Monday, July 4, 2011

PBA Team Shootout Review

Well, the yearly summer PBA Shootout is now completed. It was definitely more interesting than previous years being outside while Batman and Bugs Bunny cheered the bowlers. I almost missed this years event as I was not that excited about the shootout as previous years. I thought it may be more of the same.

Did the PBA change more than just the venue? It was almost scripted like a WWE pay-per-view event. First, the good thing was the move to an inside venue. I only like to sweat when I run, bike, or cut the yard. Bowling is not an outside activity during a hot Midwestern summer. If you believe the Democrats, global warming makes bowling very uncomfortable. Of course, the new PBA jerseys could be worn by Lance Armstrong and crew during a bicycle road race. Just change the Ebonite logo with a Trek one.

Of course, it was not a bowling alley, nor a bowling center, but a bowling lounge. What is a bowling lounge? It is a more expensive place to eat, drink, and bowl. Awesome ambiance, but still more expensive. I was expecting to see $5 soft drinks, $10 beers, and $12 wines on the tables with the bowlers. I'm sure Jason's water bottle was at least a $3 drink. Another thing about bowling lounges? They seem to attract the 'beautiful people.' Kim Khardashian has been publicized at a bowling lounge. Is this the second bowling tournament where I have seen an attractive blonde woman sitting directly in the camera's line of view? I guess I lost my concentration as I have not heard any announcement or close-up identifying her as a PBA wife or girlfriend. I'm betting she did not have to pay for her ticket to the show.

An advantage of tape delay show is more time to edit. We have heard about 'Bottlegate' for a couple of weeks now. The old saying is that any publicity is good publicity. The new PBA encouraged Pete Weber's antics. It put some life into the telecasts. Any competitor is focused on what he has to do. So, no one is encouraging you should distract your opponents. Well, that seems to be ok for free throw shots or field goal kicks. However, I don't see another PGA golfer sneezing in Phil Mickelson's backswing. ESPN and the PBA had plenty of extra camera angles, background video and commentary ready to go as soon as Sean Rash expressed his frustration. I'm not blaming either bowler, just noting that everyone was ready to exploit the event quickly. There would not have been as much analysis of this if this event was televised life.

I like the ball manufacturer staff team competition. However, with the shape of the economy, the pros on these teams look like the Yankees, Red Sox, and the Twins. One or two teams are loaded while the other groups are 'smaller market' teams. The Ebonite team is like the Brunswick team of the 90's. Remember, they had all the big names back then. Parker Bohn was one of them and is still on the team. This is rare. The few examples are Dick Weber with AMF, Johnny Petraglia and Parker Bohn with Brunswick. This is like your favorite baseball player staying with his team for his whole career. Looking at the teams, obviously Ebonite and Storm are your big players. Looking at the inventory at your pro shop, these are the two brands you will see. Around Alabama, Brunswick and 900Global products are less likely to be stocked. If I want to be on Brunswick's staff, I need to win a televised tournament with a Brunswick ball and then I can be on the Team Shootout the next summer. 900Global's best player is a senior bowler. Being a smaller company, it is not likely to have a large staff. Is Robert Smith still an exempt bowler? It is also not likely to renew bowlers with larger contracts. From Walter Ray's site:

“The company I represented last year did not offer to renew my contract at the end of the season,” Williams said. “I had heard some really good things about Track equipment last season and the equipment coming out of Ebonite International. You want to go to a company with good equipment so you can be competitive.”
With the prize money professional bowling offers today, a serious pro needs a ball contract. Since Walter is with Track, you couldn't find him on the Ebonite team. Ebonite could literally have it's own Team Shootout event with the pros representing each of the four brands; Ebonite, Columbia, Track, and Hammer. Walter, most likely, had conflicts with the short PBA Senior tour.

Watching 900Global winning was good for the event. Having Ebonite dominate the points events and then losing the tournament is like the seasons of the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and Kentucky Wildcats. Unless you are a big fan of these teams, it is fun to root against them.

But, with 900Global running the table and winning for the upset still seems like a scripted WWE event. If these are 'exhibition' summer events, maybe scripting them would make them just as entertaining as this year's Team Shootout. If the final would have been Team Storm versus Team Ebonite as was the highly probable outcome, I may not have been around to watch it, as my interest would have been lost a long time before.

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