Monday, March 22, 2010

PBA Dual Pattern Madness

I was happy to see Brian Kretzer finally win a national title yesterday, but I was bored almost to death watching him do it. I attribute much of my boredom to the numerous errant shots and low scores brought on in large part by the ridiculously challenging dual pattern condition they put out for the entire tournament and the televised finals.

I admit that the idea appealed to me initially. Test the best bowlers on the planet by forcing them to adapt to two diametrically opposed oil patterns on the same pair and let the best of the best rise to the top of the heap. But not only did the single elimination match play format prevent this from happening, but, after watching the bowlers struggle inordinately all week and Kretzer and Allen almost fall on their faces yesterday, I think putting one oil pattern on one lane and a very different one on the other is madness.

You almost might as well force the bowlers to bowl facing backwards or standing on their heads on one lane and in their regular way on the other. The disparity between the release, angle, and ball speed the players must use from one lane to the other is just too great to bring the best out in them, and I think tournaments should be about bringing out the best in the best.

You bring out the best by putting out the same challenging but playable pattern on both lanes of a pair and forcing the players to make reasonable adjustments from one lane to the other, since no two lanes play exactly alike, and execute well to win. You don't do what we Xtra Frame subscribers saw all last week and what hapless ESPN viewers saw yesterday until a good many of them probably tuned to another channel right in the middle of the show.

Not unless you want to make a sport struggling to become popular and attract fans less popular and attractive than ever, and that way lies madness for a PBA Tour on the brink of collapse.

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