Exciting end to PBA season Print
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You can't get much better with Sunday's last official tournament of the 2009-10 Professional Bowlers Association (PBA)?in the Marathon Open in Baltimore, Md.
A hall of famer winning, the player of the year (POTY)?race going down to the last game of the season, another hall of famer making history by earning that player of the year honor, and a good old-fashioned NASCAR-like verbal spat in one of the matches.
In the end, my personal favorite PBA player, Pete Weber ended a three-year title drought (he last won on March 4, 2007), and he couldn't hold back his emotions after some ups and downs on the lanes over those three years. "I feel like I just won my first title," Weber said after the show with tears in his eyes. "I don't know what to say. It's been three years since I won. I thought I was never going to win again."
And the victory over Mike Scroggins (268-224) gave Weber's longtime rival Walter Ray Williams Jr. player of the year at 50 years old. Williams, Scroggins and Bill O'Neill were tied atop the POTY?points going into the final match, but Scroggins had to win since WRW held the tiebreaker of most competition points.
"So Walter Ray owns me another one," Weber said, referring to the payback he wants because of Williams' dominance over Weber on television. "But I said yesterday, if Mike was going to win player of the year, he was going to have to earn it and I'm sure the other guys on the show felt the same way. Mike, I'm sorry I shot 268 at you...not."
But Weber was only part of the entertainment, though his trademark crotch-chop-hambone tribute to ESPN?announcer Rob Stone late in the second game was enjoyable, as well as pointing toward Stone after his second hambone to start the championship.
The second match of the show between Chris Barnes and Brad Angelo provided some verbal fireworks about which every bowler, including myself likely has a distinct opinion. And mine is quite different from the analyst who sits next to Stone, former PBA member Randy Pedersen.
In the sixth frame, Angelo threw a bad shot on the right lane, but carried it on the Brooklyn side. He turned and innocently raised his hands and smiled at someone in the crowd. I?can honestly say I?might do the same thing ... maybe I?wouldn't. I?can't even pretend to know what I'd do on TV while bowling for a PBA title and $25,000 first-place prize. But for Pedersen to say it wasn't "PBA?protocol"?was quite inappropriate.
"You're bowling a guy like Chris Barnes, you throw a Brooklyn at him and you raise your arms, it's like throwing gasoline on a fire,"?Pedersen said. "All you're going to do is really irritate Chris Barnes."
I didn't believe that nonsense. But as Pedersen likes to point out about himself, he's right quite often and he was right this time too.
"That's a real strike,"?Barnes said while walking back on the approach from throwing a strike in the seventh frame before talking to Stone and Pedersen during the new talk-to-the-bowler-during-a-game segment. Stone asked him if a sole change on his shoe worked all right.
"I?didn't go Brooklyn ... I?guess that was all right,"?Barnes said.
Classy, real classy.
Pedersen continued after Barnes struck in the eighth frame.
"Let me just say this ... Brad Angelo's not afraid to get in there and mix it up with you,"?he said. "I?told you ... you throw a Brooklyn at Chris Barnes, you put your head down, act like you're disgusted and embarrassed and you move on."
Why thanks for the advice Randy. I guess I?have to learn about PBA?protocol. There was more from Pedersen, the PBA's keeper of the unwritten rulebook.
"You certainly don't showboat and get up in his grill about it,"?he added, referring to Angelo innocently putting his arms up because he was happy at the break.
At least Stone was smart and logical.
"He wasn't showboating or getting up in his grill,"?Stone defended Angelo. "He was excited. He got a big break. You're not allowed to do that?"
Pederson responded:?"Not when you throw Brooklyn against your opponent ... no"
Give me a break! Let me remind Pedersen that Barnes has been the beneficiary of two pretty important Brooklyn strikes in his career -- last year against Rebekah Diers in the midst of six consecutive strikes to take home the Clash of the Champions title and the 2005 Motel 6 Roll to Riches in which he carried a Brooklyn on the last shot to win $200,000.
Pedersen was right about something else. Angelo did mix it up, as well as he should after hearing the inappropriate comments from Barnes.
"That ain't Brooklyn,"?Angelo said with an angry look on his face while pumping his fist after striking on his next ball. "That wasn't a Brooklyn shot there."
"The Italian coming out in Angelo right there,"?Stone said. "I?like it."
Angelo wasn't done.
"Neither was that,"?he yelled while pointing at the audience following his next strike, a light mixer shot on the left lane. "That wasn't Brooklyn either,"?he added while tossing an indignant glance at Barnes.
Then Pedersen played the other side of the fence by complimenting Angelo.
"Hey, can you blame him? The guy just got called out for his Brooklyn and now he's giving it right back. Good for him."
Way to go Randy. Nice way to try to make up for calling out Angelo.
And way to go Brad. His anger resulted in Barnes doing what he does best -- throwing bad shots in the late stages to lose a match on TV.
Guess he won't make any comments about Brooklyn shots again.
The PBA?needs more rivalries and trash-talking on the lanes.