The Trusty Crystal Ball looks into Bowling's Future Moves By Dick Evans

    11/06/07

    Column

    2005WRMDickEvans.jpg My old crystal ball has been right several times and also given me some marginal advice at other times.

    For example, my trusty crystal ball predicted that CBS would replace the ABC network, which televised PBA finals for 36 years, in 1997. It was a disaster two-year CBS deal that brought the old PBA nothing but major financial headaches.

    And a couple years ago I looked into my crystal ball and it told me that the new PBA was going to all-exempt format weeks before the PBA announced its 64-player all-exempt field in regular tournaments.

    However, last week I may have misread what the crystal ball was trying to tell me about women contestants in the Masters Tournament in Milwaukee. I thought it was telling me that a woman (probably Liz Johnson) was going to make the telecast and several other were going to sparkle.

    My old crystal ball was off target in a way because none made the Masters telecast but Liz Johnson, Carolyn Dorin-Ballard and Lynda Barnes did wonders for the image of female bowlers going up against male rivals.

    For the past few weeks my aging crystal ball has been telling me that before the 2,010 calendar is introduced that the Dallas suburb of Arlington will be the new home of the United States Bowling Congress, its new ultra modern training center that will feature donated Brunswick equipment and a new Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum attraction.

    And it will be within a Tiger Woods wedge shot of the home of the Bowling Proprietors Association of America.

    The USBC announced last week that the bowling industry may revive the Orlando concept that was considered about a decade ago.

    Orlando was a good site then, it's a bad site now and for many reasons:
    1. The property value in that area of Florida has gone up dramatically, especially in the Orlando and Disney World area.
    2. Insurance rates have skyrocketed since three hurricanes hit the area two years ago.
    3. Flights into Orlando are expensive and it's almost impossible to even make reservations into the area during spring break, the major holidays and during the summer when parents fly their children into the expensive world playground.
    4. When airlines are over booked, it also is almost impossible to rent a car. I know, I tried to fly into Orlando to drive home during spring break and there was not a rental car to be found.

    So maybe the old crystal ball has something if the USBC is serious about leaving the Milwaukee area, which erected the first ABC permanent building at its present site in 1952. The USBC headquarters and testing site is located in a great business area and should be worth more than $15 million dollars if sold.

    The USBC also owns the building where the Bowling Hall of Fame and Museum is located in downtown St. Louis. The building is gorgeous and was erected across from Sportsman Park but the Cardinals have moved and they are talking about major site changes for the bowling fixture.

    If the USBC sold the building it should result in major dollars.

    So the USBC could take all that money and buy a parcel of land near the BPAA headquarters in Arlington and build a USBC headquarters and a ultra-modern testing site.

    Then all of bowling except for the PBA would be within walking distance of each other and that would cut down on travel expenses big time. Besides, Dallas is located in the central part of the country and there are many more flights into and out of Dallas and they don't require changing planes in most cases.

    It would fantastic if the Professional Bowlers Association in a cost reduction move would abandon its impressive half-floor office in Seattle but the Crystal Ball does not see the PBA moving with the USBC and BPAA.

    There are some other side benefits to a move to the Dallas area. Two of the best bowling papers, one weekly and one monthly, are located there. And many of the country's top pro bowlers live in the Southwest area.

    Unfortunately, there could be hardships for current USBC employees no matter where the USBC moves if indeed it moves.

    And there could be future problems between USBC and BPAA leaders despite the harmonious atmosphere today. The bowling industry is on the same page right now and behind every move of USBC President Jeff Bojé, BPAA President Joe Schumacker and BPAA Executive Director John Berglund.

    My crystal ball thinks it's a leadership group made in heaven.

    But there have been trying times when the ABC, BPAA and even the PBA did not see things eye to eye and that could happen again as leadership and interests change with the times.

    Still, my trusty crystal ball says it makes more common sense to move the USBC properties to the BPAA site than moving both organizations to Central Florida.

    I never knew in the first place why the ABC, which got its initial start in New York, wound in Milwaukee until I read Doug Schmidt's new historical book: "They Came to Bowl, How Milwaukee Became America's Tenpin Capital." It's good reading, especially about the early days.

    My crystal ball did not want to be shut down until it had one more thing to predict: Since the current USBC Hall of Fame Board changed the ABC and WIBC eligibility tournament rules that have stood since 1965, then the USBC should change its old decision and accept Glenn Allison's 900 as the first perfect series ever rolled.

    Allison has garnered more publicity since the ABC refused to sanctioned his 900 he rolled in 1982 than if it had been approved. Writers have harped on the injustice of the ruling for 25 years although in his ABC Hall of Fame resume it states that "Allison is known as "Mr. 900" for an unapproved 900 series."

    If the USBC approves Allison's 900 then he will only become a footnote as the first person ever to roll a 900 series in sanctioned league play and all of the negative stories about him being treated unfairly will disappear.

    Many writers also have been upset that Del Ballard was not voted into the USBC Hall of Fame the past two years and point to his great resume in major tournaments.

    The new players on the USBC Hall of Fame ballot – Parker Bohn and Brian Voss – may make Ballard's election even more difficult since they have many more titles. And if Ballard is not inducted next year then he will be up against players like Mark Roth, Marshall Holman, John Petraglia, Amleto Monacelli and Wayne Webb. They all could go on the ballot starting in 2009 since the 20-year ABC/USBC national tournament ruling has been altered to include PBA competition.

    The USBC Hall of Fame committee decided that ABC and WIBC tradition could be altered with new rules and regulations for the USBC, which will celebrate its third anniversary on Jan. 1.

    My crystal ball likes changes and thinks the new ballot procedure will bring USBC Hall of Fame recognition to all the great bowlers in our country's history and that is a positive step.

    Ditto for moving USBC headquarters to the Dallas area.


    Contact Dick Evans at Evans121@aol.com