THE BOWLING GUY: World Series of Bowling Looks to Add to 2013's Great List of Xtra Frame Moments

by Jason Thomas October 3, 2013 10:47

LOS ANGELES, CA - The upcoming World Series of Bowling V - which takes place October 25-November 3 at the South Point Bowling Center in Las Vegas - is sure to add to the already great list of moments that have taken place on Xtra Frame in 2013.

The 60-plus hours of live preliminary-round coverage planned on Xtra Frame at this year's World Series will include all of the qualifying rounds in the four animal pattern championships - where four players will advance to the stepladder finals round on ESPN each day - plus all of the additional match play rounds that will determine the five finalists for the event's crown jewel - the PBA World Championship. The event is sold out with 240 of the world's best bowlers - from a record 22 countries - making the trek to become a part of history. Fans can watch all the action by signing up for Xtra Frame for just $7.99 per month, or $64.99 for a one-year subscription.

One exciting addition to Xtra Frame's WSOB V coverage will be long-time ESPN color commentator and PBA Hall-of-Famer Randy Pedersen calling the action alongside Mike J. Laneside during the Top 24 rounds of the animal pattern championships. Plus, the event will kick off with a special pay-per-view live event on October 25 called the High 5 Gear PBA League Challenge: USA vs. The World. The match will pit the top six International players entered into the World Series against the top six americans, with the teams captained by Australia's Jason Belmonte and the U.S.'s Sean Rash, respectively. Viewers who are not currently subscribers to Xtra Frame will be able to view the matches for just $5.

As a reminder of all of this great action coming up later in the month on Xtra Frame, we have compiled a list of "Xtra Frame's Greatest Hits - 2013" on the PBA Youtube Channel. The list includes Mika Koivuniemi and Osku Palermaa's 7-10 conversions, Joe Scarborough's historic 900 series, several 300 games (including one by the ageless Johnny Petraglia) and a number of tight matches and clutch performances from the PBA Tour, PBA50 Tour and PBA Regional action. Have a look and let us know what your favorite moment(s) are on the PBA's Facebook page and be sure to join us later this month to see more great bowling history that is sure to be added to the list. 

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PBA League Finals on ESPN Feature Fast-Paced Format - CLICK FOR DETAILS

by Jason Thomas February 7, 2013 09:33


This Sunday at 1pm ET on ESPN, competition in the PBA League will resume with Round 2. The show marks the second installment of the historic team competition, and also features a new format that will be used over the next four rounds of PBA League competition. Here is how it works:


The upcoming PBA League telecasts will be expanded to two hours (hooray, more bowling!), and will feature three distinct segments.

The first part of the PBA League telecasts will consist of an exciting new "Clash Round", featuring 11 different players. Each team will have a specific number of players representing their teams (determined by final qualifying position - the higher the team finished in the standings, the more players they get in the Clash Round). The format is a one-ball roll-off where each player will throw a shot, with the lowest scorer (or scorers in the event of a tie) eliminated. The last remaining player's team will gain a spot in the baker-format team stepladder finals, and will join the three teams who qualified through the preliminary qualifying rounds (all of those rounds are currently available to watch on demand on XTRA FRAME). 


Three baker-format team matches will determine team points earned for that week's telecast. The points earned over the five rounds of the PBA League will determine the four finalists for the Elias Cup, which will crown the PBA's first team champion. Here are the current standings after Round 1:

1, BROOKLYN STyLES (owner Jesse Williams), 18 points.
2, New York City WTT KingPins (owner Billie Jean King), 12.
3, Motown Muscle (owner Jerome Bettis), 9.
4, Dallas Strikers (owner Terrell Owens), 8.
5, Silver Lake Atom Splitters (owner Chris Hardwick), 6.
6, L.A. X (owner Chris Paul), 5.
7, Philadelphia Hitmen (owner Kevin Hart), 3.
8, Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits (owner LaMarr Woodley), 2.

Each PBA League telecast will conclude with the title match between the two finalists for that week's Classic qualifying and match play rounds. Round 2 will feature the Carmen Salvino Classic finalists (D.J. Archer and Andres Gomez), Round 3 the Mark Roth Classic (Michael Haugen Jr. and Scott Norton), Round 4 the Don Carter Classic (Wes Malott and Jason Sterner) and Round 5 the Earl Anthony Players Championship (Sean Rash and Scott Norton). So not only will these shows feature exciting and historic team competition, but they will also crown a PBA champion!


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THE BOWLING GUY: Top 10 Stories From 2011-12 PBA Tour Season

by Jason Thomas June 13, 2012 07:05

Now that the 2011-12 PBA Tour season is in the books, and we still have five full months until the start of next season at the World Series of Bowling this November let's take a look back and recall some of the great storylines from the season. Here are my picks for numbers 6-10, with the top five coming at you later this week...


#10 - Blanchard's Fall

While this story may not make newly selected PBA Rookie of the Year Josh Blanchard's list of moments he'd like to remember, the "fall heard 'round the world" garnered a great deal of media attention and gave the young up-and-coming star a fantastic opportunity to educate folks on some of the finer points (You use tight thumbholes? There's oil on the lanes? Pros have interchangeable slide shoes? I never knew!) of our sport. Blanchard handled the attention with great class and used the platform to make a name for himself as one of the Tour's sure-fire future stars. And he bounced back in the very next tournament with a top-four appearance in the season's first Xtra Frame Tour event in Fountain Valley.


#9 - Newell's Gutter Ball

Making his first career "TV" appearance (technically, it wasn't a TV appearance because it was an Xtra Frame only event, but to hear it from Newell, he was every bit as nervous) in the PBA Ricart Ford Open. After telling sideline reporter Jackie Bowling how nervous he was in spite of the fact that there were no ESPN cameras on hand, the man with the mohawk and "Captain America" belt dumped his first shot of the opening match against Dom Barrett straight into the gutter. After telling himself, "Well, it can't get any worse than this!" he calmed down and shot 740 for three games to defeat Barrett, Rhino Page and Ryan Ciminelli for his first career PBA Tour win.


#8 - International Dominance at WSOB

When the Dream Team dominated the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, no one thought the rest of the world would ever catch up to the Americans in the sport of basketball. For a long time, critics and experts thought the same thing of American dominance in the sport of bowling. But with the arrival of a bevy of international stars to the PBA Tour in the past five years, the tide completely shifted in favor of international dominance at this year's World Series of Bowling. International players won every single animal pattern event on the schedule (Stuart Williams of England - Viper, Jason Belmonte of Australia - Chameleon, Dom Barrett of England - Scorpion, Belmonte - Shark) with Finland's Osku Palermaa claiming the PBA World Championship. The dominant performance of the Internationals declared, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the world now stands on equal footing with the Americans at every level of the sport of bowling.


#7 - Shafer's Heartbreak at the World Championship

And speaking of the PBA World Championship, an American who could have ended the run of the international players was Ryan Shafer, who was the heavy emotional favorite going into the final match of the season's first major. With 12 career TV appearances in the majors without a win, many hoped Shafer would shake off the bad luck and post a "W", especially after his emotional reaction to advancing to the final round. But it was not to be, as a late miss on a 3-6-10 leave would cost Shafer the match and his chance to erase all of those past heartbreaks. As always, Shafer handled the loss with class and marched on with another solid performance in the U.S. Open, where he finished 4th. Fans of Shafer can only hope that next time things will be different.


#6 - Belmonte's 300

With as much power as he packs in his two-handed delivery, and with the frequency with which he is making it to the TV finals these days, it was bound to happen eventually - a perfect game on TV for Jason Belmonte. During the second eliminator match of the Mike Aulby Division Finals of the PBA World Championship, Belmonte went on a tear on the Shark pattern (that he had chosen as the high qualifier on the telecast). With laser-like precision and devastating power, Belmonte labelled twelve straight strikes to shoot the 21st televised 300 game in PBA history, earning a $10,000 bonus for his efforts.


Well, there are the first five in our list of the top 10 storylines of the 2011-12 PBA Tour season. I'll be posting the top five later this week. In the meantime, what were some of your favorite stories from this past PBA Tour season?

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THE BOWLING GUY: Big Names Need Big Days at Senior Open

by Jason Thomas June 6, 2012 02:17

The Etonic PBA Senior U.S. Open is now in its third and final day of qualifying before the majority of the field is sidelined, and several big-name players find themselves with quite a bit of work to do in order to stay alive in the tournament.


A veritable murderer's row of stars that includes Walter Ray Williams, Jr., Lennie Boresch, Jr., Kenny Parks, Mark Williams, Don Moser and reigning Senior Open champion and PBA Senior Tour Player of the Year Ron Mohr are outside of the top 24 and, in two surprising cases, behind the cashers cut line (top 55) with just six more games of qualifying remaining.




Mohr, who received his crystal PoY trophy in a pre-squad ceremony on Tuesday, is definitely the biggest surprise, struggling in round two to drop all the way to 105th position entering the final qualifying round. He needs to make up 116 pins on the cut line in order to stay alive, and he'll be bowling on the A squad, which is the second of three shifts that will be competing Wednesday.


Mark Williams, who won this tournament in 2010 (defeating Ron Mohr), is also outside the top 55 with a day to go, sitting in 75th place, and needing to make up 34 pins on the cut line. Williams is on the first squad out on Wednesday, which means he'll have to post his number "on the fresh."


With Joe Salvemini and Sammy Ventura tied for the lead, a number of marquee players are still in the mix, including Charlie Tapp (4th), Tom Baker (5th), Wayne Webb (6th), Brian Voss (13th), Hugh Miller (14th), Amleto Monacelli (15th), Eric Forkel (17th) and Mike Edwards - who making his PBA Senior Tour debut - in 24th.


The scoring pace slowed considerably on day 2, with the B squad players generally starting off playing deeper on the lanes (closer to the second arrow) than the A squad had (closer to first arrow) on day 1. In spite of that, there still seemed to be plenty of opportunities to score, as Rick Francis showed by shooting a big +277 block to jump from 79th all the way up to 11th. We'll have to watch closely to see where the C squad starts off in the morning, as the further right they play, the more likelihood there will be - since there are no re-oils between squads - for higher scores as the day goes on.


All of the action today will be covered live on Xtra Frame, and coverage will continue throughout the week through the conclusion of the event with the live stepladder finals Friday at 6:30pm ET. More than 25 hours of coverage remains, so to view the complete schedule, or to subscribe to Xtra Frame for just $7.99 per month, click here.


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THE BOWLING GUY: Two-Handers 1, "Normal" Bowlers 0

by Jason Thomas January 15, 2012 23:43

The climactic telecast of the PBA World Championship took place Sunday and it was easily the best show of the year. The TV folks did a fantastic job of squeezing in every possible storyline imaginable (Ryan Shafer's past heartbreak, Sean Rash and Jason Belmonte's rivalry, Osku Palermaa and Belmonte's eerie similarities, Rash's World Series of Bowling dominance, etc.) so that, whichever way the bowling went, it was sure to mean something to us all.

Considering how well Rash and Belmonte had bowled in the World Series, a lot of folks (including me) were expecting nothing but a final featuring the two newly minted rivals, but Shafer and Osku had other plans. As you saw in the Pre-game warmup for the show, the bowlers were striking at will on the Rash-chosen Scorpion oil pattern and many people (including Storm/Roto-Grip ball rep Chris Schlemmer) expected a high-scoring affair, but the lane oil had other plans for that as well.


Fans who might have been hoping for an all two-hander final had their hopes dashed in the opening match. Rash and Shafer zoomed out to games of 245 and 236, leaving the slow-starting two-handers behind to duel for the third and final spot in the next round. Coming down the stretch, Belmonte - who started hot and then suffered through some mid-game transition and a couple of poor shots - seemed to get it together heading into the final two frames. But he slammed a very familiar-looking stone 7 (a carbon copy of the one he left to lose the Plastic Ball Championship in 2009) in the 9th and finished with a 203. Osku, needing a double to advance or strike nine-spare to tie was forced to the second option when his second shot in the 10th left a pesky 10-pin. Luckily, Osku throws it 30 mph on his spare attempts because the only thing that looked like it could've knocked that 10-pin over on his spare shot was the wind as the ball blew by the 10-pin. After paramedics came in to defribrillate Osku's heart (just kidding, but mine definitely would have stopped) Belmonte and the burly Finn went to a one-ball sudden death roll-off.

Belmonte elected to lead off and left the bucket on a shot that sailed wide on him. Needing just 7 or better, Osku packed a strike and joined the others in the next match. According to Belmonte's Facebook page, the loss was "bitterly disappointing" and was really a big missed opportunity, considering the conventional wisdom that he gets tougher to beat in the eliminator format the longer he stays on the show. But the rest of the players heeded Randy and Chris Barnes' advice and got him out of there early.


The second match of the day was a virtual dead heat all the way into the 9th, as all three players fought transition that was seeing their balls hook too early in the front and not enough on the back part of the lane. Rash looked like he might have it figured out until a wicked 7-10 split jumped up in his 9th frame and doomed him to a 193 score. After the miss, Osku caught a double for 217 and Shafer, looking to join Palermaa in the final, finally got the break he's been waiting for in 50 long TV appearances, rolling the 2-pin in consecutive shots in the 9th and 10th for 222 to secure his spot in the title match.

It was a cruel ending for Rash, after his complete domination of the qualifying rounds and really a pretty good game here in the finals. His consolation is that he has five more appearances over the rest of the World Series telecasts and clearly, the respect of his fellow competitors for what he was able to accomplish at South Point.


As is often the case on these eliminator-format telecasts (and is also true in any show where more than one two-hander makes the finals), the longer it goes, the more the conditions favor the two-handed player. The reasons are detailed in this blog, and, using that logic, one would assume that Osku would have the advantage over Shafer heading into the final, due to the former's ability to generate the revs necessary to get left of the front-lane burn and around the back-end oil. But Shafer definitely has a few tricks up his sleeve, especially one that his fellow players refer to as "Voodoo roll" that allows the crafty veteran to stay right longer than most other players, thanks to his unique release.

But as the game progressed, it was clear that both players would need to make adjustments in order to combat the rapidly-changing environment, and heading into the 8th frame, both players were pacing sub-200 scores. Shafer made a good move (a ball change coupled with a move to the left) to give himself a chance to strike, but couldn't figure out the carry part of the equation, leaving flat-10s in the 8th and 9th to give Palermaa the opening he needed. After sniffing around all game, Osku found something late and put together a double in the 9th and 10th to shut out Shafer with a score of 203.

And just like that, Osku Palermaa became the second player from Finland - and the first two-hander - to win a PBA major title. The win was a huge boost for Palermaa, and caps off a great stretch in both his professional and private life that has seen him welcome a daughter into the world and now cash his biggest PBA check. And for those of you who think Palermaa lacks a little something in the personality department, check out this post-show interview and his cheeky, confident smile and sense of humor. It may be a little on the dry side, but it is definitely there.

Well, the year's first major is now in the books, but that doesn't mean there is not a huge amount of PBA-related things going on in the near future. The animal pattern finals now begin on ESPN, starting with the Bayer Viper Open next Sunday at 3pm ET (note the time change). Also airing Saturday and Sunday on Xtra Frame is the first-ever Xtra Frame Tour event - where a National title will be contested and awarded entirely on your online bowling channel. Don't miss a moment of the action and subscribe to Xtra Frame now (for just $7.99 a month or get a day pass for just $3.99) to see the champion crowned at Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley, California!

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