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mrbowling300

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Robert Smith is the latest star to announce his retirement from what's left of the PBA Tour.

If you want details on the new-look 2010-11 PBA Tour, I've done several blogs and you can access them by going to the main page of The 11th Frame and scrolling through and clicking on the stories.

There is good and bad in the new Tour, and there has been passionate debate on all the changes on the pba.com message boards.

What isn't debatable is that it's very different.

What also isn't debatable is that bowlers should be thankful that any PBA still exists -- too many just don't get the economic climate for sports seeking sponsors and other commercial ties. Virtually every other sport is suffering -- the main differences are in where the sports started from.

PBA already was in a somewhat precarious state and obviously more vulnerable to the downturn so it shouldn't be surprising that it's had to adopt drastic measures to survive.

Still, PBA is about the only place where bowlers can compete for more than their entry fees by any significant amount.

Could others have done better than the three tech execs and the management they've hired? Perhaps.

But if it were that easy, you have to believe someone else would have stepped up and started their own Tour.

Certainly, there was no else who was going to step in and buy the PBA when it was on the verge of bankruptcy a decade ago, then pump tens of millions of dollars into it trying to turn into a quality, big-time sports league.

But the PBA's struggles aren't the only reason Smith is retiring, according to the following statement he posted on the PBA message board:

Ok, first off i want to say thank you to all of those who have supported me along the way with my bowling career.

I am moving to Hong Kong with the reality being that I, as a player, just can't do what i want to do with a ball anymore. At least at the level I know I have been before. A lot of it is injuries, some of it is the state of tour, but mostly because it is time to move on. I told myself I didnt want to bowl after 40, and 36 is a little short of that, but i am ok with it. I will still be bowling tournaments, ToC, US open, and some tournys around Asia, but full time, no more.

I know some want me to stay with a chance for HoF, but honestly, with where my game is, and how I feel, A title may not be out of the question, but WHEN is. the last 4 years have been my worst out of 13, and that is not the pattern i want to have trying to butt heads with the best out there. I can play still, but not the grueling pace of games that is required now.

Please know that I am still involved with bowling fully, just not throwing the rock anymore. Again thank you to all for the support over the years. It has meant a lot to know that me having fun, allowed others to have fun watching me also. I am blessed.

Robert ‘maximum' Smith

I only competed against Smith a few times, but I will never forget the first time I saw him doing his famed left-gutter loft shot -- playing inside sixth arrow lofting the ball a good 20 feet or more onto the lane.

That was in Las Vegas at what is now the PBA Regional Players Championship and I was mesmerized by Smith's consistency in performing such a taxing physical feat shot after shot.

Smith was his last PBA Tour title using that technique ... and it still was fun to watch.

Thanks for the memories and good luck Robert! 

The highlight of Smith's career was his win in the 2000 U.S. Open, when he beat Norm Duke in a thrilling title match.

Here and here are YouTube links to that match.

rstp354

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Best of luck to Robert Smith in the future!

mrbowling300

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I'm surprised you don't see a mass exodus of touring players leaving the sport.  I wonder what most of these pro bowlers have to fall back on?  I guess since most have not left, probably nothing.

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Every pro in sports should have a fall back plan.  They won't be playing forever.

bowler723

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Just ask Wayne Webb...

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Wolf4537

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrbowling300

I'm surprised you don't see a mass exodus of touring players leaving the sport.  I wonder what most of these pro bowlers have to fall back on?  I guess since most have not left, probably nothing.



I think you're right keith, but don't the sponsors also give the bowlers money too? I doubt it's enough to make a good living though. Everyone will be waiting for the TOC if you ask me, and I think we'll probably see a lot of newcomers going for the chump change $10,000 tournaments.

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mrbowling300

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Mike, I think the "bigger" name bowlers, like Weber, WRW, Barnes, et all, get endorsement money from the ball companies.  Someone like Mike Edwards who has been out there forever, but hasn't done much, i'm sure gets nada.  Perhaps he gets some money from using a specific ball when he appears on TV. 

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all of the big name players have enough cash in their piggy banks to fall back on and they will probably still compete for the chump change and rack up endorsement deals


and dont forget a ton of players run thier own pro shops and such


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Wolf4537

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It's terrible knowing how badly the PBA has declined. Yeah the TOC will be the biggest PBA tournament ever, but at the cost of seeing many veteran bowlers retiring from the PBA because of it.

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Reply with quote  #10 
after reading the PBA forums..there isnt much incentive as everybody thinks to be on a ball staff..

sure the big guns get money, especially PDW..been with Storm since 1997! Im sure he makes a living just through them..

ive heard that WRW and PB III were making 100,000 in the mid-90s with Brunswick just for being on staff..

ive read that most companies offer a cash incentive for the tv shows..basically to absorb the expenses for the next few weeks.
Wolf4537

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The big name bowlers obviously don't have anything to worry about, mainly because of their sponsors, and the amount of money they've won over the years, which they can fall back on. But like you said keith, someone like Mike Edwards, Dave Traber, and even Mike Machuga probably doesn't get anything out of this. It's really sad if you ask me.

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Yeah_Hoss

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Reply with quote  #12 
very sad new...but is his decision

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Chipper

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Reply with quote  #13 

This didn't surprise me given that Smith has had multiple injuries and I've seen my dad have trouble with his knees and things, so I know that its no fun bowling hurt.  If the cash incentive is gone, there's no reason to keep hurting on your body.  Lofting the left gutter probably didn't help things even if it looks cool on TV.  Best of luck to Maximum Bob in the few tourneys he still wants to bowl in.


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