Okay bowlers, say it with me: “Hambone!”
Fox Sports has announced that Rob Stone will return as the play-by-play voice of the Go Bowling! PBA Tour when it moves to that network at the end of this year.
Frankly, I like it. No, I love it. Even better coming from ESPN to join him is veteran analyst Randy Pedersen and laneside reporter Kimberly Pressler.
Fox Sports made the announcement last week. It is good news for bowling and the three together should fit the Fox bill of doing things with a little more flash than some other networks.
For those that don’t know, Stone made his mark as a bowling host on ESPN (2007-12) inventing the nickname he called four strikes in a row. He didn’t know much about the sport then, but let people know he was willing to learn which I think was a great thing he did. He didn’t come in and try to fake it.
He and Pedersen made a team that showed chemistry and had fun. Learning that three consecutive strikes in bowling is called a “turkey,” and finding out there was no term for four strikes in a row, Stone coined the expression “hambone.” The rest is history.
Some of the people around my age weren’t and are not real fond of “hambone.”
To them I have three words: get over it! Let’s have some fun when watching a bowling telecast.
What ESPN’s bowling coverage did in the Rob Stone years was try to attract the younger audience to get interested in bowling.
In the years since leaving ESPN for Fox, Stone has become an accomplished and respected studio host in college sports and soccer. His performance at the recent World Cup was strong and he has to be considered as one of the better hosts in the business.
“Back in 2008, the PBA unexpectedly became a cherished part of my career,” said Stone in a Fox release. “The hope to be reunited with the world’s best bowlers has existed for years. I am honored to return and cannot wait to get back to the lanes with my old partners Randy and Kimberly, and my many other co-workers and lifetime bowling friends.”
The PBA goes to Fox on Dec. 23 for the PBA Clash that will also preview the 2019 season. A lot will be different with several live and many mid-week prime time telecasts. Four events are scheduled for the Fox Network with others on FS1. The first tour event is the Hall of Fame Classic on Jan. 6.
My friend Dave LaMont will remain with ESPN doing college sports (hope to see you at LSU) and he should be credited with an outstanding job as PBA voice the past couple of seasons.
This would be a good time for me to again say that if a proprietor in this state can’t get Fox and FS1 on their TVs, this would be a good time to get things in line. A bowling center that isn’t showing bowling during leagues is doing a disservice to the industry in my opinion.
The PWBA rolled its third major Saturday at Plano Super Bowl and Stefanie Johnson and Kelly Kulick met in the CBS finals that had more subplots than people may have known.
First Kulick was back on the lanes and not in the booth with Dave Ryan (who is also an outstanding contributor to our sport). Johnson was in the center she works in and practices every day.
Johnson had the crowd and in the booth in Kulick’s place was one of Johnson’s best friends, Shannon O’Keefe (2018 POY). But most of the traveling CBS Sports Network crew was probably pulling just as hard for Kulick. I say that because of when Kulick won her lone PWBA title (since the return of the tour, she has multiple major titles including a PBA major) right here in Baton Rouge.
The trophy has a California city on it, but when the tour would tape four shows in a day, it was actually bowled at the Raising Canes River Center as part of the 2017 USBC event. To say Ryan and crew were rooting that day, and some Saturday, is an understandable understatement. All they think of Kulick was seen in BR when the traveling TV crew left the truck to congratulate her after the show.
Saturday Johnson got the breaks and made the shots needed to win her first major, 230-200.
The 2018 season ends Sept 16-19 with the top 16 bowling in Richmond, Virginia.
The Capital City Strikeout is this Saturday and Sunday at All-Star Lanes. Over 50 entries were in as of last week. Three different lane conditions, a 7-pin handicap advantage for girls in open divisions and lots of scholarship money handed out will make this a fun event to watch.
You can also see the new Qubica/AMF scoring system in action at All-Star while at Circle, the new test approaches are reportedly working well and will be put in the rest of the house in the weeks ahead as well as new scoring monitors installed.
Finally congrats to Tyler Lewis from Ponchatoula, who edged Jacob Dupre from Baton Rouge by one pin to claim victory in the PBA Emerald Bowl Southwest Challenge presented by Bowling Dynamix and Track in Houston recently. Lewis, a student at Southeastern, trailed Dupre by 87 pins going into the final position round match. Dupre, a student at LSU, struggled to find the pocket through most of the final game as Lewis kept increasing his lead. Lewis threw three strikes to end his game, forcing Dupre to strike to win the event, but a solid 10 pin on his first shot allowed Lewis to win the game, 222-164, and with 30 bonus pins, claim the $2,000 first prize with 4,517 total pins.
Back with you for more bowling on Sept. 11. Until then, good luck and good bowling.