Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Jason Belmonte's Noisy Water Bottle

"Was Angelo just being too picky or do you think he has a gripe with Belmo's borderline obsessive need to fondle his H2O?"
--Jason Thomas, stirring the pot

Did he or didn't he? Did Jason Belmonte mean to use his water bottle to distract Brad Angelo while Angelo was bowling, or was it an accident? Well, actually, two accidents? This is the question bowling fans are contemplating after reading Jason Thomas' recent column "Belmonte/Angelo Provide Fireworks on This Sunday's Show" on

Before I say more, here is the video Thomas provides of the encounter that takes place between Belmo and Angelo in a match that will be shown this coming Sunday on ESPN:

My First Impression

I have to admit that when I first watched this video, it looked like Belmo was slyly trying to bother Angelo, especially the second time, when Angelo threw the ball after angrily dropping his ball on the ball return the first time. The second incident just seemed too perfectly timed to be an accident.

Moreover, when Angelo scolds him the second time, Belmo doesn't act like someone who's been falsely accused of something. If someone accuses me of something I didn't do, I'm going to deny it, not just stand there impassively like someone who knows he's been caught red handed and has no defense for it.

But when I think about it, I realize that Belmo might not have even known what Angelo was reacting to the first time, and that it may simply be his nature not to protest a false accusation against him under the television lights. Moreover, Belmo has always struck me as one of the nicest people and classiest acts on the PBA Tour. It's just hard for me to believe that he, of all people, would resort to such underhanded tricks to beat his opponents. Then again, maybe he's the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing who only appears to be a nice guy exhibiting good sportsmanship.

Fans Weigh In

As you might well expect, people see this differently. Here are some of the opinions expressed on Facebook:

"I like both guys, but I was there about 10 feet away. Jason did NOT wait until Brad released the ball. As a matter of fact, Jason did it twice within a minute. The first time Brad stepped off and reset. The second time he was already on his way to the foul line. Jason was wrong on this one."

"Intentional or not the water bottle noise is distracting, the entire center is quiet and the guy behind you crinkles a bottle, wtf! You wouldn't see that at a PGA event, hopefully lesson learned."

"Belmo seems like he is too nice of a guy to do something like that. I never heard any water bottle make noise so I think Brad is just being a big baby. He needs to learn to block stuff from his head. I thought that is what pros are supposed to do. Must be why he is not on TV much lol."

Belmo Explains

Belmonte finally came on Facebook Monday night and offered this explanation of what happened:

"First off - Brad and I had a chat directly after the match. We hugged and made up. He explained that he over reacted in the heat of the moment and I told him how awful I felt. Brad is not a D-Bag, quite the opposite.
Now, what I told him: I explained to him the first time the bottle cracked was completely my fault. I didn't expect the bottle to crack like it did and I should have paid more attention to my competitor. The 2nd time I waited till the ball was off his hand till I unscrewed the cap to have a quick sip before I had to bowl. Problem was that the bottle made a single pop sitting in my hand. I didn't attempt to open the bottle in his swing like people or the PBA are trying to suggest. That would be a D-Bag move and last time I checked I'm not a D-Bag.
There was a noise, a single pop and it did put him off. We bowlers get 10 frames to make the 10 best shots we can on TV, I felt horrible because I accidentally took one of those shots away.
I'm a little sad to see the PBA try and blow this out of proportion, considering the match itself is a great match and was very close all the way to the end. Clutching at straws I guess.
Jason Belmonte"

What do you think? I give Belmo the benefit of the doubt and figure he's going to be a lot more careful with that water bottle from now on.


  1. I think that the PBA folks that are trying to milk this for publicity are way out of line. It's a tempest in a teapot type thing and they are dead wrong for playing it up like this. The PBA blurb mentioned something about Belmonte having an obsession with the water bottle. That's more crap. Watch any match and you'll usually see both players playing with those drink bottles all the time they're sitting down, including while the other player is making his approach. Those folks are nervous and they feel a need to do something with their hands, which is very common and normal behavior.

    Does the PBA "really" want to cast one of their brightest stars as a scumbag? wow, that certainly has to make Belmonte feel good about his association with them. The PBA people involved with this should go work for the fake pro wrestling groups.

    Angelo isn't exactly a guy without a temper nor is he blameless in the incident itself. He said it was the 3rd time that it had happened. Well, why didn't he talk to Belmonte about it the FIRST time, without making a big scene on camera? I know I would have, if it was something that bothered me, because I have done exactly that, in the past. I think Angelo over-reacted, hugely. If he had quietly told Belmonte that the bottle noise bothered him, the FIRST time it happened, then if it happened again, there'd be no doubt.

    Secondly, these guys that get all bent out of shape like that, just amaze me. How can they compete during the week, when there is a TON of noise and distractions for every shot, but can't hold their concentration on TV?

    You don't see the majority of players getting distracted, so it has to be the individual's problem, in this case, Angelo's. There are a couple of bowlers that routinely whine about noise and distractions when they're on TV. Certainly there are times when there are legitimate cause for complaint, but for the guys that routinely have issues, I'd suggest that they're in the wrong business if they can only perform well when they're in isolation.


  2. Kerry, you make excellent points. I think I agree with virtually everything you say. I'm not sure Jason Thomas was trying to make Belmo out to be a "scumbag." But it certainly seems like he was out to milk a minor incident for all it's worth (and then some) to draw attention to his column and to this Sunday's telecast. And he probably succeeded. He certainly got MY attention.

  3. Yesterday, I watched and, for the most part, enjoyed all 3 matches in the telecast. Today, I've been reviewing this match on youtube.

    My initial impression of Angelo was fortified by his behavior in the total context of the match. Being blunt, Angelo was determined to be a jerk from the start, and he certainly fulfilled that objective.

    Angelo had a teenage "fan club" dressed in green shirts, carrying signs designed to show that Angelo was spoiling for a fight. One sign said, That's BAD Brad Angelo, another Pimpin' Brad Angelo, and other signs with That Ain't Brooklyn, to remind folks of his conflict with Barnes. At least twice, I observed Angelo look in the direction of the fan club and give a thumbs up. Clearly he was enjoying the juvenile adulation.

    Angelo made a bad shot in the 5th, going through the nose, but only leaving 2. On the way back, he gave a dirty look to Belmonte. Belmonte's water bottle was on the table and he was standing behind the ball return, so Angelo was off base there. If he heard anything, it was LONG before he started his approach.

    Angelo picked up his spare and then showed his true colors. Belmonte was on the left lane, the other side of the ball return. While Jason was preparing for his split conversion, Angelo started messing with the balls on the ball return, banging them together and directly in Belmonte's peripheral vision and very close to him. You can barely hear the sound of the balls in the video clip, so Belmonte certainly could hear them. Why did Angelo do that? Then, Angelo goes back to his seat and immediately starts squeezing his water bottle on the table. Clearly, he's seeing what kind of noises the bottle makes.

    Now, here's Angelo, who's just made a terrible first shot in the 5th, but his focus on the water bottle instead on his game. That's way out there, IMO. I can't imagine any pro making a bad shot and then not trying to figure out how to fix it. At this point, it's clear that Angelo is fixated on Belmonte and the water bottles. Then, they go to commercial break.

    Why didn't Angelo talk to Belmonte during the perfect opportunity afforded by the commercial break? I think he intended to throw the fit on camera hoping to rattle Belmonte and throw him off of his game. At that point, Dino was pretty much out of contention, so Angelo could win the match if Belmonte flubbed another frame or 2.

    Jason Thomas wasn't very observant. If he wanted to show gamesmanship, he picked the wrong player. Belmonte wasn't the bad guy here. Watching the entire match gives you the proper perspective and information. Belmonte tried several times to talk to Angelo, but Angelo rebuffed him. Belmonte is a true gentleman and sportsman and was visibly upset over the incident. Fortunately, it didn't affect his game.

    The really funny thing was that if Angelo had concentrated on being a "GOOD" bowler instead of a "BAD" man, he could have won the match.

    At this point, I don't ever want to watch Angelo again. I don't enjoy that kind of behavior at all.


  4. Kerry, I'm not sure my reaction to Angelo is quite as strong as yours. I agree that there were better ways to handle matters than he did, and I'm not at all happy with Jason Thomas' recent column on praising Angelo as his new "favorite bowler" in large part because of Angelo's combative attitude with Chris Barnes and Belmo. However, I think that, overall, Angelo isn't that bad of a guy and is a good bowler.

    I just hope that the PBA telecasts don't morph into "PBA Sunday Smackdown."

  5. Brad joined us on our podcast last week and this week we are talking to Belmo. I would suggest taking a listen via

  6. Thanks for the heads up, Tim. I've heard the podcast with Brad and even linked to it and quoted from it here. I look forward to hearing the Belmo podcast as well.

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