a good alternative.

I didn't leave myself much room for the Bowlers of the Week, so let's get right to them:

For the men, Nathan Larsh, 24, of Marquette rolled 172 pins over his 158 average with a career-high 646 in the Wednesday Industrial League at Superior Lanes. He reported to me that he shot games of 197, 247 and 202 as his team beat his boss, Steve Whelan from Big Boy of Marquette.

Also from Superior were Fred Nees of Harvey with +147 on a 729 set and 194 average in the Tuesday Night Mixed, and Scott Salminen at +142 in the Monday Sport League. Normally in the 210- to 220-average range, on the much tougher sport shot Salminen was only averaging 179 as he hit 661 including a high game of 257.

With just a couple of women's scores reported, Katina Demers of the Thursday NMU Class at Superior was +97, shooting a 150 game in a 397 series to blow past her 100 average.

At the other end of the average spectrum, Amber Buckmaster rolled 698 to exceed her 203 average by 89 pins in the same Wednesday Industrial session as Larsh.

Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 246.

 
 

 

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