How to make your favorite pair of golf shoes last longer
How often do you change the spikes on your golf shoe? If you answered “huh?”, we’re here to help. With the increase in popularity of spikeless golf shoes, too many golfers forget that most spiked golf shoes have the option for replacing cleats when they wear down. We caught up with Mark MacNeill, product manager at Softspikes and Champ, for a refresher on the need-to-knows around swapping golf spikes.
RELATED:Change your spikes or replace your golf shoes? A Golf Digest debate
How to know whether your shoes have replacable spikes or not
The first thing you’ll want to do is check the bottom of your spiked golf shoe to see what kind of cleats you are working with. Most cleats will have a brand name and wrench holes—the most obvious indicator that your spikes are replaceable.
Replacing the spikes is essentially resurfacing the bottom of your golf shoe. If you are playing in normal conditions and the upper of the shoe is made with quality materials, swapping out the spikes is an affordable alternative to replacing the shoe.
“When the tires wear down on your car, you don’t buy a new car, you change the tires,” MacNeill said. “It’s a similar concept with spikes.”
How often should you be changing your spikes?
The general rule of thumb is to change your spikes every 15-20 rounds, or about twice a season for the average golfer. MacNeill stresses that this cadence will vary depending on the conditions and the type of golfer you are.
“Someone playing in southern California or Arizona on hardpan conditions with no moisture or walking on a lot of cart paths will run through spikes a lot quicker,” MacNeill said. “And on the flip side, a golfer who is more prone to take a cart will see more life on their spikes.”
Sometimes one or two tweaks will make a huge difference
MacNeill also stressed that you don’t necessarily have to change all the spikes at once. Most right-handed golfers will have more wear on the back right heel than the top left toe, for example, so you can swap out the most worn spikes on an as-need basis for a quick boost of traction. Spikes or no spikes, it’s a good idea to flip over your shoe every few rounds to make sure the traction elements are in good condition.
“If you are serious about your golf game, you want to take out the variables,” MacNeill said. “Golfers will dial in one degree on their driver but ignore traction, If you are serious about getting better, why not start with your feet?”
Type of bowling
"Tenpin" redirects here. For the brand of bowling centres in the United Kingdom, see Tenpin Ltd.
Ten-pin bowling is a type of bowling in which a bowler rolls a bowling ball down a wood or synthetic lane toward ten pins positioned evenly in four rows in an equilateral triangle at the far end of the lane. The objective is to knock down all ten pins on the first roll of the ball (a strike), or failing that, on the second roll (a spare).
An approximately 15 feet (5 m) long approach area used by the bowler to impart speed and apply rotation to the ball ends in a foul line. The 41.5-inch-wide (105 cm), 60-foot-long (18 m) lane is bordered along its length by gutters (channels) that collect errant balls. The lane's long and narrow shape limits straight-line ball paths to angles that are smaller than optimum angles for achieving strikes; accordingly, many advanced bowlers impart side rotation to hook (curve) the ball into the pins.
Oil is applied to approximately the first two-thirds of the lane's length to allow a "skid" area for the ball before it encounters friction and hooks. The oil is applied in different patterns to add complexity and regulate challenge in the sport. Especially when coupled with technological developments in ball design since the early 1990s, easier oil patterns, commonly called house shots or typical house patterns (THPs), enable many league bowlers to achieve scores rivaling those of professional bowlers who must bowl on more difficult patterns—a development that has caused substantial controversy.
People approach bowling as either a demanding precision sport or as a simple recreational pastime. Following substantial declines since the 1980s in both professional tournament television ratings and amateur league participation, bowling centers have increasingly expanded to become diverse entertainment centers.
Ten-pin bowling is often simply referred to as bowling. Ten-pin, or less commonly big-ball, are prepended to distinguish it from other bowling types such as lawn, candlepin, duckpin and five-pin.
Facilities and equipment
See also: Bowling ball § Effect of lane characteristics on ball motion
Ten-pin bowling lanes are 60 feet (18.29 m) from the foul line to the center of the head pin (1-pin), with guide arrows (aiming targets) about 15 feet (4.57 m) from the foul line. The lane is 41.5 inches (1.05 m) wide and has 39 wooden boards, or is made of a synthetic material with the 39 "boards" simulated using marking lines. The approach has two sets of dots, respectively 12 feet (3.66 m) and 15 feet (4.57 m) behind the foul line, to help with foot placement.
Simplified THS (typical house shot) oil pattern on a bowling lane, with greater oil concentrations being represented by darker blues. Relatively dry areas on the sides, and more heavily lubricated areas surrounding the centerline, help to guide the ball toward the pocket.(Horizontal scale is compressed.)
Simplified sport pattern of oil on a bowling lane, with greater oil concentrations being represented by darker blues. A "flatter" (more even) distribution of oil across the lane presents a greater challenge to hit the pocket.(Horizontal scale is compressed.)
Modern bowling lanes have oil patterns designed not only to shield the lanes from damage from bowling ball impacts, but to provide bowlers with different levels of challenge in achieving strikes. As illustrated, a typical house pattern (or THS, typical house shot) has drier outside portions that give bowling balls more friction to hook (curve) into the pocket, but heavier oil concentrations surrounding the centerline so that balls slide directly toward the pocket with less hooking. In the more challenging sport patterns used in tournaments and professional-level matches, a "flat" oil pattern—one with oil distributed more evenly from side to side—provides little assistance in guiding the ball toward the pocket, and is less forgiving with regard to off-target shots. The ratio of centerline oil concentration to side oil concentration (the oil ratio) can exceed 10-to-1 for THSs but is restricted to 3-to-1 or less for sport shots.
Lane oils, also called lane conditioners, are composed of about 98% mineral oil that, with numerous additives, are designed to minimize breakdown and carry-down that would change ball reaction after repeated ball rolls. Lane oils are characterized by different levels of viscosity, with oils of higher viscosity (thicker consistency) being more durable but causing balls to slow and hook earlier than lower-viscosity oils.
See also: Bowling ball § Effect of coverstock, core and layout on ball motion
Rubber balls (introduced in 1905) were eventually supplanted by polyester ("plastic") balls (1959) and polyurethane ("urethane") balls (1980s). Coverstocks (surfaces) of bowling balls then evolved to increase the hook-enhancing friction between ball and lane: reactive resin balls arrived in the early 1990s, and particle-enhanced resin balls in the late 1990s. Meanwhile, the increasingly sophisticated technology of internal cores (also called weight blocks) has increased balls' dynamic imbalance, which, in conjunction with the coverstocks' increased friction, enhances hook (curving) potential to achieve the higher entry angles that have enabled dramatic increases in strike percentage and game scores.
Hook potential has increased so much that dry lane conditions or spare shooting scenarios sometimes compel use of plastic or urethane balls, to purposely avoid the larger hook provided by reactive technology.
The USBC regulates ball parameters including maximum diameter (8.595 inches (21.83 cm)), maximum circumference (27 inches (0.69 m)), and maximum weight (16 pounds (7.26 kg)).
See also: Bowling ball § Ball motion
Because pin spacing is much larger than ball size, it is impossible for the ball to contact all pins. Therefore, a tactical shot is required, which would result in a chain reaction of pins hitting other pins (called pin scatter). In what is considered an ideal strike shot, the ball contacts only the 1, 3, 5 and 9 pins (right-handed deliveries).
Most new players roll the ball straight, while more experienced bowlers may roll a hook that involves making the ball start out straight but then curve toward a target, to increase the likelihood of striking: USBC research has shown that shots most likely to strike enter the pocket at an angle of entry that is achievable only with a hook.
A complex interaction of a variety of factors influences ball motion and its effect on scoring results. Such factors may be categorized as:
- The bowler's delivery (see Effect of delivery characteristics on ball motion) Characteristics of the ball's delivery that affect ball motion include the ball's speed going down the lane, its rotational speed (rev rate), the angle of the ball's axis of rotation in horizontal and vertical planes (axis rotation and axis tilt, respectively), and how far beyond the foul line that the ball first contacts the lane (loft).
- Bowling ball design (see Effect of coverstock, core and layout on ball motion). A 2005-2008 USBC Ball Motion Study found that the ball design factors that most contributed to ball motion were the microscopic spikes and pores on the ball's surface (present in balls with reactive resincoverstock), the respective coefficients of friction between ball and lane in the oiled and dry parts of the lane, and the ball's oil absorption rate, followed in dominance by certain characteristics of the ball's core (mainly radius of gyration and total differential). Friction-related factors may be categorized as chemical friction (degree of "stickiness" designed by manufacturers into the resin coverstock) and physical friction (which can be modified by sanding or polishing, or by including additives that physically increase lubrication). "Weak" (pin down) versus "strong" (pin up) layouts of the finger and thumb holes with respect to core orientation affect skid lengths and hook angularity.
- Lane conditions (see Effect of lane characteristics on ball motion). Lane conditions that affect ball motion include lane transition (including breakdown and carry-down), the oil absorption characteristics of previously-thrown balls and the paths they followed, wood versus synthetic composition of the lane (more generally: soft vs. hard lanes), imperfections in lane surface (topography), and oil viscosity (thick or thin consistency; innate viscosity being affected by temperature and humidity).
Pins and pin carry
Front view: the ball impacts center pocket at "board 17.5"—found by a USBC pin-carry study to cause pin carry that maximizes strike probability. The ideal impact point is closer to the center of the head pin than many people believe.
(Diagrams assume right-hand delivery.)
Top view: Many wrongly believe that the ideal "pocket" is more "between" the 1 pin and 3 pin. Shown: 0°, 2°, 4°, 6° entry angles.
Bowling pins (with a maximum thickness of 4.766 inches (12 cm) at the waist) are "spotted" (placed) in four rows, forming an equilateral triangle with four pins on a side to form a tetractys. Neighboring pins are centered 12 inches (30 cm) apart, leaving a space of 7.234 inches (18 cm) between pins that can be bridged by a bowling ball of regulation diameter (8.5 inches (22 cm)).
Pin carry—essentially, the probability of achieving a strike assuming the ball impacts in or near the pocket—varies with several factors. Even before a 2008 USBC pin carry study, it was known that entry angle and ball weight increase strike percentages. The 2008 study concluded that an impact with the ball centered at "board 17.5" causes pin scatter that maximizes likelihood of striking. The material of the pin deck and "kickback" (side) plates was also found to materially affect pin carry.
Delivery style categories
See also: Bowling form and Bowling ball § Effect of delivery characteristics on ball motion
Three widely recognized categories are stroker, cranker and tweener.
- Strokers—using the most "classic" bowling form—tend to keep the shoulders square to the foul line and develop only a moderately high backswing, achieving modest ball rotation ("rev") rates and ball speeds, which thus limit hook potential and kinetic energy delivered to the pins. Strokers rely on accuracy and repeatability, and benefit from the high entry angles that reactive resin balls enable.
- Crankers tend to open (rotate) the shoulders and use strong wrist and arm action in concert with a high backswing, achieving higher rev rates and ball speeds, thus maximizing hook potential and kinetic energy. Crankers rely on speed and power, but may leave splits rarely left by strokers.
- Tweeners (derived from "in-between") have styles that fall between those of strokers and crankers, the term is considered by some to include power strokers.
Conventional delivery. Fingers positioned toward the side of the ball at release, induce side rotation causing the ball to hook (curve).
Two-handed delivery: Both hands retain contact with the ball until just before the release.
Though it is often incorrectly called a two-handed release, the actual release involves one dominant hand for most bowlers.
Modern delivery styles often involve a long follow-through and widely extended balance arm and leg
(shown: Clara Guerrero)
- So-called two-handed bowling, first popularized late in the 2000s by Australian Jason Belmonte, involves not inserting the thumb into any thumbhole, with the opposite hand supporting and guiding the ball throughout almost the entire forward swing. This delivery style, involving more athletic ability, is increasingly popular with younger bowlers and technically still involves a one-handed release. It allows the inserted fingers to generate higher revolution rates and thus attain greater hook potential than with a thumb-in-hole approach. In contrast, in what is literally a two-handed delivery and release, children or physically challenged players use both hands to deliver the ball forward from between the legs or from the chest.
- No-thumb bowling involves only a single hand during the forward swing, without the thumb inserted.
- The spinner style, which is mainly popular in parts of Asia, has a "helicopter" or "UFO" release that involves rotating the wrist to impart a high (vertical) axis of rotation that causes the bowling ball to spin like a top while traveling straight down the lane. Usually involving a lighter (10-12 pound) ball, the spinner style takes advantage of the ball deflection from the head pin to then "walk down" the other visible pins and cause domino effects diagonally through the pins.
- In the backup (or reverse hook) release, the wrist rotates clockwise (for right hand releases) or counter-clockwise (for left hand releases), causing the ball to hook in a direction opposite to that of conventional releases.
A conventional grip, used on non-customized house balls and some custom-drilled balls, involves insertion of fingers to the second knuckle. A fingertip grip, involving insertion of fingers only to the first knuckle, enables greater revolution rates and resultant hook potential. A thumbless grip, often used by so-called "two-handed" bowlers, maximizes ball rotational speed ("rev rate").
Frame one: 10 + (3 + 6) = 19Frame two: 3 + 6 = 9 → Total = 28
Frame one: (7 + 3) + 4 = 14Frame two: 4 + 2 = 6 → Total = 20
In traditional scoring, one point is scored for each pin that is knocked over, and when less than all ten pins are knocked down in two rolls in a frame (an open frame), the frame is scored with the total number of pins knocked down. However, when all ten pins are knocked down with either the first or second rolls of a frame (a mark), bonus pins are awarded as follows.
- Strike: When all ten pins are knocked down on the first roll (marked "X" on the scorescreen), the frame receives ten pins plus a bonus of pinfall on the next two rolls (not necessarily the next two frames). A strike in the tenth (final) frame receives two extra rolls for bonus pins.
- Spare: When a second roll of a frame is needed to knock down all ten pins (marked "/" on the scorescreen), the frame receives ten pins plus a bonus of pinfall in the next roll (not necessarily the next frame). A spare in the first two rolls in the tenth (final) frame receives a third roll for bonus pins.
The maximum score is 300, achieved by getting twelve strikes in a row within the same game.
World Bowling scoring
The World Bowling scoring system—described as "current frame scoring"—awards pins as follows:
- A strike is 30 pins, regardless of ensuing rolls' results.
- A spare is 10 pins, plus the pinfall on first roll of the current frame.
- An open frame is the total pinfall of the current frame.
The maximum score is 300, achieved with ten consecutive strikes (as opposed to twelve), but with no bonus pins received in the tenth frame.
World Bowling scoring is thought to make bowling easier to follow than with traditional scoring, increase television viewership, and help bowling to become an Olympic sport.
Variant of World Bowling scoring
Another variant of scoring, a 12-frame system introduced at the November 2014 World Bowling Tour (WBT) finals, resembles golf's match play scoring in counting the greater number of frames won rather than measuring accumulated pinfall score. A frame may be won immediately by a higher pincount on the first roll of the frame, and a match may be won when one player is ahead by more frames than remain of the possible 12 frames. This variant reduces match length and scoring complexity for two-player matches.
For a more comprehensive history of other forms of bowling that pre-date ten-pin bowling, see Bowling § History.
An early (1820) newspaper ad features a "Ball and Ten Pin Alley" to attract customers to a "Baking and Confectionary Business".
An 1829 newspaper editorial describes those who frequent bowling alleys and taverns: "the young, the frivolous, the headstrong, ... men of coarser passions and appetites, and fond of more riotous pleasures"—reflecting the often negative image bowling had.
An 1838 Indiana newspaper describes how ten-pin bowling was devised to evade a Baltimore statute prohibiting nine-pin bowling.
An 1839 liquor license ordinance prohibited gambling in "any ball, nine or ten pin alley"—a inference of the association of bowling with gambling and other games having a "demoralizing tendency".
Modern American ten-pin bowling derives mainly from the German Kegelspiel, or kegeling, which used nine pins set in a diamond formation. Some sources refer to an 1841 Connecticut law that banned ninepin bowling because of its perceived association with gambling and crime, and people were said to circumvent the prohibition by adding a tenth pin; other sources call this story a mere fable while earlier sources (e.g., 1838, re Baltimore and 1842, Charles Dickens re New York) explicitly confirm the strategy. Even earlier, an 1834 Washington, D.C. ordinance had limited the time (before 8 p.m. and not on Sundays) and place (more than 100 yards from inhabited houses) of "nine pin and ten pins" or "any game in the likeness or imitation thereof ... played with any number of pins whatsoever". In any event, newspapers referred to "ten pin alleys" at least as early as 1820 (also later in the 1820s and in the 1830s). An apparently outdoor version of ten-pin bowling was present in England at least as early as 1828.
A painting thought to date from around 1810 shows British bowlers playing outdoors with a triangular formation of ten pins, which would predate the sport's asserted appearance in the United States.[better source needed] In any event, the enjoyment of kegeling by German peasants contrasted with the lawn bowling that was reserved for the upper classes, thus beginning bowling's enduring reputation as a common man's sport.
In the mid 1800s, various alternatives to free-standing pins received U.S. patents to solve perceived problems in pinsetting and ball return, aiming to avoid the need for human pinsetters to perform these functions. One scheme (1851) involved pins with spherical bases that when hit by a ball merely fell over, in place, to be rotated back to a vertical position. A second arrangement (1853) involved resetting the pins via cords descending from respective pin bottoms to weights beneath the pin deck. Another design (1869) involved suspending the pins with overhead cords.
An 1895 advertisement for bowling lockers (price: $6.00 each section) suggests the attire and facilities used by bowlers of the era.
Bowling alley at the Pleasant Beach Hotel, Bainbridge Island, Washington (c. 1898)
Human pinsetters (Pittsburgh, c. 1908) preceded automated mechanical pinsetters.
In 1884, the Brunswick Corporation became the first American bowling ball manufacturer, and by 1909 introduced the Mineralite (hard rubber) ball that was considered so revolutionary that it was displayed at the Century of Progress Exposition in 1934. In 1886, Joe Thum—who would become known as the "father of bowling"—began opening bowling alleys and over decades strove to elevate the sport's image to compete with upper-class diversions such as theaters and opera houses.
In 1875, delegates from New York City and Brooklyn bowling clubs formed the National Bowling Association (NBA) to standardize rules, but disagreements prevailed. In 1887 Albert G. Spalding wrote Standard Rules for Bowling in the United States, and in the mid-1890s the United Bowling Clubs (UBC) was organized with 120 members. The American Bowling Congress (ABC) was established in 1895, followed by the Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC) in the 1910s, such organizations promoting standardized rules and striving to improve the sport's image.
From 1920 to 1929, the number of ABC-sanctioned alleys grew from 450 to about 2,000, with Prohibition leading to the growth of family-appropriate "dry" alleys. The 1933 repeal of Prohibition allowed breweries to sponsor teams and bowlers, adding to bowling's reputation as a working-class sport. Though at the turn of the twentieth century most bowling alleys were small establishments, post-Prohibition bowling lanes shifted from side entertainment at fancy Victorian venues or seedier saloons to independent establishments that embraced the Art Deco style and fit the era's perceived "need for speed".
1940s to early 1960s
Gottfried Schmidt invented the first mechanical pinsetter in his garage in 1936, one implementation of which was publicly exhibited in 1946 before AMF placed a production model into service in 1952.
The 1940s through the 1970s became known as the "golden age of bowling", with ABC membership growing from 700,000 (1940), to 1.1 million (1947), to 2.3 million (1958), to 4.5 million (1963), Women's International Bowling Congress membership growing from 82,000 (1940) to 866,000 (1958), American Junior Bowling Congress membership growing from 8,000 (1940) to 175,000 (1958), and sanctioned individual lanes growing from 44,500 (1947) to 159,000 (1963).
Bowling's growth was fueled by the deployment of automatic mechanical pinsetters by AMF (1952) and Brunswick (1955), television broadcasts (said to be "ubiquitous" in the 1950s), modernization and stylization of establishments with amenities to attract broader clientele, and formation of bowling leagues. Though President Truman had installed a bowling alley in the White House in 1947, a report of the American Society of Planning Officials in 1958 characterized bowling alleys as the "poor man's country club".
ABC bylaws had included a "white-males-only" clause since its inception in the 1890s, but numerous lobbying efforts and legal actions after World War II by civil rights and labor organizations led to a reversal of this policy in 1950.
Eddie Elias founded the Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) in 1958 with 33 members. The Pro Bowlers Tour TV program aired from 1962 through 1997.
In the 1930s and 1940s, professional bowling was dominated by “beer leagues” with many of the best bowlers sponsored by beer companies, but by 1965 the PBA tour was televised nationally on ABC Sports with sponsors such as Coca-Cola and Ford.
In parallel with professional bowling was "action bowling" or "pot bowling"—bowling matches based on monetary bets—historically associated with the New York underworld from the 1940s to the 1970s.
Late 1960s to 1980
The first ten-pin lanes in Europe had been installed in Sweden in 1909, but attempts to popularize the sport in Europe were unsuccessful over the next several decades, though hundreds of lanes were installed on U.S. military bases in the U.K. during World War II. Various countries developed the sport to some extent, and the Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ; now World Bowling) was formed in 1952 to coordinate international amateur competition.
A firmer establishment of the sport began in the U.K. in 1960 in London (Stamford Hill) in January 1960, and the British Tenpin Bowling Association was formed the following year. Various other countries, including Australia, Mexico and Japan, adopted the trend over the ensuing decade. After initial faddish growth in the U.K., however, the sport did not thrive as it did in the U.S., and by the 1970s many British bowling alleys were converted to serve competing pastimes, such as bingo.
The "Lane Master" automatic lane cleaning and conditioning machine was first deployed in the 1960s.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, top bowling professionals made twice as much money as NFL football stars, received million-dollar endorsement contracts, and were treated as international celebrities. The $100,000 Firestone Tournament of Champions launched in 1965, in a decade that saw ABC membership peak at almost 4.6 million male bowlers. The number of sanctioned bowling alleys peaked at about 12,000 in the mid-1960s, mostly in blue-collar urban areas, and Women’s International Bowling Congress (WIBC) membership peaked at 4.2 million members in 1979.
In the late 1960s, the participation sport of bowling found itself competing with spectator sports and outdoor recreational activities. The number of certified bowling centers was to eventually decline from its 1960s high of 12,000 to 6,542 in 1998 and 3,976 in 2013. The decline was noted acutely in waning league participation over the intervening decades.
1980 to 2000
Tournament prize funds in the 1980s included the PBA National Championship ($135,000, its largest) and the Firestone Tournament of Champions ($150,000), and PBA membership approached 2,500. Ten-pin bowling became an exhibition sport at the 1988 Summer Olympics (Seoul), has been a medal sport since its debut at the 1991 Pan American Games (Havana), and was included in the 1998 Commonwealth Games (Kuala Lumpur).
Outside elite and professional bowling, participation in leagues—traditionally the more profitable end of the business—declined from a 1980 peak (8 million), compelling alleys to further diversify into entertainment amenities. As busier, two-earner households became more common in the 1980s to make league participation more difficult, the number of spectator sports and competing leisure time opportunities (jogging, tennis, skiing) grew. While league bowling decreased by 40 percent between 1980 and 1993, the total number of bowlers actually increased by 10 percent during that period, with nearly 80 million Americans going bowling at least once during 1993. In 1995, the National Bowling Stadium (Reno, Nevada) was constructed at a cost of $47.5 million, but the PBA Pro Bowlers Tour TV program was canceled in 1997 after a 35-year run.
In 1991, equipment manufacturer DBA Products released "The Lane Walker"—the first computer-driven lane cleaning and oiling machine, programmable to clean up to 50 lanes.
The early 1990s brought the development of reactive resin ("reactive") balls with chemically "tacky" surfaces that enhance traction to dramatically enhance hook and substantially increase the likelihood of striking, raising average scores even for less experienced bowlers.
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) reported 1997 bowling product sales of $215 million, the SGMA president attributed an increase in popularity to bowling alley remodeling, technological innovations in balls and lanes, computerized scoring, and promotion by bowling organizations.
2000 to present
From 1998 to 2013, the number of American bowling centers fell by one quarter. Similarly, in the two decades following 1997, the number of USBC-certified lanes—also indicative of business viability—declined by one-third. This business decline is often attributed to waning league participation: USBC membership—indicative of league participation that was the main source of revenue—declined by two-thirds in those two decades, and the portion of alley revenue attributable to leagues is estimated to have dropped from 70% to 40%. Political scientist Robert D. Putnam's book Bowling Alone (2000) asserts, with some controversy, that the retreat from league bowling epitomizes a broader societal decline in social, civic and community engagement in the U.S.
As an indication of the decline, AMF Bowling, the largest operator of bowling centers in the world at the time, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001, and again in 2012. By 2013, AMF Bowling had merged with New York-based Bowlmor (no relation to the defunct, 1940s-founded Bowl-Mor firm that invented the automatic pinsetter for candlepin bowling), the company becoming known as Bowlmor AMF.
In 2000, three former tech industry executives bought a debt-laden PBA—which saw its 36-year television contract with ABC Sports end in 1997—and turned it from a non-profit league into a for-profit organization, and invested heavily in marketing. The January 2005 merger of four U.S. bowling organizations to form the USBC formed a "central brand" aiming to grow the sport. Beginning late in the decade of the 2000s, the two-handed approach became popularized, first by Australian Jason Belmonte, with some hoping that the controversial delivery style would boost popularity of the sport. In January 2013, the eight-team PBA League began competition, the strategy being that basing teams in specific geographic localities would generate viewer enthusiasm and corporate sponsorship in the same manner as teams in other professional sports. Still, continuing the reversal of bowling's peak popularity in the 1960s, in the 2012-2013 season the average yearly winnings of the ten highest-earning PBA competitors was less than US$155,000, and the average for the remaining 250 competitors was $6,500—all much less than a rookie NFL football player’s minimum base salary of $375,000.
Estimates of the number of total (league and non-league) bowlers in the U.S. have varied, from 82 million (1997, International Bowling Museum) to 51.6 million (2007, research firm White Hutchinson) to 71 million (2009, USBC), the USBC stating in 2019 that bowling is still the #1 participation sport in the U.S. More broadly, the International Bowling Museum stated in 2016 that bowling is played by 95 million people in more than 90 countries. In an era of continual decline in league participation, bowling centers promoted "party bowling" and black-light-and-disco-ball "cosmic bowling" and experienced a shift from blue-collar participants to open-play (non-league) family-oriented clientele in combined bowling and entertainment centers, some offering laser tag, indoor playgrounds, go-karting, climbing walls, arcade games, skating rinks, gourmet restaurants, and nightclub-style bowling lounges. School sport programs expanded, the USBC stating that more than 5,000 high schools offered bowling as a competitive sport, with 50,000 student bowlers participating in 2009-2010. In 2011, the Bowling Proprietor's Association of America stated that more than 60% of U.S. bowlers were under age 34, that 46% were girls and women, and that children participated in bowling at a higher rate than any other population group.
In contrast to the U.S., the 2000s and 2010s brought a bowling renaissance in the U.K., achieved by accommodating sophisticated modern tastes by providing (for example) retro style bowling alleys outfitted with 1950s Americana, "boutique bowling", "VIP lanes", and cameras for instant replays, and by rejuvenating bowling "alleys" into diverse-entertainment bowling "centres". The population of ten-pin bowling centres grew from a low of barely 50 (in the 1980s) to over 200 (2006), with almost a third of Britons going bowling in 2016 and league participation growing over 20% over two years (2015-2017).
Though ten-pin bowling was a demonstration sport in the 1988 Summer Olympics (Seoul) and has been included in the Pan American Games since 1991, after making the short list for inclusion in the 2020 Summer Olympics (Tokyo), it was cut. One commentator noted that the sport's limited geographic popularity (the U.S., Australia and a few European and South American countries), and aging demographic of those who follow the sport, make it difficult to convince an Olympic Committee that wants to appeal to youth.
In bowling, we are trying to deliver a heavy 14 or 15 pound bowling ball over the foul line at about an average speed of 16 or 17 miles per hour, apply a rotational force to the ball in order to gain an effective hook motion, hit a one inch sighting target on the lane, and accurately impact the pocket 60 feet away while smashing down about 36 pounds of lumber. There are certainly easier things to do.
—Rich Carrubba, 2013
World Bowling (WB) was formed in 2014 from component organizations of the Fédération Internationale des Quilleurs (FIQ, International Federation of Bowlers), which in 1952 developed from the International Bowling Association (IBA) which began operations in 1926. Since 1979 the International Olympic Committee has recognized the FIQ, and later, WB, as the sport's world governing body. WB establishes rules for the uniform practice of bowling throughout the world, and promotes bowling as an Olympic sport. The World Tenpin Bowling Association "membership discipline" (component organization) of WB serves the amateur sport of ten-pin bowling worldwide, adopting uniform playing rules and equipment specifications.
The British Tenpin Bowling Association (BTBA, formed in 1961) is the official governing body recognized by World Bowling as the official sanctioning body in England, and as such "is responsible for the protection, integrity and development of the sport". Its stated vision is "to ensure that all people, irrespective of their age, disability, ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation or social status have a genuine and equal opportunity to participate in the sport at all levels and in all roles".
The National Association of Youth Bowling Clubs (NAYBC) is a BTBA subcommittee serving youth bowlers and youth bowling clubs.
The British Universities Tenpin Bowling Association (BUTBA, formed in 2008) organizes bowling events for present and former university and college students.
The Tenpin Bowling Proprietors Association (TBPA, formed in 1961 as an umbrella organization) is a trade association for the British ten-pin bowling industry.
The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) was formed as the governing body for the U.S. on January 1, 2005, by the merger of:
- the American Bowling Congress (ABC, an originally male-only organization founded in 1895),
- the Women's International Bowling Congress (WIBC, 1916),
- the Young American Bowling Alliance (YABA, 1982), which itself was formed from combining the American Junior Bowling Congress (AJBC, 1946), Youth Bowling Association (YBA, 1963–64), and ABC/WIBC Collegiate division (mid-1970s), and
- (Team) USA Bowling (1989).
As the national governing body for bowling, its stated mission is to provide services, resources and the standards for the sport, its stated goals including growing the sport and promoting values of "credibility, dedication, excellence, heritage, inclusiveness, integrity, philanthropy and sportsmanship".
The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame is located on the International Bowling Campus in Arlington, Texas, U.S.
World Bowling oversees quadrennial World Championship tournaments, and international championships for various sectors, including for women, seniors, youth and junior bowlers.
The QubicaAMF Bowling World Cup (begun in 1965) is recognized as bowling's largest event in terms of number of countries competing, according to the USBC in 2018.
The Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Tour includes dozens of events annually, mainly at U.S. locations. The PBA Tour includes "major" championship events: the U.S. Open, the USBC Masters, the PBA Tournament of Champions the PBA World Championship, and the PBA Players Championship.
The United States Bowling Congress (USBC) has various tournaments for the PBA tour, PWBA, youth and seniors, including the USBC Masters and U.S. Open (both major tournaments on the PBA tour), and USBC Queens and U.S. Women's Open (both major tournaments on the PWBA tour), plus the USBC Team USA Trials/U.S. National Amateur Bowling Championships. Additionally, the USBC has regional tournaments and certifies local tournaments.
The European Tenpin Bowling Federation (ETBF) owns the European Bowling Tour (organized in 2000), including its final tournament, the European Bowling Tour Masters (first edition: 2008).
The Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Federation (CTBF), made up of World Bowling member federations within the Commonwealth of Nations, owns the Commonwealth Tenpin Bowling Championships, which has held tournaments at irregular intervals since 2002.
The Weber Cup is an annual, three-day USA vs. Europe tournament, named after Dick Weber, that began in 2000 and has been held almost exclusively in the U.K.
In the decade of the 2000s, the World Ranking Masters, owned by World Bowling, ranked standings in the Pan American Bowling Confederation (PABCON), Asian Bowling Federation (ABF), and European Tenpin Bowling Federation (ETBF).
Though ten-pin bowling has not progressed beyond a demonstration sport at the Olympic Games, international games modeled after the Olympics (awarding medals) do include the sport, including the World Games (governed by the International World Games Association), the Asian Games (governed by the Olympic Council of Asia, OCA) and the Pan American Games (governed by the Pan American Sports Organization, PASO). The Maccabiah Games (governed by the Israeli Bowling Federation, IBF, with events played according to WTBA-ETBF rules) host ten-pin tournaments as medal events.
Further information: Bowling league
USBC membership has declined, indicating waning league participation in the U.S.
Same data, normalized to 1997 values to show relative change in lanes, centers and membership.
The average number of lanes per bowling center has trended upward slightly during this time period.
In about 2015, U.S. bowling center employment reversed a long decline, which some attribute to their diversification into more broad-based entertainment centers. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the precipitous decline in 2020.
Bowling leagues vary in format, including demographic specialization (male, female, mixed, senior, youth), number of bowlers per team (usually 3-5), number of games per series (usually 3), day and time of scheduled sessions, starting dates and duration of league seasons, scoring (scratch versus handicap), and systems for bestowing awards and prizes. Usually, each team is scheduled to oppose each of the other teams over the course of a season.Position rounds—in which the first place team opposes the second place team, third place opposes fourth place, and so on—are often inserted into the season schedule.
Customarily, team position standings are computed after each series, awarding a first number of points for each game won and a second number of points for achieving the higher team score for that series, the particular numbers being specified in each league's rules. Further, in leagues having "match point" scoring, individual bowlers on one team are matched against respective members of the opposing team, the winners receiving points that supplement their team's game and series points.
The number of league bowlers in the U.S. peaked at 8 million in 1980, declining to approximately 1.3 million in the ensuing 40 years.
Notable professional achievements
Titles and scores
Earnings and contracts
Perfect (300) game history
Main article: Perfect game (bowling)
Ernest Fosberg (East Rockford, Ill.) bowled the first recognized 300 in 1902, before awards were given out. In 1908, A.C. Jellison and Homer Sanders (both of St. Louis) each bowled 300 games in the same season, the ABC awarding the gold medal for the highest score of the year to Jellison after a three-game tie-breaker match, without regard to the chronological order of their accomplishments.
On January 7, 2006, Elliot John Crosby became the youngest British bowler to bowl a BTBA-sanctioned 300 game at the age of 12 years, 2 months and 10 days, breaking the 1994 record of Rhys Parfitt (age 13 years, 4 months).
On November 17, 2013, Hannah Diem (Seminole, Florida) became the youngest American bowler to bowl a USBC-certified 300 game at the age of 9 years, 6 months and 19 days, breaking the 2006 record of Chaz Dennis (age 10) and the 2006 female record of Brandie Reamy (age 12).
Jeremy Sonnenfeld (Sioux Falls, S.D.) rolled the first certified 900 series in 1997. A well-publicized court-contested 900 series by Glenn Allison in 1982, considered by many to be the first-ever 900 series, was denied certification due to non-conforming lane conditions.
"Score inflation" controversy
The 905 perfect games that were rolled during the 1968–69 season increased 38-fold to 34,470 in the 1998–99 season. Likewise, the number of perfect-game league bowlers increased from about one of 3150 (1900–1980) to about one of 27 (2007), a greater-than-hundredfold increase that many thought threatened to jeopardize the integrity of the sport. Specifically, the USBC Technical Director wrote that the "USBC is concerned that technology has overtaken player skill in determining success in the sport of bowling," announcing in 2007 the completion of a ball motion study undertaken "to strike a better balance between player skill and technology".
Separately, a USBC pin carry study completed in about 2008 found that dramatically increased entry angles improve pin carry to result in higher scores—regardless of whether the bowlers supplied additional effort or improved their skill. Among the factors allowing higher scores were technological advances in coverstock and core design combined with improved lane surfaces and accommodative oil patterns.
Specifically, the reactive resin balls and particle balls that came out in the 1990s increased frictional engagement with the lane to provide greater hook potential that made high entry angles easier to achieve. Moreover, changes in lane surface technology, as well as the introduction of voids into pins to make them lighter and more top-heavy, helped to raise average scores as early as the 1970s. Expanded choices in oil viscosity and electronically controlled lane oiling machines permitted alley owners to customize house oil patterns to optimize the advantages of the new ball technologies. Technological progress allowed some 1990s league scores to surpass those of professionals in the 1950s.
Responding to such concerns, the USBC initiated "sport bowling" leagues and tournaments that provide "sport", "challenge" and "PBA Experience" oil patterns that are more challenging than the accommodative patterns of typical house shots. Still, the USBC has encountered enduring issues concerning how to maintain "average integrity" (fair handicapping) across leagues using oil patterns of differing difficulty.
As a result of various USBC studies, including a bowling technology study published in February 2018, the USBC Equipment and Specifications Committee established new specifications focusing mainly on balls. The overall result of the new specifications was said to slightly limit hook potential, more specifically eliminating balance holes (as of the 2020-21 season) and setting a new specification for oil absorption. The USBC stated that the new specifications will slow oil pattern transition, cause bowlers to move less, and keep the same scoring pace with lower oil volume.
Ten-pin bowling in media
Coverage of events
See also: Category:Bowling television series
Beginning in 1962, ABC's Pro Bowlers Tour was broadcast on Saturday afternoons to be viewed by millions, and—with various entertainment-oriented programs including Make That Spare,Celebrity Bowling and Bowling for Dollars—confirmed the sport's popularity. The Pro Bowlers Tour garnered excellent ratings in the 1960s and early 1970s, as a lead-in to ABC's Wide World of Sports. However, television ratings fell substantially, from 9.1 in the mid-1970s to 2.0 in 1997, the year in which Pro Bowlers Tour was canceled.
The decline in bowling event coverage has been attributed to a variety of factors, including time demands burdening the schedules of two-income households, small purses (winnings) for professional tournaments, declining participation in league bowling, the perceived demographic of bowlers (old, or of low social class), waning popularity with the public, competing sports programming on cable television, lack of corporate sponsorship, lack of an inspiring bowling star (2004), and an aging audience for TV bowling. A 2006 PBA article describing the PBA bowlers in the documentary A League of Ordinary Gentlemen called bowling athletes "the Rodney Dangerfields of professional sports".
The decline in coverage has also been attributed to the perception that bowling is less an athletic sport (not being in the Olympic Games) and more of a recreational pastime (such as for children's birthday parties). This perception is reinforced by the easy lane conditions provided to bowling leagues that enable seasoned league bowlers to achieve scores rivaling those of professionals who must bowl under more challenging lane conditions.
Former PBA Commissioner Mark Gerberich said that ABC paid the PBA $200,000 per broadcast in 1991, but by 1997 "we were paying $150,000 to stay on TV." Said to be "near bankruptcy" in 2000, the PBA changed ownership to one that emphasized marketing with the goal of running the organization as a for-profit business.ESPN featured bowling from 2000 to 2018 on Sunday afternoons, with CBS Sports Network also airing a smaller number of bowling tournaments.
In 2019, the PBA entered an agreement, expected to last four years, in which Fox Sports would sell advertising and sponsorships for the sport to establish the sport's presence on broadcast television, also providing cable, streaming, and social media programming. In September 2019, Bowlero Corporation purchased the PBA.
Portrayal on television
Particular television broadcasts include:
In J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Professor Albus Dumbledore is a fan of ten-pin bowling.
Strikes and Spares (1934) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Novelty Short.
Pin Gods (1996) presents the early challenges of three young bowlers breaking into professional bowling.
The PBS Independent Lens documentary A League of Ordinary Gentlemen (2006) chronicles the stories of four PBA Tour bowlers at different stages of their careers, following the purchase of the PBA and appointment of former Nike executive Steve Miller as Director.
Further information: Category:Ten-pin bowling films
In the animated short cartoon The Bowling Alley-Cat (1942), cat and mouse TomandJerry do battle inside a bowling center.
In Dreamer (1979), Tim Matheson plays a man aspiring to be a professional bowler who faces a challenger played by Dick Weber.
In Greedy (1994), Michael J. Fox plays an "honest but luckless pro bowler with a bad wrist and a good woman."
The Farrelly brothers' comedy Kingpin (1996) is a bowling comedy about which Randy Quaid said in an interview, "If we can't laugh at bowling, what can we laugh at?"
In the Coen Brothers' The Big Lebowski (1998), "the Dude" (Jeff Bridges), a "slacker's slacker," hangs out with his buddies at a bowling alley, in which John Goodman's character pulls out a gun to threaten a competitor who stepped over the foul line and refused to accept the mandatory zero score for the shot.
In the Disney Channel's Alley Cats Strike (2000), high school students engage in a bowling rivalry.
- See also Bowling video games.
What is believed to be the first bowling video game was released in the 1977, a built-in provided with the RCA Studio II console. A pseudo-3D game was released in 1982 for the Emerson Arcadia 2001 console, and a multi-player game was released by SNK in 1991, almost a decade before convincing 3D graphics arrived.Wii Sports, which was released in 2006, includes a bowling game for the 3D-motion-controlled console, and mobile-device bowling games have since become increasingly popular. Several organizations—including the PBA and entertainment franchises such as Animaniacs,The Simpsons,Monsters, Inc., and The Flintstones—have granted licenses to use their names for video games.
- Benner, Donald; Mours, Nicole; Ridenour, Paul (2009). "Pin Carry Study: Bowl Expo 2009"(Slide show presentation). bowl.com. Archived(PDF) from the original on December 7, 2010. USBC, Equipment Specifications and Certifications Division.
- Freeman, James; Hatfield, Ron (July 15, 2018). Bowling Beyond the Basics: What's Really Happening on the Lanes, and What You Can Do about It. BowlSmart. ISBN .
- Stremmel, Neil; Ridenour, Paul; Stervenz, Scott (2008). "Identifying the Critical Factors That Contribute to Bowling Ball Motion on a Bowling Lane"(PDF). United States Bowling Congress. Archived(PDF) from the original on June 3, 2012. Study began in 2005. Publication date is estimated based on article content.
- United States Bowling Congress (USBC) (February 2012). "USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Manual"(PDF). bowl.com. Archived(PDF) from the original on June 19, 2013.
- United States Bowling Congress (USBC) (February 2018). "Bowling Technology Study: An Examination and Discussion on Technology's Impact in the Sport of Bowling"(PDF). bowl.com. Archived(PDF) from the original on December 31, 2018.
- United States Bowling Congress (USBC) (2018). "2018-2019 Playing Rules and Commonly Asked Questions"(PDF). bowl.com. Archived(PDF) from the original on March 20, 2019.
- * Vogel, A. F. (December 1892). "Bowling"(PDF). Spalding's Athletic Library. Vol. 1 no. 3. New York: American Sports Publishing Company. Archived(PDF) from the original on March 27, 2020.
- ^ abc"H. G. Kirk ... Banking and Confectionary Business (advertisement)". Indiana Centinel & Public Advertiser. Vincennes, Indiana, U.S. June 10, 1820. p. 3. (Click for image) The owner "has erected, for the amusement of those who favor him with their custom, a Ball and Ten Pin Alley".
- ^ abcdCarrubba, Rich (April 5, 2013). "Is Bowling A Sport Or A Game?". BowlingBall.com (Bowlversity educational section). Archived from the original on November 12, 2020.
- ^ abcdefgUnited States Bowling Congress (USBC) (February 2012). "USBC Equipment Specifications and Certifications Manual"(PDF). bowl.com. Archived(PDF) from the original on June 19, 2013.
- ^ ab
John Barilaro: Paul Toole defeats Melinda Pavey to become deputy premier
A former teacher will replace John Barilaro as NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals leader as yet another party room vote marks the biggest political shake-up outside an election in 13 years.
Regional Roads Minister Paul Toole defeated Water Minister Melinda Pavey, a mother-of-two who grew up on a dairy farm, in a ballot on Wednesday morning, 15 votes to three, with Mental Health Minister Bronnie Taylor to be his deputy.
Mr Barilaro resigned on Sunday, two days after Gladys Berejiklian quit as Liberal premier over a corruption investigation.
The larrikin MP joked that he was having a 'mid-life crisis' and wanted a new career outside of politics.
For the first time since 2008, NSW has a new premier and deputy premier almost on the same day without an election, with the Coalition's revolving door of leaders resembling Labor in its troubled final years.
The New South Wales Nationals, like their senior Coalition partner, are now on their fourth leader in seven years, as they struggle to hold traditional regional seats.
Regional Roads Minister Paul Toole (pictured with wife Joanne) defeated Water Minister Melinda Pavey in a party room ballot on Wednesday morning, 15 votes to three
New Liberal Premier Dominic Perrottet, a 39-year-old devout Catholic father-of-six from Sydney's north-west, congratulated Mr Toole for winning a party room ballot a day after him.
The leaders of both Coalition parties were first elected to Parliament in March 2011.
'I have worked closely together for many years with Paul, and I know he will bring a steady hand to our efforts to get NSW safely back open and on the path to recovery,' Mr Perrottet said.
'As a loyal deputy in the NSW Nationals to departing Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Paul knows what it takes to lead, and I want to again thank John for his service to the people of NSW.'
Under Mr Barilaro, the Nationals at the 2019 election lost vast seats in the state's far west to the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party as Lismore in the state's far north coast fell to Labor for the first time since 1965.
The party of the bush has now chosen a leader from west of the Great Dividing Range from the central west city of Bathurst, better known as the home Mount Panorama and V8 Supercar racing.
Mr Toole is taking over as Deputy Premier as Sydney prepares to emerge from lockdown on October 11.
'I tell you what, I'm looking forward to getting back to work,' Mr Toole said after the vote on Wednesday.
The Nationals are now on their fourth leader since 2014 after Melinda Pavey lost her bid to become the state party's first female leader
For the first time since 2008, NSW has a new premier and deputy premier almost on the same day without an election, with the Coalition's revolving door of leaders resembling Labor in its troubled final years (pictured is new Premier Dominic Perrottet in March when he was treasurer with outgoing deputy premier John Barilaro)
NSW Nationals revolving door
Andrew Stoner: Deputy Premier from March 2011 to October 2014
Troy Grant: Deputy Premier from October 2014 to November 2016
John Barilaro: Deputy Premier from November 2016 to October 2021
Paul Toole: Deputy Premier from October 2021
The new Nationals leader began teaching at Assumption Primary School in Bathurst in 1995 before joining the Evans Shire Council and becoming mayor in 2007.
The married father-of-three won the seat of Bathurst off Labor in the 2011 landslide that brought the Coalition to power.
Three years later, he became the minister for local government.
He moved to the race and lands and forestry portfolios in 2017.
After the 2019 election, with the Coalition winning a third term, he became the Minister for Regional Transport and Roads.
Announcing his run for the top job on Tuesday, Mr Toole said: 'This is a time where we need a strong and stable leadership (as) we are coming out of a pandemic.'
He talked up his credentials as deputy party leader, and pointed to his record of working with the incoming premier in crisis cabinet and other committees.
Under the Liberal-National Coalition arrangement in NSW, the Liberal Party leader in government is the premier and the National Party provides the deputy.
For the first time since 2014, both conservative parties are changing leader in the same calendar year.
Andrew Stoner had quit as Nationals leader in October, six months after Barry O'Farrell resigned as Liberal premier for failing to declare a $3,000 bottle of Grange Hermitage bottled in 1959, the year he was born, following an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry.
Troy Grant, a former police officer, quit as Nationals leader in November 2016, two months before an unpopular policy to ban greyhound racing saw Mike Baird resign as Liberal premier.
But NSW hasn't had a new premier and deputy premier within days of each other since September 2008 when Nathan Rees and Carmel Tebbutt, now the former partner of federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, replaced Morris Iemma and John Watkins as Labor's most senior leaders after the party was bitterly divided over electricity privatisation.
John Barilaro resigned on Sunday, two days after Gladys Berejiklian resigned as Liberal premier over a corruption investigation
When announcing his surprise decision to step down, Mr Barilaro said NSW would be best served by someone who had the passion and fight to forge on.
'I just don't have the energy anymore,' Mr Barilaro told reporters on Monday.
The Nationals leader said he had been 'thinking about this for a while', and ruled out running for federal parliament, despite last year being touted as a candidate for in the by-election for the marginal Labor seat of Eden-Monaro.
His state seat of Monaro, taking in Queanbeyan near Canberra, overlaps.
'I'm looking for a new career. I turn 50 in November, maybe a bit of a midlife crisis, but definitely thinking about what happens next. I will take some time out, but I genuinely won't be running for federal politics,' he said.
Mr Barilaro is also suing YouTube entertainer and former model Jordan Shanks, better known as Friendlyjordies.
Mr Barilaro is also suing YouTube entertainer and former model Jordan Shanks (pictured), better known as Friendlyjordies
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A Tough (Correct) Call and a Walk-Off Homer Have the Rays on the Brink
A.L. division series | Red Sox lead series, 2-1
A confusing play in extra innings highlighted an unusual rule, but Boston took a commanding series lead over Tampa Bay on Christian Vazquez’s two-run blast.
BOSTON — Christian Vazquez’s night began on the bench. It ended with a triumphant jog around the bases.
In an endurance contest the night before the Boston Marathon, the Red Sox outlasted the Tampa Bay Rays in a 13-inning, chaotic affair in Game 3 of this American League division series. Vazquez, who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning, won the game for Boston seven innings later with a walk-off, two-run home run over the Green Monster that gave the Red Sox a 6-4 victory and a two-games-to-one series lead.
“It’s a big win,” Vazquez said. “No matter what inning, we need to do the job, and somebody needs to do it and take charge there, and I did it.”
While Vazquez’s blast knocked Tampa Bay onto its heels in a best-of-five series, a play in the top half of the inning seemed to thoroughly befuddle players, coaches and fans.
With Tampa Bay’s Yandy Diaz on first base and two outs, Kevin Kiermaier lofted a ball off the short right-field wall at Fenway Park. The ball caromed off the wall, then ricocheted off right fielder Hunter Renfroe and over the fence, resulting in a ground-rule double that prevented a run from scoring. (Diaz was running with the pitch with a full count and two outs.) The hectic sequence caused confusion, but the crew chief, Sam Holbrook, confirmed that the correct call was made after a replay review established that Renfroe’s deflection was not intentional.
“It’s in the rule book. It’s a ground-rule double,” Holbrook said after the game. “There’s no discretion that the umpires have.”
Holbrook went as far as reading the rule book aloud to the news media in attendance. While the correct call was made, that didn’t quell debate about whether the letter of the law should be changed.
“The rules are what they are — but, man, that’s a heartbreaker,” Kiermaier said. “I can’t believe that happened and we didn’t get the chance to score that run right there. For me, I crushed that ball. I was just hoping to see it leave the yard. I got a lot of snap and crackle, but no pop.”
He added: “For the ball to bounce off a wall and hit a player and go over, I just can’t believe that’s a ground-rule double. Yandy would have scored standing up.”
Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said that he knew the play was a double right away, recalling lessons he learned as a TV analyst for ESPN. Diaz, meanwhile, suggested the rule be edited to allow for some judgment. Diaz, a corner infielder, was careful not to pin the Rays’ loss on that one play, however.
“It’s just part of the game,” Diaz said. “We had plenty of opportunities to score, but we just didn’t.”
The unusual play aside, the Rays spent the extra innings of the game stifled by Boston’s Nick Pivetta, a right-hander who entered the game to start the 10th inning and proceeded to strike out seven over four innings. Pitching on two days’ rest after throwing 73 pitches on Thursday, Pivetta, primarily used as a starter in the regular season, threw 67 pitches this time and allowed only three hits.
Pivetta, pitching in his first postseason, became increasingly demonstrative each time he left the mound.
“I just competed with the strike zone, competed with those guys,” Pivetta said, adding that his recent workload was of no concern to him. “My energy just shows what this means to me and means to our team.”
Cora compared Pivetta’s relief performance to the one Nathan Eovaldi provided Boston in Game 3 of the 2018 World Series. Eovaldi threw six innings of one-run ball that night against the Dodgers.
Coincidentally, Eovaldi started this game for Boston. His stretch of playoff excellence appeared to be in jeopardy after surrendering a two-run homer to Tampa Bay’s Austin Meadows in the first inning on Sunday, but Eovaldi blanked the Rays for the remainder of his five-inning, eight-strikeout evening.
Before Vazquez’s homer, the Boston offense was fueled by a pair of hitters better known for their postseason exploits in other uniforms.
Kyle Schwarber, a World Series champion with the Cubs in 2016, put the Red Sox on the board with a leadoff homer. He added another hit in the third to set up an R.B.I. single for Enrique Hernandez, but the first baseman’s most entertaining moment of the game came when he celebrated a routine, underhanded throw to Eovaldi, who was covering first base.
The joking gesture was in reference to Schwarber’s having previously airmailed a throw on a similar play.
Hernandez, meanwhile, followed his single with the 10th postseason home run of his career. The preceding nine came with the Dodgers, but this solo shot, which cleared the Green Monster, gave the center fielder a hit in seven straight plate appearances, tied for the most in postseason history.
The Rays knotted the score, 4-4, in the eighth, seizing an opportunity to face an under-the-weather Hansel Robles in a high-leverage situation. Wander Franco shot a home run the opposite way before Randy Arozarena continued his own playoff brilliance, doubling home a run.
Ultimately, it wasn’t enough for a Rays team now facing elimination on the road in Game 4 on Monday. But after a taxing night in more ways than one, Tampa Bay doesn’t sound deterred.
“I have the confidence of about 10,000 percent that this team is going to bounce back like we normally do,” Diaz said.
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