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How to make professional football safer

Fantasy Football, Gambling, Green Bay Packers, Las Vegas, NFL

It's very simple.  Take the modern helmet from the players and give them a leather helmet to protect from hair pulling and cuts.

What are some of the recent head injuries in pro football?  How about the Miami Dolphins QB Trent Green's recent concussion... Do you think that there was any way on God's Green Earth that Green would have attempted that block if he was wearing a leather helmet?  What about Buffalo Bills lineman Kevin Everett's spinal injury?  Would he have attemted to tackle the ball carrier by leading with his helmet if his head weren't protected?

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The James family has grown by one

James family, Nutjobs, Vier Pogo Squad 51

Meet Vier Pogo Squad 51

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Do you feel that your children are safer today than they were a month ago?

James family, My-Sugar-Na

For the last few weeks, My-Sugar-Na has been helping children get to school as a West Allis crossing guard. 

I can still remember the day, lo those many days ago, when I came home from work to see my lovely bride's face, beaming with pride.  She rushed into our foyer to show me her offical police department issued stop sign.

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I feel like Oprah!

Bluemound Bowl, Book review, Bowling, Fox 6, Riviera Lanes, They Came to Bowl, Uphill (both ways), USBC Masters

(Side note:  But I think I look better than she does!)

Welcome to the second, and most likely the last segment of "MJ's Book Club". 

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You've seen my face, now look at the back of my head

Bowling, Miller Park, PBA Tour, Riviera Lanes, USBC Masters

With the United States Bowling Congress Masters competition beginning on Tuesday at AMF Bowlero (culminating with the finals in the infield at Miller Park), the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran a story about Chad Kloss from the Milwaukee area.  Chad earned an exemption onto the Professional Bowlers Association tour this season, and the USBC Masters is the first stop of the Tour this season.

I was lucky enough to have Chad on my team for the first seven weeks of the season in the 1070 Classic League at Riviera Lanes.  This past Thursday, MJS photographer Gary Porter came into Riviera to take Chad's photo for the story.  But enough about Chad.  He has his own blog.

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Tuesday AM update from the USBC Masters

Bowling, Miller Park, PBA Tour, USBC Masters, Vier Pogo Squad 51

Everybody makes a big deal about how the USBC Masters finals will be held at Miller Park on Sunday.  But only four bowlers will be there for the finals.  What happens to the rest of the bowlers?

The format is as follows....

  • There are four squads of approximately 125 bowlers each (the final field size isn't yet known as walk-in entries are still being accepted today).  Each squad will bowl two 5-game blocks today and tomorrow.
  • On Thursday morning, the top 1/4 of the field will bowl an additional 5 games.  At that point, the 63 bowlers with the highest 15 game scores will advance into match play.  Last year's champion, Doug Kent, will also be seeded into match play.
  • On Thursday evening and all day on Friday, the remaining bowlers bowl 3-game matches in a double elimination format.  It is impossible to properly describe the format here, suffice to say that if a bowler doesn'tt lose a match, s/he won't have to face nearly as many competitors.  By Friday evening, the final four bowlers will be known.

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Tuesday PM update from the USBC Masters

Bowling, PBA Tour, USBC Masters

We've reached the quarter pole... half of the bowlers have bowled half of their games.  The lanes must have opened up after the first block, as many top scorers in the first block slid way down the list.  Notable names in the Top 100 include...

  • 1st place - Tom Baker (PBA veteran of over 20 years).  238.2 average
  • 5th place - Chris Warren has slid from 1st after the first block.  235 average
  • 8th place - Lennie Boresch, Jr. from Kenosha has slid from 2nd after the first block.  230.4 average
  • 11th place - Tim Janz from Beaver Dam has slid from 3rd after the first block.  225.8 average
  • 12th place - Ralph Hibbard, Jr. from Mukwonago (with whom I have known for 20 years).  225.6 average
  • 20th place - Jack Jurek (made the Finals last season at the State Fair Expo).  220.8 average
  • 23rd place - Ross Strand from Green Bay (who bowled for a couple of seasons at Bluemound Bowl).  219.4 average
  • 47th place - Del Ballard, Jr. (longtime PBA vet and husband of 51st place).  210.6 average
  • 51st place - Carolyn Dorin-Ballard (wife of 47th place).  209.8 average
  • 61st place - Mike Neau from Kenosha.  207.6 average
  • 91st place - Patrick Allen has slid from 38th place after the first block.  201.2 average
  • 92nd place - Jeff Taylor from Madison.  201 average
  • 95th place - Dave Traber (longtime PBA vet, formerly from Cedarburg).  200.2 average
  • 98th place - Nicholas Heilman from La Crosse.  199.8 average

As I mentioned earlier, I will be at AMF Bowlero by around 8:00 and I plan to watch the fourth block. 

Wrap-up of Tuesday's Masters qualifying

Bluemound Bowl, Bowling, Miller Park, PBA Tour, They Came to Bowl, USBC Masters

First, the list of notable names in the top 122 (which will be the cut line after today's five-game blocks)...

  • 1st - Derek Eoff from Greenfield.  250.4 average
  • 3rd - Tommy Jones (PBA superstar that bowled in the 2006 finals at the State Fair Expo Center).  241.6 average
  • 16th - Lennie Boresch, Jr. from Kenosha.  230.4 average
  • 20th - Tim Janz from Beaver Dam.  225.8 average
  • 21st - Ralph Hibbard, Jr. from Mukwonago.  225.6 average
  • 22nd - Ben Hoefs from West Bend (who recently drilled a new ball for me).  225.4 average
  • 26th - Chad Kloss from Greenfield (and league teammate).  224.6 average
  • 32nd - Matt Stock from Omro.  222 average
  • 38th - Jack Jurek (PBA player that bowled in the 2006 finals at the State Fair Expo Center).  220.8 average
  • 41st - Ross Strand from Green Bay.  219.4 average
  • 45th - Joe Crocco from Racine.  218.8 average
  • 48th - Nick Plouff from Tomahawk.  218.4 average
  • 49th - Tish Johnson (former PWBA superstar and highest female qualifier).   218 average
  • 50th - Danny Wiseman (Masters champion from the 2004 finals at Miller Park).  217.6 average
  • 81st - George Lambert IV (amateur that bowled in the 2006 finals at the State Fair Expo Center).  211.4 average
  • 102nd - Todd Droulliard from Milwaukee (a legend in my Friday night league at Bluemound Bowl).  208.8 average
  • 108th - Jace Peterson from Elkhorn.  207.8 average
  • 111th - Mike Neau from Kenosha.  207.6 average
  • 114th - Chad Mass from Brookfield.  207.4 average
  • 119th - Joe Alivo from Milwaukee.  206.8 average

Not bad... 15 bowlers from Wisconsin above the cut line in an event sanctioned by the PBA.

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Wrap-up of Wednesday's Masters qualifying

Bluemound Bowl, Bowling, Miller Park, My-Sugar-Na, PBA Tour, They Came to Bowl, USBC Masters

I apologize for not posting an update after the second block on Wednesday.  Our internet server at work went down.  I then had dinner plans, and when I got home I was informed by My-Sugar-Na that we were part of Time Warner's service outage.  Not only was there no internet, but there was this little matter of the World Series going on.  Service hadn't been restored at home before I went to bed, but it is all better now at work, so let's see if I can sneak in a full post (and still keep my job).

Names of note in the Top 121.  All of these players have made the cut and will bowl five additional games on Thursday morning.  After this morning's session, the field will be cut to the 63 players with the top 15-game total.....

  • 1st - Derek Eoff, Greenfield, Wis. (Had the fourth 300 game of the tournament on Wednesday)  237.6 average
  • 3rd - Dino Castillo, Carrollton, Texas (Had the thrid 300 game of the tournament on Wednesday)  234.3 average
  • 5th - Mika Koivuniemi, Hartland, Mich. (Won the first PBA event of the season - the Dydo Cup in Japan)  230.7 average
  • 7th - Tony Reyes, San Bruno, Calif. (Bowled 300 game on TV in November, 2006)  228.4 average
  • 8th - Tommy Jones, Simpsonville, S.C. (Made the 2006 Masters finals at State Fair Park Expo)  226.4 average
  • 9th - Chad Kloss, Greenfield, Wis. (League teammate and PBA Exempt player)  226.0 average
  • 11th - Jack Jurek, Lackawanna, N.Y. (Made the 2006 Masters finals at State Fair Park Expo)  224.2 average
  • 13th - Lennie Boresch Jr., Kenosha, Wis. (Had the first 300 game of the tournament on Tuesday)  223.9 average
  • 21st - Walter Ray Williams Jr., Ocala, Fla. (PBA superstar holds the record for PBA titles)  220.3 average
  • 23rd - Aaron Jones, Chicago (Had the second 300 game of the tournament on Tuesday)  219.4 average
  • 24th - Lynda Barnes, Double Oak, Texas (Highest female qualifier after ten games)  219.0 average
  • 32nd - Scott Helm, Hartford, Wis.  216.6 average
  • 42nd - Tim Janz, Beaver Dam, Wis. 213.5 average
  • 50th - Norm Duke, Clermont, Fla. (Made the 2005 Masters finals at the US Cellular Arena)  212.6 average
  • 54th - Chad Maas, Brookfield, Wis. (Who beat me on the All-Star Bowling TV show in 2002)  212.1 average
  • 57th - Danny Wiseman, Baltimore (Won the 2004 Masters at Miller Park)  212.0 average
  • 76th - Ken Muscato, Canandaigua, N.Y. (Amateur player who made the 2005 Masters finals at the US Cellular Arena)  210.1 average
  • 81st - Patrick Allen, Wesley Chapel, Fla. (Made the 2004 Masters finals at Miller Park)  209.5 average
  • 84th - Ross Strand, Green Bay, Wis. (Once bowled in my league on Friday's at Bluemound Bowl)  209.3 average
  • 86th - Ben Hoefs, West Bend, Wis. (Did a great job drilling a new ball for me in August)  209.2 average
  • 92nd - Ralph Hibbard, Jr., Mukwonago, Wis. (Son-in-law of the last ABC Executive Director Darold Dobs)  208.3 average
  • 96th - Ryan Yanel, Kenosha, Wis.  208.1 average
  • 98th - Joe Alivo, Milwaukee, Wis.  208.0 average
  • 117th - George Lambert IV, Wichita, Kan. (Amateur player who made the 2006 Masters finals at State Fair Expo)  206.7 average

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The Masters field is now down to 64 for match play

Bowling, Miller Park, PBA Tour, USBC Masters

488 bowlers have now become 64, and match play begins at 4:30 CDT. 

PBA exempt player Chris Loschetter took over the high spot after 15 games with a 230.2 average.  The average needed to advance to match play was 209.2, and that 63rd spot was claimed by PJ Haggerty with a total pinfall of 3138.  To accentuate how important every pin and every spare is, two players missed that cut by two pins.  Exempt PBA player Mike Mineman from Belleville, IL, and Dan Bock from Albert Lea, MN, get to take that long drive home and think about that one bad shot that left them a split, or a 6-count in the 12th frame of any game.  Five additional players missed the cut by 5 pins or less.  Not five pins of average.  Five pins total.

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Watch Miller Park become a bowling alley

The USBC's website has a slide show detailing the transformation of Miller Park from baseball stadium to a bowling arena.

32 bowlers remain in the hunt for the Masters $100,000 first place prize

Bowling, PBA Tour, USBC Masters

Half of the 64 bowlers that started match play at 4:30 were dismissed by 9:30 PM.

Highlights in the Winner's bracket....

  • Only three amateur players are still alive with the 13 professionals in the winner's bracket. 
  • Patrick Allen, who bowled in the Championship match at Miller Park in 2004 is one of the pros still alive.  He beat leading qualifier Chris Loschetter in the first match, then beat Milwaukee's Chad Maas.  Allen will face Wes Malott Friday morning. 
  • Greendale's Derek Eoff, who cruised through qualifying to a #3 seed, beat Derek Sapp and Ken Muscato (who bowled in the 2005 finals at the US Cellular Arena).  Eoff will battle Kenosha's Lennie Boresch, Jr. in a battle of local amateurs.  Boresch beat two professionals, Joe Ciccone and Ritchie Allen on his way to Friday's match with Eoff.
  • Sean Rash defeated the two bowlers that faced each other in the Masters finals last year at the State Fair Expo Center.  First, he beat 2006 champion Doug Kent 602 - 576, then whapped Jack Jurek, last year's runner-up by thowing an 801 series against Jurek's 680.  Rash will bowl Steve Weber on Friday. 

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USBC Masters Finals field is set; BowlFest at Miller Park tonight

Bowling, Miller Park, PBA Tour, They Came to Bowl, USBC Masters


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Final wrap-up of the 2007 USBC Masters

Bluemound Bowl, Bowling, Miller Park, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, PBA Tour, USBC Masters

Life got in the way of my posting this sooner, but I was at Miller Park for the finals.  By now, you must know that Sean Rash threw a 269 game (beating Steve Jaros' 245 game) to win the $100,000.  But here are some of my comments about the finals, and about the ESPN telecast...

  • A very disappointing turnout of 2,712 attended the finals.  While that is higher than the attendance at the previous two Masters finals (in 2005 at the US Cellular Arena and in 2006 at the State Fair Expo Center), it is much lower than the 4,303 that attended at Miller Park in 2004, and about one-third of the record 7,212 for a tournament in Detroit.  The USBC rented out Miller Park in an effort to break the record, and such a poor attendance will likely cause the entire Masters tournament to be moved to a different city.  If the tournament is moved out of Milwaukee, it would be the third time that Milwaukee would lose a pro tour stop.  It is a good thing that the pros bowl twice this season in the Chicago area.
  • As for the bowling itself, the scores were too high for the finals of a major event.  The USBC, the PBA and ESPN all get caught between a rock and a hard place.  If scores are too low, then the common bowler will say "those guys aren't that good... even I can shoot 180".  If the scores are too high, then the higher-average player can say "it's too bad that shotmaking wasn't at a premium".  On Sunday, Steve Jaros bowled an 814 series (a 271 average) and LOST.  I can get into lots and lots of technical reasons as to why the scores were too high, but this isn't the forum (this is).  Suffice to say that for a $100K prize and bowling in a major tournament should offer a challange, and that challenge wasn't there.
  • The professional bowlers are the greatest bowlers in the world.  Don't ever forget that.  I can brag about my 225 average, or my league record 847 series in the Bluemound Bowl Bob Kodel Major League, etc., etc., but in watching the pros this week, I felt very insignificant.  In the finals on Sunday, Jaros changed balls in the middle of an 814 series!  To a higher-average player, that is unheard of.  If I shoot 279 then 290 and I lose my carry, the last thing in my mind is that I need a different ball.  But Jaros made the change and struck on every ball (until he was mathematically eliminated).
  • I did have a hard time coughing up the $8 for parking.  I understand that the USBC and PBA are just renting the facility, and that the Masters is a major tournament, but I felt that I was gouged by Miller Park and the county.
  • Soon after I got home from the finals (and got back from Walgreens with a second lot of trick-or-treat candy) I watched ESPN's broadcast.  New to the announcing booth is Rob Stone, whom I've enjoyed while watching MLS games on ESPN.  He seemed to do an OK job for his first live event.  However, he did play upon the "I'm new to this and learning" angle.  Hopefully that will ease up and he will do a decent job.
  • I was disappointed in some of ESPN's camera angles.  I understand that it wasn't ESPN's job to fill Miller Park, but just about every camera angle that was not an intentional crowd shot showed about 10,000 empty seats.  The crowd was basically in three sections on both the first and second levels.  But their establishing shot was from a stationary camera in the press box behind home plate.  From that angle, there seemed like there were no fans at all.  Same with when they showed a snippet from the sausage race.  The hand-held camera caught the sausages from home plate past first base to the finish... all shot with empty seats in the background.
  • And about the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's disasterous coverage... this could be (and probably should be) a post unto itself.  Early last week, I said that we'd be lucky to get puff pieces on the three previous champions (we didn't).  We barely got any real tournament info... it was like I was reading the TV Guide review of any new show.  Cursory data, a few generic quotes, and no photos.  Overall, a horrid job.  It was like Gary D'Amato was given a press pass and felt compelled to write something (while not worrying about exactly what he was writing about).  I am realistic.  I didn't expect six days of large-type, above the fold headlines.  But good grief, would a photo or two each day somewhere in the paper have been too much to ask?  Bowling has four major tournaments, and this one paid the second most and was held here!  Say what you want about the bowling vs. golf, but this tournament is the equivalent to golf's Masters.  Coverage was completely unbecoming the status that the bowling community reveres the Masters.  I would have just as soon the MJS wrote a story that said "we feel bowling is dying and isn't worth our time, effort, or real estate in the paper.  If there is a next year for the Masters in Milwaukee, I will ask editor Mark Maley to secure a press pass for me, and I (a non-journalist) will volunteer to write three stories per day:  One will be a technical review of the parts of the lane and the equipment that was successful, one will be geared for the non-bowler, and one will be geared towards other stuff going on... like size of the crowd, or matches between players of interest.  Maley can put them on WauwatosaNOW (because AMF Bowlero is in Wauwatosa) for all I care.  But the only newspaper in town really shouldn't have mailed it in this past week.

Coming later this week... blog entries that are NOT about bowling.

OK, one more bowling post. But this one is good. I promise


Who says that I don't have a bleeding heart once in a while?  (I just don't want my politicians to have one.)

Ryan Lingholm of Boynton Beach, Florida, bowled a 300 game recently.  But read this to understand why it is an incredible accomplishment.

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