Monday, April 18, 2011

Dick Allen Lives Up to His New First Name in Season Ending Dick Weber PBA Playoff Finals


"Sometimes the villain dresses in white."
--Dick Allen

Yesterday's televised finals of the Dick Weber PBA Playoffs marked the end of the 2010-2011 PBA Tour season. I'm always sorry to see the season come to a close. But this year I'm especially sorry that it ended with the obnoxious blaring of vuvuzelas and a victory by a guy who lived up to his four-letter first name over the guy I wanted to win.

Even though I don't like his bowling style, I respect Dick Allen's bowling skill. I even respect the fact that when Randy Pedersen asked him after the match how he felt about Chris Barnes' two consecutive pocket 7-10's late in the second game, he told the truth. He said he loved it because it gave him the chance he needed to sow up the match.

What I didn't respect were his comments several weeks ago in the tournament when he crowed about ending Walter Ray's chances of extending his record string of consecutive years of winning at least one title, and his whole demeanor yesterday, including his taunting stare at Chris Barnes at one point in the match as though it were Wrestlemania instead of professional bowling, and his deliberately throwing his fill ball in the tenth frame off the wrong foot and striking after winning the first game, and then saying, "I like salt, especially in a wound."

To me, Dick Allen habitually acts like an obnoxious jerk. I don't know if he does it on purpose just to stir up himself and everyone else, or if it's just the way he is. But one thing's for sure. Whenever he bowls, I'll be rooting for the other guy (or gal).

I did chuckle at something Randy Pedersen said during the telecast. He said that Allen liked to brag about beating Chris Barnes ten years ago in a PBA regional, and that Barnes had responded by saying, "For Ritchie, that was the greatest moment of his life. For me, it was just a warm up for the next tournament." Well, I guess Allen now has a new "greatest moment" to brag about.

Random Thoughts

I wasn't thrilled with the whole format of this tournament. First of all, arbitrarily placing the bowlers in regions and then allowing only the winners of each region to progress to the final few weeks of televised play kept some of the best players out of the proceedings and made Sunday's finals a pretty lackluster affair. I've always liked to see formats which allow the proverbial cream to rise to the top, and it seems to me that round robin match play amongst the top qualifiers followed by a stepladder finals is the best way of getting the finest bowlers into the finals while still meeting the time constraints of television. On the other hand, without the format of this tournament, guys like Randy Weiss might well never have had the chance to make it to the finals and there's something to be said for giving guys like him a chance they don't ordinarily receive, and Allen and Barnes bowled well enough that they might very well have made it anyway.

A good thing about making the title match two games instead of just one is that it affords the best player that day a better chance of winning the title than if the match is decided by only one game. In one game, someone can get a good or bad break or two and win or lose more because of that than anything else, whereas two games makes it more likely that the person who actually performs better will win. But that's only if the match is decided by total pins. That's not how yesterday's title would have been decided if Allen and Barnes had won a game apiece, which they very easily could have. The match and title would then have been awarded to the guy who got the highest count on one ball in a sudden death rolloff, where, once again, a good or bad break rather than quality of performance might well have determined the outcome. So, I say if you're going to have the top two bowl a two-game match for the title, let total pins decide the winner.

One Thoughtful Commentator

A habitually thoughtful commentator had this to say in Pba.com's PBA Forum about Sunday's telecast:

"I think bowling should always be the most memorable part of a show, with individual bowling personalities behind that. But with this most recent broadcast, I almost don't remember the matches because there were so many distractions that took away from that. Here is what most comes to mind when I think of this last show from most memorable to least:

Vuvuzelas
The over-kill of shots of the purposely placed 'hotties'
Poor camera work
Allen's personality
The recap of the season
And oh yeah, there was bowling and the matches themselves

Bowling should always be the most memorable part of the show and any gimmicks come after that. It's one thing for bowlers to have personality on the show-I think that's a good thing, but the sport and the bowling itself needs to maintain decorum and a professional feel. We are already struggling with the perception people have of bowling, and this show didn't help that in my opinion."

You can read Bill Vint's Pba.com story on the telecast here. And if you missed yesterday's televised finals, I'll post videos of them in a future entry as soon as they become available online.

7 comments:

  1. I generally like watching Allen bowl. But, this match was not enjoyable for me. He was acting like a typical league bowler on a hot streak. But, the PBA condones and encourages that behavior, because it's not nearly as bad as Angelo's behavior 2 weeks before.

    Seems to me that the "gentleman" bowler is on the way out, being replaced by the Angelo, Allen and Weiss types, that get wins by luck and gamesmanship, rather than skill. This tournament, as you noted, was deliberately set up to eliminate most of the best players, early on. I really don't understand why that was done.... I don't think it's a good way to attract an audience.

    Kerry

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  2. I again have to wonder about the use of the "pro" oil patterns.

    Barnes is, without doubt, one of the best bowlers in the world. Yet, he too often gets bitten by pin carry. In 13 years, he's made 74 finals, with only 13 wins and 23 2nd place finishes. How can that be? Only a very select few can match or exceed those numbers. This final was typical of his 2nd place finishes, with lousy pin carry and bad breaks going his way, while his opponent gets good breaks and good pin carry. His loss to Kulick is the only exception that I can recall.

    I just don't understand how the guy can consistently get to the finals, only to have such bad luck. It defies the odds. Shafer is another guy with bad luck in the finals. I have to wonder if it's really bad luck or is it the changing complexity of the oil patterns that bites them. How does Barnes shoot a 240 in the first game, then a 193 the last?

    I don't know. I do know that I didn't enjoy watching the match as much as I usually do. I don't like watching luck and good/bad breaks deciding a champion.

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  3. So sad that your guy lost so you have to criticize the other player for not being a sweetheart to poor Mr Barnes. Ritchie is a great guy. Maybe he is so dramatic on the lanes because he has bowled his entire life trying to become a successful bowler. Winning on tour is extremely difficult. Looking at someone for 3 seconds is not going to diminish the sport or hurt Chris' feeling, just yours apparently. WHen has the PBA become so soft? The wrong foot pitch was something between him and Barnes. An inside joke if you will. Ritchie never bowled for a big university or had Team USA offers. For him to beat Chris is a very big moment for him. Why would you think its funny that he is proud of beating Chris? Are you the reason Barnes is so good? Do you beat Barnes on the regular? Get over yourself.

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  4. Like I said, I respect "Dick's" bowling skill and even, to some degree, his honesty. And I've gotten some good, hearty laughs from his wackily humorous ways on Xtra Frame. But I do not respect his acting like his name on the lanes. He can be a good bowler, he can be honest, and he can be funny without acting like a DICK on the lanes. When he acts like a DICK, I want him to get dicked, if you get my drift.

    I'm sure he wouldn't give a damn what I think of his behavior, and I'm not sure why you do. But I'm glad you wrote.

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  5. I have been very good friends with him for 20 years and try to defend him when someone makes comments degrading his character. Don't confuse passion and arrogance. Why don't you write a column about every single person that has "attitude" issues with you? Certainly Ritchie is not the only person with a little competitive gamesmanship. There has to others that bother you. Say PDW? Or does his antics get a pass bc he has won so much? He is well-respected on tour for his talents and one of the most-liked guys. While I love PBIII, if everyone was as quiet as him, it would make for one boring telecast. Maybe if he crinkled a plastic water bottle in the second step of his opponents approach, you would have an argument.

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  6. Anon, if you read my blogpost and subsequent comment closely, you saw that I don't despise Mr. Allen's "character" and that I even respect his bowling skill and enjoy some of his humor. What I objected to was his behavior in the program I reviewed. However, I think it would be accurate to say that I didn't "degrade" his character in that program. He degraded it himself. He may be a great guy off the lanes. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he is. But in that program, he acted like a DICK.

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  7. I agree completely with Steve. He acted like a DICK when he was in Tulsa too. And yes, PDW can afford to act a little obnoxious. That's because he's 100x the bowler that Ritchie is or ever will be.

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