A conspiracy theorist might think I’d vote for Jason Belmonte for 2011-12 PBA Player of the Year because we’re both on Storm’s staff.
Anyone who knows how highly I regard major tournaments might think I’d vote for Mike Fagan.
But after checking out the volumous reaction to my blog last week on how I was undecided on who to vote for for POY, and going over all the evidence a couple more times, I’ve decided to vote for Sean Rash.
It’s still a brutally difficult decision but, unfortunately, you have to make a choice — if ever there was a season where a 3-way tie was appropriate this was it.
I’ve been a bowling writer since 1980 and a PBA member since 1986 and this is the toughest POY vote I can remember.
In the end, Rash’s overall statistics and performance made my decision.
There has never been a player who has led in points, earnings and average (as Rash did) and not been Player of the Year, from what I’ve been able to learn.
And when it came down to the final event of the year and it was all on the line, Rash earned the top seed and won the richest and arguably most important event of the year. And he did it bowling 20 more games than Belmonte or Fagan, who were seeded into the Round of 36 by virtue of winning titles earlier in the season.
If Belmonte or Fagan had won, they’d have been almost a certain lock for POY.
Belmonte did win the most titles but all of his were at the World Series of Bowling and none were majors.
Fagan had the best record in the majors, including a win in the USBC Masters and a stellar performance at the U.S. Open edged only by the historic performance of Pete Weber, but he had a mediocre World Series.
One thing in Rash’s favor that has been largely overlooked in the discussion is that he dominated the PBA World Championships, leading by more than 200 pins heading into the TV show. This year, however, the top seed wasn’t guaranteed to bowl for the title and actually could finish as low as 13th with the 16-man eliminator TV format. Rash won his semifinal show then lost in the semis of the championship show.
So I’m voting for Rash, although I don’t think any of the three can be disappointed if any of the others among them gets Player of the Year.
If you want to hear what Rash thinks of his season, click here to hear his recent interview on Above180.com with Tim Burg and Joey Cerar.
Here is the PBA news release on the 2011-12 awards candidates, and here is a link to detailed stats from the season for all the candidates.
Josh Blanchard is a slam dunk for Rookie of the Year.