Do you enjoy participating in fantasy sports leagues? Personally, I currently compete in both NFL and NASCAR Leagues. I have also been involved in baseball and golf fantasy leagues in the past. There are fantasy leagues in almost any sport you can think of.
It seems the only sport that has been sans fantasy, to my knowledge, has been bowling. That, my friends, may soon change, because the PBA Tour is adding team competition to its lineup beginning this bowling season. Actually adding is not the operative word here, as the PBA used to have teams many years ago. It's coming back, and whether fantasy leagues will form in its wake is entirely up to you folks.
Here's what I have learned thus far about the Tour's newest venture. This from PBA Commissioner Tom Clark: "Bowling has deep roots in team competition. As part of its 2012-13 season, the PBA is going to return five-player team bowling competition to the spotlight, but in a way it has never before been seen."
OK, Mr. Commissioner. You have my attention.
The PBA Tour is going to establish an eight-team bowling league. The teams will soon be picked by the eight players who have been deemed a Franchise Player. These eight bowlers were at the top of the 2011-12 PBA Tour competition points list. They include Sean Rash, Jason Belmonte, Mike Fagan, Pete Weber, Osku Palermaa, Norm Duke, Bill O'Neill and Chris Barnes.
The franchise players will select their teammates next Friday. In a random lottery Norm Duke was chosen first and he will have the first pick. He will be followed by Weber, O'Neill, Belmonte, Fagan, Rash, Barnes and Palermaa. The draft will take place in "serpentine" fashion, meaning Palermaa will have the eighth and ninth picks before Barnes gets No. 10 and back down the list we go. Wait until I use that word next September at our football draft. We have always used this system, but I'm pretty sure the guys have never heard of serpentine.
You can watch the draft next Friday on Xtra Frame, the PBA's online bowling channel. Deciding which team you want to root for may have to wait though. Before competition begins each team will be given a celebrity captain and a city to call home. If you have a favorite sports city, you may well have another sports team to follow.
The team aspect of this year's Tour will debut at the Detroit PBA Winter Swing during the week of Jan. 19-27 at Thunderbowl Lanes in Allen Park, Mich. Four separate tournaments will be held in four days there. While bowling in each individual tournament, team players will be amassing scores that will lead to seeding for the first team event.
That first team competition will take place on Sunday, Jan. 27 at Thunderbowl. The top four teams will bowl in a stepladder format getting points to determine who will bowl for the League championship come March in Indianapolis. All in all there will be six ESPN telecasts of the league.
Maybe the most interesting part of this new team concept is the fact that the teams will be bowling in a Baker format. Each bowler will bowl two frames with the anchor bowler getting the fifth and 10th frames. The games will go quickly and should be a lot of fun to watch.
The Baker format will be cool, but I wouldn't mind seeing the teams bowl actual three-game series like we do in our leagues. It would be interesting to compare our teams' best effort with the pros. That might be a little scary as well.
Maybe I don't want to know how many pins my team could lose by!
Rich Yates Jr. fired a 706 series to lead the way in the Wednesday Morning League. Mark Huffman shot 660, Paul Landers 657, Ken Lofton 651 and Steve Norman 644. In the Sportsman League Kevin Fitch had a big 288 game on his way to a 685 series. Chris Johnson shot 662, Rich Yates Sr. 617, Greg Tiell 608, Chris Rhodes 608, Jim Mason 593 and John Streaker 589. Rocket League scores included Tim Sturgill 633, Tyson Shope 629, John Funk 575, Mike Kimmet 571, Steve Barnes 569, Dottie Funk 540 and Beth Jones 468.
Dick Gabel shot 540 in the 55 Plus League at the K of C Lanes. Jim Ruess had 533, Bill Mizen 526, Bob Reinhart 513, Dan Coppes 495, Paul Gosche 490, John Ferstler 478, Steve Shafer 478 (which included a fine 213 game; way to go, Steve), Jim Ferstler 470, Bob West 434, Paul Fey 408 and Dave Everhart 394. In the Lady Knights League Carol Burmeister had games of 196, 184, and 152 for a nice 532 series. Dawn Davis converted three splits on the night shooting 496, while Deb Hoerig shot 447, Marilyn Gangluff 444 and Madonna Gase 402.
Robin Dickman shot 577, Pat Cook 530, Janet Houk 512, Kathy Zeis 506 and Sue Stine 491 in the Alley Cats League. In the Imperial-Majorette League Ben Hoyda shot 672, Kevin Young 665, Brian Jakupca 655, Rhonda Fitch 570, Deb Nominee 492 and Linda Brookes 478. Scores from the Rock N Roll League included Ken Bauman 636, Greg Kiser 613, Bob Steele 607, Janice Young 540 and Rose Steele 426. In the Twilight League Steve Barnes shot 623, Brian Jakupca 613, Josh Aker 612, Rhonda Fitch 510, Robin Brownell 508 and Kristin Fitch 466.
Al Stephenson is The A-T's bowling columnist.
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