Monday, April 11, 2011

Chris Barnes Looks Dominant in Second to Last Week of the 2010-2011 Season

"I’ve bowled well on TV the last couple of years, but last year the four people I bowled against shot a combined 1,012 so no one gave me any breathing room. I’ve bowled pretty well, and the season before, at the end of the year, I won back-to-back titles and left a 8 pin on the money shot in the U.S. Open to win. The things that haunted me through those TV shows Mark Baker (Barnes’ coach) addressed, and I fixed them, and when I get in those situations now there’s no fear about what’s going to happen. I know what I need to execute when I’m in those situations and it’s gone pretty well since then."
--Chris Barnes

Barnes' Vindication

A year ago, I posted a blog entry (you can click here to read it) titled "Why Do So Many Love to Hate Chris Barnes?" I wrote it a day after the telecast in which Barnes showed displeasure over a Brad Angelo crossover strike and Angelo got fired up over it and defeated Barnes during the final tournament of the season.

Barnes had had a rough year. Well, at least it was rough year for Chris Barnes, even though most touring pros would have probably considered it a good to great year. And after losing more than one "Chris Barnes Challenge" to lesser opponents, not winning a Tour title all season, and making that snide remark about Angelo's "Brooklyn," it seemed that the floodgates sprang wide open for fans to criticize and mock Barnes as an overrated, arrogant jerk who "always chokes" on TV. Never mind that, as I pointed out, he was still near the top in every statistical category and that the last three opponents he faced on TV that season shot a combined score of 811 against him.

Well, after performing superbly for Team USA in the 2010 Men's World Championships, winning the first major of this season in the PBA World Championship, sitting high in all the PBA statistical categories, and putting on a remarkable performance in his match televised yesterday against Jason Belmonte in the Regional Championships Round of the inaugural Dick Weber PBA Playoffs, I don't see how anyone can mock Mr. Barnes now.

Not only did Barnes not "choke" yesterday, but he elevated his outstanding game to a dazzling level of excellence. While all five other bowlers struggled to hit the pocket consistently and carry strikes, Barnes executed beautifully, hitting the pocket every time on a pretty tricky pair of lanes and carrying ten strikes on his way to a commanding 260-199 victory over Jason Belmonte in the final match of the day.

I don't know that I've ever seen him or anyone look sharper, and I don't think anyone has a better all-around game than his. Even if Barnes wins the title next week, Mika Koivuniemi appears to have a deserved lock on Player of the Year, but Barnes' only competition for the runner-up spot would be Bill O'Neill.

Not bad at all for an "overrated, arrogant jerk who always chokes on TV."

Other Matches

Randy Weiss def. Steve Jaros 191-179.
Dick Allen def. Jack Jurek 222-198.

Jaros and Jurek, along with Belmonte, earned $7,000 each.

You can read Bill Vint's summary of yesterday's televised matches here. As of now, I can't find any video posted online of yesterday's matches, but if and when I do, I'll present it in a follow-up entry to this one.

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