Wednesday, June 22, 2011

PBA Fines Sean Rash For Bottlegate 2

Many were wondering what would happen to Sean Rash for his profanity laced tirade (see video below) against Jason Belmonte at the GEICO Team Shootout recently. Even though the incident won't be shown on TV until the first weekend of July, video clips of it have made the Internet rounds, and there has been much discussion of it on this and other bowling blogs as well as bowling forums.

Belmonte even weighed in Monday with a very strong public statement denying that he deliberately sought to distract Rash with his water bottle and expressing profound disappointment with Rash and others for impugning his character over this. Yesterday, I posted my "blow by blow" breakdown of the incident and said what I thought about it.

Today, the PBA announced that they're fining Rash "an undisclosed amount for conduct unbecoming a professional." Your guess is as good as mine as to how much the fine will cost Mr. Rash. I suppose I could ask him at the all-day bowling clinic I plan to attend this Saturday at Fireside Lanes in Citrus Heights, CA, but I think I'll pass on posing that particular question to him. Perhaps you'd like to mosey on over and ask him yourself.

I will say, as I did yesterday, that I don't think Rash should be punished too severely for his outburst, but he and the other players should be strongly discouraged from future very public behavior of this kind. As for Belmo, a lot of people think he should be fined too. But for what? I still think the "Bottlegate" incidents with Brad Angelo and Rash were accidental and that, in any case, there's no proof that they were intentional. However, I think Belmo needs to be officially warned, if he hasn't been already, to keep his hands off his water bottle at crucial times during his matches with opponents, and if he fails to do this, then the PBA would be justified in imposing sanctions.

What do you think? Do you think Rash should have been fined or otherwise disciplined? If so, how much, or how? What about Belmonte?


  1. When I first viewed the Rash/Belmonte video I found it funny and I was frustrated with Belmonte for his second water bottle incident.

    After a few days though, I have lessened my frustration for Belmonte, especially since he says in his statement that drinking water is part of his pre-shot routine. I also see the Rash tirade as unacceptable and the PBA took the right route in fining him.

  2. Michael, when I first viewed the video, I felt disappointed in Belmo and Rash. I was disappointed in Belmo because I wanted to believe that he was the person of good character and integrity I had always taken him to be and that the previous incident with Angelo was accidental, but the fact that the problem recurred with Rash had me second guessing him. I was disappointed in Rash for acting in such an unprofessional manner.

    But, after I heard personally from Belmo himself, watched carefully all of the videos that have been released, read Belmo's public statement, and followed discussions of the incident in various online bowling forums, I came to the opinions I've expressed on the matter.

    I'm still a little disappointed in Belmo for being repeatedly careless about his water bottle, but I don't think he ever did it on purpose, and I suspect that he'll be exceedingly careful from now on.

    I'm still disappointed in Rash, but I understand that we're all human and make our share of mistakes, and I think Rash will learn from his mistake as well. I look forward to receiving coaching from him this Saturday at a local bowling clinic I plan to attend.

    And I especially look forward to watching the GEICO Team Shootout. With or without "Bottlegate 2," I think it's going to be good.

    Thanks for writing, Michael.

  3. Hi Nagarjuna, thanks for your opinion on the matter.

    Since I posted my comment Rash released his statement, which has me made change my opinion on the situation. I like Rash's statement, it was direct and to the point, whereas Belmonte's statement begins with him talking about when he was 8 years old, which has nothing to do with this incident.

    After reading Rash' statement and seeing everything else regarding this incident, I'm now on Rash's side with this incident.

    Have fun at your camp today Nagarjurna! If I may offer my little piece of advice, it's okay if only a portion (and not all) of what the coach says works for you, this is what I've learned from my times I've had bowling training sessions. We all have our different approaches and it works for us, just like at Smallwood, Walter Ray and Weber and see how all their approaches are dramatically different, but they all make it work!

    Your blog is great by the way.

    Michael Frascarelli
    Average: 211
    PBA Member

  4. Michael, thanks for your revised opinion of Bottlegate 2. Yesterday, I published a partial transcript of an interview that Above 180 did with Belmo on the incident. I still believe that he didn't mean to distract Rash, and I think he makes a pretty good argument for that in the interview. In short, he asked what he stood to gain from doing such a thing under all that scrutiny compared to what he stood to lose.

    No, I think water drinking had simply become such a vital part of his pre-shot routine and, perhaps, also a nervous tic, that he grabbed that crinkly bottle without even thinking. I don't know for sure that this is the case, since I'm not a telepath who can read Jason's mind, but I believe him.

    Furthermore, I believe that even if what Jason did was intentional, Rash was out of line in the way he handled it, and I think it was appropriate that the PBA fined him for it, even though we don't know how much, and I'm certainly not going to ask him today. :-)

    However, I suspect that both Belmo and Rash have learned from this, and I wish them both well with their careers and personal lives. Furthermore, although Belmo says in his interview that they'll probably never be "best mates" after this, I hope that they talk and at least regain the friendship they had before. It sounds like they used to have a lot of fun together.

    You're right that every bowler is different and that I may not be able to use all the advice I receive today at the clinic. I attended a similar clinic last year at the same bowling center and blogged about it (link at the end of this comment). It was hosted by Bill O'Neill, P.J. Haggerty, Dean Hinitz, Leanne Barrette-Hulsenbery, and Gary Hulsenberg, and I received advice then that didn't all prove useful. Or maybe I just never gave it the chance to become useful. In any case, I'll go, listen, ask questions, take notes, bowl, and learn what I can and blog about it afterward, and we'll see what happens.

  5. This kind of distraction happens in amature events every day as lesser bowlers try to distract from better bowlers. They simplyy think it is simple to distract than to get better at their game.BELMO is very UNprofessional being this is the second time on tv not counting other non-tv bowling.I think fining RASH is also not the way to go.PBA has lost a lot of class since the sale of it.I used to be able to hear a pin drop at the foul line 20 lanes away during any bowling. The loss of CECIL CADDEL (SW REGION) was the end of an era on class in this region. Now, it has gone up to the TV match play. This is very bad for the image of bowling.These cheating tactics are going to get worse until the cheater gets what they deserve & not the bowler who haqs to swallow it every time!!!

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