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PBA League: The inside story

Chris Barnes is the No. 1 player for the Silver Lake Atom Splitters.
Chris Barnes is the No. 1 player for the Silver Lake Atom Splitters.
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images

The Professional Bowlers Assn. League season returned to action today and that’s a good thing.

It’s the second season for the PBA League and it shows that pro bowling as a team sport has some staying power. This is a positive development for bowling, which has lost some luster – and participants – in the past decade or two.

It’s also a positive that ESPN has shown its faith in the PBA League by carrying its telecasts for the second straight year.

The fact that the top bowlers in the world have chosen to take part in the PBA League gives the sport a boost. The league pays good salaries to the participants and they put on a pretty good show last year.

But let’s take a step back and recognize that this is bowling – and it’s not the same as baseball or pro football or other major sports.

The PBA League’s quarter-finals today are not being shown live on ESPN. The Los Angeles X took on the BROOKLYN STyLES today, but that series won’t be shown on ESPN until Feb. 9 – or more than two weeks later.

The fact that there is so little L.A. representation among the two L.A. teams – the X and the Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters – is another reason to consider the league as being a fun undertaking, but not to be taken too seriously.

Still, it should be pointed out that Chris Barnes, the No. 1 player of the Atom Splitters and a Double Oak, Tex., resident, did make an effort to connect with the City of Angels. He took part in an extensive bowling clinic in September at Corbin Bowl in Tarzana.

Barnes certainly should get kudos for doing this because the league will be showcasing its stars this season in only three states – Michigan, New Jersey and lastly, Indiana for the Elias Cup championship. L.A. has one-quarter of the teams in the league, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

No wonder the L.A. Times cited the league last year only in its TV listings.

It basically comes down to this: L.A. bowling fans should just sit back and enjoy watching all those talented players on ESPN on those Sundays when the network shows the league action.

But don’t get caught up on wins and losses for your L.A. teams.

Even though it’s a team-format league, just enjoy the individuals. They’re pretty darn talented and they have some charisma too.

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