Opening the reporter’s notebook while still trying to figure out a better format for the state high school bowling finals …
Folks in Baton Rouge are getting to see some of what will be coming to the Baton Rouge River Center as part of the tremendous schedule of events that will be crammed into less than three months as part of the USBC Women’s Championship on the specially built lanes in the hall of that building.
The 2015 NCAA championships for women were rolled live on ESPNU on a Saturday night and shown again on Sunday afternoon, and Stephen F. Austin was able to defeat Nebraska in the best-of-7-game Baker format, 4-3. The Southland has put four teams in the eight-team field in both 2014 and 2015, and one hopes Tulane might be good enough to sneak in the front door to get to the tournament and be the defacto hosts next year.
This will be the first time the NCAA event has been held in an arena setting and should provide quite a showcase for television. Ratings, according to a story Monday by Jeff Richgels in 11thframe.com, were better for the college show than some other ESPN events like soccer and arena football.
The Intercollegiate, USBC’s version of men’s and women’s championships which also features club teams, were bowled this past weekend in Wichita, Kansas, and those finals will begin a four-week run on the CBS Sports Network on May 10. That tournament is expected to follow the NCAAs at the River Center in 2017.
When the PBA came up with the league bowling, I was interested, but I really didn’t get real thrilled when I watched it. But that all changed last year when the PBA League and Portland, Maine, found each other.
Little, small Bayside Bowl has become the home of the PBA League and after watching two weeks of quarterfinals, if it is possible the atmosphere in the horseshoe surroundings is even louder and wilder than last year.
Of course, it didn’t hurt when the tour wisely renamed the Philadelphia franchise the Portland Lumberjacks. My goodness, the fans now have a team to cheer for and the Lumberjacks are still alive and will bowl this Sunday in the semifinals on ESPN.
And as we mentioned earlier, the League has gotten to be something fans are enjoying watching as the numbers Tom Clark gave 11thframe.com showed that it more than doubled some other sports programming after bowling last Sunday.
One other PBA note: The Tour is in the midst of what it calls its 10-stop Xtra Frame tour, streamed by the online site on the PBA website. Sunday’s final day there were technical difficulties that prevented the stepladder finals from being streamed. But the PBA showed it was up on the technology going down to the lanes and showing every match of the stepladder on Facebook Live. Quick work allowed bowling fans who would have watched Xtra Frame, the chance to still see the finals.
High school bowling
Okay, the high school federation tried to televise the prep finals three years ago and I don’t think it succeeded too well. Six bowlers on a team all bowling at the same time over four lanes doesn’t quite work. With no other format during the year, bowling the “Baker” format would eliminate a bowler and would feel might not crown a true champion.
So I think it is time to give the singles a little flair that might attract some television. Right now singles is a virtual eliminator-type format that makes you bowl good set after set, especially if your team doesn’t advance. Why not give singles their own showcase after the team finals?
Take your medal winners and let them bowl a stepladder finals for the title. It’s a proven TV format. It’s exciting. With a high school crowd it could be Portland-like and be a good show for TV. I know they’ve already bowled six that day, but the bowlers that would be involved could do a maximum of two more games especially when you add lights and TV and a more meaningful singles state high school title. That’s my two cents’ worth.
Gregory Snee posted 802 on a strong set that featured 297 and 278 games, while Mary Mansur added another 700 to her long list of star nights with a 729 (267 high game). Justin Bui had a 300 in a 793, Duke Koontz a 299 and a high of 782.
There were some amazing youth league scores with Daniel Burzynski posting 714 (268), Tyler Lewis (672), Daniel Heitz (669) and many more 600s on the honor roll. Mike Bass posted 729 (268) to lead senior league bowlers. Congrats to Tim Frederick on his first 600 of 613.
There are a lot of Baton Rouge bowlers heading to Reno this weekend for the USBC Open Championships at the National Bowling Stadium and others heading to this year’s women’s championship in Las Vegas. We’ll have updates when we join you on May 10. Until then, good luck and good bowling.