The Evster weighs in on hip, trendy bowling alleys vs. classic, colossal dumps

The Evster weighs in on hip, trendy bowling alleys vs. classic, colossal dumps


"There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him." - Bob Wiley, What About Bob

In the past decade, a seismic shift has taken place in the world of bowling alley construction. Trendy, bonkers bowling alleys like North Bowl and Lucky Strike have opened up, giving Philadelphia new venues to participate in this ridiculously stupid and super-fun sport. These new alleys combine clubbing with athletics, allowing degenerate weirdos to rub elbows with the social elite. The game is compromised, but the cleavage is increased. Frankly, I'm not sure how I feel about it.

I have spent many nights (and afternoons) in these alleys and have come to see both the positive and negative aspects of the new trend. And while I recognize that we don't necessarily have to choose which type of lanes are better -- because different people are into different things -- this is sports after all, and in sports there has to be one winner, and one pathetic, mustache-having loser. So let's dive deep into these new bowling arenas and decide which type of alley is best: Traditional vs. Trendy.

Oh, Paris Hilton. At least put on the proper footwear.

Clientele

Ever since 1874, when Herman Kleinsdorfen opened up the first 10-pin alley outside of Poughkeepsie, NY (I completely made that up), bowling has been marketed as a social event. Whether you're rolling with friends, family, or a dishrag you found on Match.com, the game is always played alongside the general public. Even at the quietest, emptiest bowling alleys, you may have to share a lane with complete and total strangers. This can either be perfectly fine (if your neighbors know not to walk up during your approach) or a total nightmare (if you're seated next to ugly people).

At the trendy joints, these folks tend to be a bit much. They sit around with their white teeth and their gelled hair and can often be found in the bathrooms ripping lines of cocaine like a Colombian warlord. The women are ridiculously hot, but most have little to no interest in trying to break a hundred. For the common schlub who is used to rolling alongside bowzers, this can be VERY DISTRACTING, but can also be their only chance to smell a woman with really clean hair. The smarter (read: creepier) bowlers use these opportunities to take secret snapshots of ladies with their phones and later show them off to their fantasy football buddies.

Traditional alleys operate mostly as family establishments. Lanes are filled with simple, hard-working people who repeatedly scream at their children to "GET YOUR GODDAMN HANDS AWAY FROM THE BALL RETURN." There are also plenty of young lovers on dates, regulars, and disgusting, sweaty teenagers who fire bowling balls into the guard rails like a bunch of filthy animals.

What the freak is wrong with teenagers? Why do they have to ruin everything? I was once on pace to break 200 when a group of snot-nosed kids thought it'd be a good idea to roll their balls after doing running, jumping spin-kicks on their approach. Every time they let the ball fly, they would scream as loud as they could. Just screaming. Not even words. Just sounds, cranked out by their pubescent, blossoming vocal chords. It was TERRIFYING. And yet, this was fun to them. One of 'em, after launching himself off the ball return, accidentally kicked a 14-pound ball out of his own hand and almost blasted me in the throat. I lost focus, melted down and ended up crapping out on the last few frames. Meanwhile, the screaming dipshit rolled like three straight strikes thanks to his Bruce Lee Kamikaze throwing style.

I can't believe I'm about to say this ...

Advantage: Trendy

That's actually really nice form. Pants are a little long, though

Atmosphere

If you're above the age of 26 and are planning on leaving your couch for the evening, nothing is more important when choosing your destination than ambiance (or more specifically, noise level). 95% of all of my life's decisions are based on how loud or quiet an establishment is. The trendy alleys are LOUD. Music blares through the speakers and it is nearly impossible to hear whatever anyone is saying. (I guess this could be seen as a good thing, as people are generally really boring to talk to, but it always makes me uncomfortable to sip my beverage while trying to nod and maintain eye contact with a person when I have no idea what he or she is talking about.) Then again, trendy alleys do have comfortable couches and cool lights and weird stairs that lead to secret lanes, so I guess that's kinda cool?

Traditional jawns are MASSIVE, echoing with the sound of pins crashing and video games bleeping. THIS IS WHAT BOWLING ALLEYS SHOULD SOUND LIKE. Plus, in between turns you can go for a stroll and disappear for 45 minutes playing Skill Crane while everyone in your party freaks out and threatens to skip your turn.

Advantage: Traditional

Food and Drink

North Bowl's tator tots are BOMB and come with like 37 different dipping sauces. There is nothing -- and I mean nothing -- more exciting in this world than dipping sauces. Also, their tomato basil soup with grilled cheese skewers are fantastic. Then again, WHO GOES TO EAT AT A BOWLING ALLEY? Just give me a cherry soda, a Snickers bar and a few slices of cardboard crust pizza, because I am there to ROLL goddammit, I am there to roll! Although, eating is REALLY FUN and North Bowl's mac and cheese is delicious.

Back to the cherry soda, real quick. How amazing are those old bowling alley soda machines that spit out seltzer water into a plastic cup and then mix it with a splash of cherry syrup. Every time the cup gets to around half-full, I start to panic and think, "Oh God, they're out of syrup! It's just gonna give me straight seltz!" and then wammo! the red liquid shoots out and the soda to sugar ratio ends up absolutely perfect. For anyone reading this who is under the age of 30, I imagine you have no idea what I'm talking about, but oh baby if you did, if you did.

Advantage: Who cares?!

Only one more pair of socks!

Amenities

It's not that I necessarily want to buy a black, leather bowling glove from a vending machine, but I would at least like to have the option of buying a black, leather bowling glove from a vending machine.

Advantage: Traditional

Employees

Not to get all Dateline NBC on North Bowl, but have you SEEN the woofers on the bartenders there? WOWZERS. I get it, they're bartenders and bartenders work for tips, but even the ladies who dish out shoes are out of control.

At the traditional alleys, an employee named Cliff is obviously gonna be better at unjamming the gutters, but omg Cliff can't compete with the G.L.O.B! (Gorgeous Ladies Of Bowling)

Advantage: Trendy

High waists are back in!

Gameplay

Forget all the nonsense you read above, this is the only category that matters. BOWLING IS IMPORTANT. True rollers don't strain our wrist muscles so that we can oogle women or be seen in our new slacks, we're there to mark each frame and get them turkeys! Bowling alleys should have a variety of ball sizes and slick lanes for lubrication and I did not intend for this sentence to sound so homoerotic. The average bowling night out should also reward you with at least 86 high-fives. This is a fact. A medical fact. Unfortunately, I have found that hipsters tend to be way too cool to acknowledge how dope it is when you pick up a pin-sweeping spare.

No matter how much lipstick you put on a pig, it's still a pig. And so bowling will always be a dumb, smelly game that is best enjoyed with other idiots in the armpits of America. Bowling alleys should be bright and booming. They should be filled with uncomfortable, springy swivel chairs. They should be run by dudes (or ladies) with mustaches (and I mean real mustaches, not ironic ones). There should be no time limit on games, allowing you to let your sweaty hand twinkle over a cool fan for as long as you want. I appreciate creative entrepreneurs trying to sex up the game, but this aggression will not stand.

If I am ever given the opportunity to choose where I get to roll, I will pick the traditional alleys vs. the trendy jawns ANY DAY OF THE WEEK.

Except if you're gonna make me go to some shit palace in South Jersey.

I am not rolling there.

No shot.

Follow the Evster @TVMWW

Phillies Prospect Notebook: Franklyn Kilome, Jose Taveras anchoring Clearwater's strong rotation

Phillies Prospect Notebook: Franklyn Kilome, Jose Taveras anchoring Clearwater's strong rotation

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Prospect Franklyn Kilome is the second-highest rated pitcher in the Phillies' organization, and the right-hander lived up to the billing Sunday, as the Clearwater Threshers, the Phillies' Class A Advanced affiliate, closed a three-game series at St. Lucie.

The right-hander twirled seven sparkling innings, shutting down the Mets’ hot bats, as the Threshers blanked St. Lucie 1-0 behind an unearned run at First Data Field to salvage the final game of the series.

Kilome, 21, allowed five hits, struck out six and didn’t issue a walk in winning for the first time since April 27. Only one St. Lucie player managed to reach second base against the 6-foot-6, 175-pound pitcher.

The Dominican pitcher is ranked No. 7 overall by Baseball America among Phillies' prospects. Only 18-year-old Lakewood hurler Sixto Sanchez (fifth overall) is rated above him in the organization.

“He’s got a chance to be a workhorse. Good body, very good arm, but still learning how to pitch a little bit,” pitching coach Aaron Fultz said of Kilome, who improved to 3-2 with a 3.02 ERA.

“He’s up to 97 (mph) with a good curveball and slider. He’s learning a changeup. He’s learning the game, but he’s got a huge upside.”

Jose Taveras (4-2, 2.26) has been another reliable arm on Clearwater’s staff. He led the South Atlantic League in strikeouts last season and has 54 in 55 2/3 innings this year.

Taveras also handled St. Lucie on Saturday, but he was left with a no-decision after the bullpen gave up three runs in a 4-3 loss in 10 innings. The 23-year-old worked six strong innings and yielded just a run on four hits.  

“Taveras is just a very good competitor," Fultz said. "His fastball is average, pretty decent breaking ball and his changeup is good, but the thing that makes him good is he’s just a competitor. He studies the game and the hitters and is very advanced with that.”

Added Threshers manager Shawn Williams: “There are times when he may not have his usual command, and he’ll change an arm angle, which shows he’s got a good feel for what he’s doing. He’ll crossfire, has deception … he’s got something where they don’t pick up his fastball and are always late.”

A third Dominican right-hander, Seranthony Dominguez (3-0, 2.02), has been a big part of the rotation as well and has won three times in six starts but is currently sidelined with shoulder soreness. An MRI returned a clean report.

“The first three or four weeks we were ridiculously good," Fultz said. "We’ve had a few bumps in the road since then, but we’re getting the job done.”

Zach, not Francis Ford
Zach Coppola has a famous Hollywood last name, but the Clearwater corner outfielder has spent 2017 making a name for himself with his defense, at the plate and on the bases.

Coppola, 23, was 5 for 12 with two runs scored in the St. Lucie series, including Sunday’s lone run. He made a pair of outstanding run-saving catches in the outfield over the weekend and raised his average to .346, second to Chris Paul (.351) of Fort Myers.

“Zach has been doing a great job as a leadoff hitter,” Williams said of the Iowa native. “He gets big hits, bunts, but the thing for me is he does something every night to help you win, whether it’s a bunt hit or a great diving play in left-center. He’ll throw a guy out or get a great dirtball read and score the winning run.

“He’s a very good baseball player who does all the little things.”

Good contributors
The Threshers (28-23) have sat atop the FSL’s North Division for most of the first half, but a series loss at St. Lucie over the weekend left them trailing Dunedin by one game after both clubs won Sunday.

Williams said his first season skippering the club has been highlighted by a full-team effort.

“It’s been a little bit of everything,” Williams said. “Early on our pitching was very, very good. Cole (Irvin) was really dealing (see more on Irvin). Dominguez, everybody was. We were getting the big hits, and our defense has been very consistent. Overall, we’ve just played good baseball.”

One standout playing good ball has been 5-foot-5 middle infielder Grenny Cumana, who went 7 for 10 in the series and made a spectacular catch-and-throw on the grass behind the bag while playing second base to rob St. Lucie’s Vinny Siena of an infield hit Sunday.

Tenacious P
Fultz said one immeasurable he likes in his pitchers is a bulldog-like tenacity that has them wanting the ball in key moments, regardless of previous outcomes.

“I don’t have to have the guy who’s always going to succeed in the big situation, but I always want the guy that wants to be out there in that situation. To me, that’s the selling point,” he said. “It’s not always being successful; it’s always wanting to be in that situation, which is a big plus.”

Fultz said his favorite battler was Jamie Brewington, a teammate of his in the San Francisco farm system, who appeared in 40 games over two MLB seasons.

“He went right after hitters, and it was fun to watch,” Fultz said.

Andrew Knapp's long homer a bright spot for skidding Phillies as rookie pushes Cameron Rupp

Andrew Knapp's long homer a bright spot for skidding Phillies as rookie pushes Cameron Rupp

Hidden in the Phillies' sub-par Sunday was one bright spot: Andrew Knapp.

The young backup catcher blasted a long home run into the Phillies' bullpen that gave them an early lead they would soon relinquish in an 8-4 loss to the Reds. The long ball comes on the heels of Knapp's first back-to-back starts earlier in the week.

"The more playing time you get, the better you feel," he said. "That's just the way it goes. I'm just trying to take my opportunities and take advantage of them. Unfortunately, we didn't win today, but the more at-bats I get, the better I feel."

The 25-year-old rookie was handed a prime opportunity in the second inning with two men on and one out. Starter Scott Feldman put him behind 0-2 with consecutive fastballs and tried to put him away upstairs. Knapp stayed poised and laid off both pitches, waiting for a mistake.

And the mistake came with a belt-high curveball that Knapp barreled 434 feet for a three-run homer.

"I wasn't really looking for it," he said. "I knew he liked to throw it with two strikes. It was kind of in the back of my head. But I was just looking for something out over the dish. He was pounding me in, but I was going to make him beat me away. I thankfully got that one out in front a bit."

Knapp is now 53 at-bats into his MLB career and has an impressive .264/.371/.509 batting line with three home runs and seven RBIs. He's played well enough to push starting catcher Cameron Rupp for more playing time and earn himself some extra starts beyond day games after night games.

"I feel good," Knapp said. "I'm learning a lot. Each at-bat in itself is its own thing and you can't really have much rollover. At the same time, the more I get in there, the better I feel and the more experience I get. So I feel good so far."

Rupp has been solid at the plate, although he dealt with some issues defensively last week. As Knapp got consecutive starts, Rupp sat out both Tuesday and Wednesday against the Rockies. He rebounded with a three-walk game Thursday afternoon.

With Knapp swinging the bat well, manager Pete Mackanin hopes it will only push Rupp to level his game up.

"Competition is great for pitchers and for position players and I think it's good," Mackanin said. "Knapp hit that home run today. He's been swinging the bat pretty well, catching pretty well and that's only, in my opinion, going to make Rupp better."

On Friday, Mackanin said he would give Knapp more playing time, looking to possibly split starts between Rupp and Knapp at four and three starts, respectively, per week. That's how it worked out during this past homestand.

The manager was unsure what the upward limit on Knapp's starts could be, but he was pleased about his catching situation despite the team's overall issues.

"Cam hasn't been swinging the bat that well lately, but they're both going to get playing time," Mackanin said. "Cam will get the brunt of the playing time. For me, it's a great situation. Now we have two guys that we think a lot of."