Monday, January 9, 2012

Bowling Doctor Jeff Mark's Mysterious Departure From PBA and Xtra Frame



Jeff Mark was known on the PBA's webcasting service Xtra Frame as the "Bowling Doctor." And if you watched any of Xtra Frame's coverage of PBA events, you know why. He was extremely knowledgeable about the technical aspects of bowling biomechanics, ball physics, lane construction and oil patterns, and how all these variables fit together in the increasingly challenging sport of bowling. Not only that, but he could articulate these concepts very clearly. Many times, I tuned in to Xtra Frame as much for his incisive commentary as to watch the action.

So, I was very surprised and extremely disappointed yesterday to learn that Jeff had parted ways with the PBA and would no longer be commentating on Xtra Frame. I was even more surprised to read one of the rumors circulating about why this happened. I don't believe the rumor and won't share it here, but I admit that I am curious about why Jeff left the PBA or was let go after years of seemingly dedicated and exceedingly capable service.

I inquired about it on Facebook's PBA page and on the PBA's Xtra Frame message board forum, but both inquiries were promptly deleted, and I received a private message from a PBA spokesperson explaining that this was a private matter and that no public discussion of it would be "tolerated" in PBA domains.

I guess I can understand and accept this. If I resigned or were let go from a public position, I might want the details kept quiet too instead of seeing official explanations or rumors galore splattered across the websites of my former employer.

Still, I don't think it's necessarily morbid curiosity that motivates fans of Jeff Mark, as I surely was, to want to know more about why he's no longer with the PBA or on Xtra Frame, and I don't think we're necessarily being unreasonable in our dissatisfaction with the seemingly tight-lipped and heavy-handed way in which the PBA has handled his sudden departure and public inquiries concerning it. I don't know precisely how these things should be handled, but I wish there were a better way to do it.

Nevertheless, the show must go on, and I've been assured by the aforementioned spokesperson that "The Bowling Guy" Jason Thomas will very capably take over Mark's commentary position, and, having heard Jason's work over many hours on Xtra Frame and having read his excellent columns on the PBA website, I don't doubt that he'll do an outstanding job in his own right.

Below is a video showing some of Jeff Mark's work on PBA Xtra Frame, even though it doesn't showcase his superb expert commentary skills.

5 comments:

  1. He got fired because he was a Pedo...

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  2. I don't know how to handle this either, however I get the feeling the kind of censorship they are engaging it isn't going to go over well. IF they want to keep it private, and are not going to tolerate any discussion, they could come out and say that, rather than pulling this kind of crap.

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  3. I agree. They should make an official statement to the effect that they aren't going to explain why Jeff Mark is no longer with Xtra Frame and the PBA, and they should show display empathy for those of us who were huge fans of Mark's, instead of treating us almost like we're criminals for pressing the matter in the face of their evasiveness.

    I would also say that if the rumors, of which you're probably aware, are true that he was fired because he was accused of something for which he was never legally charged and of which the PBA did not verify his guilt, then I think the PBA treated him with shocking unfairness. But then I don't begin to know the circumstances of his departure and am therefore in no position to say that what the PBA did was wrong or right.

    I will only say that I miss Jeff Mark on Xtra Frame and that I thought that he, Jason, and Mike J made a fantastic team that, as good as it is still, will always be weaker without Jeff Mark than with him.

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  4. What about the other ridiculous rumors; he had weight loss surgery, he was one of the shooters in Dallas 1963 or he is now blamed for our loss in the Vietnam War.

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