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#196797 - 02/25/17 08:44 AM Center Issues In League
Mkirchie Offline
Touring Pro Contender

Registered: 01/14/07
Posts: 656
A/S/L: 36/M/New Jersey
Last night of league was interesting, to say the least. The average high temperature where I live in NJ should be 41 this time of year. For those not in the northeast, we've had near record or record highs the last few days; it hit a high of 72 yesterday. The center was packed with our league of 12 lanes of 5 per team, another league with 10 lanes of 4 per team, and a pile of open bowlers on 9 of the 10 remaining lanes. They didn't turn the AC on until nearly halfway through the 2nd game when the heat and humidity got so bad that a lot of bowlers in the leagues were sticking on the approaches and thumbs were hanging. I sort of felt that they should have seen that coming.

Then there's the mechanical issue on our pair. If you didn't strike on the left lane, after picking up the remaining pins and sweeping the deck the machine would not release the pins when they were set back down. Because it held onto them, the machine would then lift them and they would hang above their spots on the pin deck. This happened about 90% of the time on non-strikes. We then had to wait for the mechanic to drop the pins and then reset them manually every time it happened. Since the pins were set manually using the long rod they use to set them, the pins were not always set accurately for the spares. Also, even though we were right in front of the desk, it sometimes still took a while for the mechanic to get to the pair to fix it and it was hard to develop a rhythm.

I have to imagine that they knew about the problem on that lane before we started since it was doing it from the beginning of practice. If they knew, I think that pair should not have been used for league and they should have shifted everyone over one pair. Of course, that would have taken away a pair of open bowlers and we know that they don't want to do that. No sort of apology was made, which is disappointing because on both teams are a few bowlers (me included) who have been bowling there for a very long time. Fortunately, I still shot my average and our team won all 3 games, but sort of needed to vent.

Mark
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#196798 - 02/25/17 09:34 AM Re: Center Issues In League [Re: Mkirchie]
82Boat69 Offline
High Roller

Registered: 06/24/16
Posts: 386
A/S/L: 69/M/California
Out of curiosity, when you reported the problem, how did they correct the hanging pins problem?

What kind of machines? AMF? Brunswick? Other?

As the profit margin for bowling becomes smaller and smaller, keeping an inventory of spare parts isn't always practical. As a result, when a failure does occur, they can either shut that lane/pair down or continue to use it until the part arrives.

Most bowling alleys have old equipment. Newer machines have electronics to let maintenance people know when something is beginning to go wrong.

What's really is needed is a system that monitors the machine and when a part shows problems, orders up the new part so it's available when the failure occurs.

Large mainframe computer have this feature. When something begins to show a problem, the computer, independent of humans, will order the part and schedule the CE to be on site at the same time during off-peak hours to make the repair.

I just woke up! Was I dreaming?
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#196799 - 02/25/17 10:42 AM Re: Center Issues In League [Re: 82Boat69]
Mkirchie Offline
Touring Pro Contender

Registered: 01/14/07
Posts: 656
A/S/L: 36/M/New Jersey
They are AMF machines. Model 82-70's, not the really old 82-30's but they are still over 50 years old since they're the original machines from when the center was built in the early 60's. With that said, they should run well if they are maintained properly.

The correction to the problem was to have the mechanic release the hanging pins manually so they crashed down on the lane to make a loud and amusing thud. Then, the mechanic reset the pins manually by hand using the pin fork tool. This procedure was repeated probably 30-40 times during league. Therefore, what actually caused the problem never got fixed.

Mark
_________________________
Current Average - 225
HG-300(10)
HS-789

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#196800 - 02/25/17 01:00 PM Re: Center Issues In League [Re: Mkirchie]
82Boat69 Offline
High Roller

Registered: 06/24/16
Posts: 386
A/S/L: 69/M/California
It's amazing they chose to proceed with all that manual effort.

There's a couple of things that can cause hanging pins on AMF machines. One is an adjustment and the other is replacing part(s).

Either would have taken the offending lane out of service. I'm willing to bet they didn't have the part on hand so taking the machine out of service and moving the teams to a different pair should have been the solution.

Most houses have one extra pair for up to 3 leagues where open play is not allowed. If they've assigned all the lanes, then to move the league players to another pair would have required someone go down and kick the open players off their lanes.

Is the house in question a Bowlmor establishment? We have one here where I live and it's the worst place to bowl. They have the place set up for open-play and leagues are a second priority. Just the opposite of what you would expect. If they have a big group of non-league bowlers coming in, they will tell the leagues they can't bowl that night.
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14 lb Storm Lock : 45 x 4 x 35 3000 Grit
14 lb Storm Lock : 50 x 5 x 50 Polished
14 lb Ebonite Cyclone : 50 x 5 x 50 Polished
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#196802 - 02/25/17 02:03 PM Re: Center Issues In League [Re: 82Boat69]
Mkirchie Offline
Touring Pro Contender

Registered: 01/14/07
Posts: 656
A/S/L: 36/M/New Jersey
They used to keep an extra pair open on our league night and used to do it between the two leagues. Then again, a few years ago we would fill the whole house. Now, they don't keep a pair open at all. They do keep a 1 lane buffer though next to our league with bowls next to the open bowlers.

The center is not owned by Bowlmor, it is privately owned. Unfortunately, the general consensus is that leagues are becoming second priority there anyway. They haven't gone to the extent of pushing away league bowlers though, which I guess should make me happy.

The amount of energy spent by the mechanic all night made me feel bad for him. It had to be extremely warm/humid back there with the weather and another lane on the pair next to ours was giving frequent ball return problems.

Mark
_________________________
Current Average - 225
HG-300(10)
HS-789

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#196803 - 02/25/17 05:31 PM Re: Center Issues In League [Re: Mkirchie]
82Boat69 Offline
High Roller

Registered: 06/24/16
Posts: 386
A/S/L: 69/M/California
The business model for a sport in decline is much different than it was in its hay-day. I remember when leagues paid a premium to bowl, had to guarantee lineage for 32-36 weeks and if they didn't, they could lose their spot to another league trying to find a place to bowl.

Doesn't make sense to me that houses treat those who like bowling enough to show up every week worse than those who may show up 1 or 2 times a month. Open play has never been a money-maker.

We have a place in town called Country Club Lanes. They charge $20 per person per half hour for open play. It's a 40 lane house that on a regular basis has more people employed than bowling.

I don't understand how they stay in business. On Friday and Saturday nights they get a huge crowd of young people, but can you run a bowling alley like a night club?
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14 lb Storm Lock : 45 x 4 x 35 3000 Grit
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14 lb Ebonite Cyclone : 50 x 5 x 50 Polished
15 lb Columbia Blue Dot: Circa 1979

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#196804 - 02/25/17 05:41 PM Re: Center Issues In League [Re: Mkirchie]
goobee Offline
High Roller

Registered: 02/25/15
Posts: 378
A/S/L: 58/M/Sunny California
In our 40 lanes house, our Saturday morning league takes the first 32, the rest go to juniors. There are no extra pairs. When things go wrong (and they do weekly) we have to sit and wait however long it takes. One time, two teams had to bowl make up because they couldn't fix the issue.

Just this AM, the left lane didn't work right the entire 10 minutes of shadow practice for us. It continue to plague us during the games. This is a Brunswick house and we didn't start seeing these problem until Bowlmor took over.
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#196805 - 02/25/17 06:47 PM Re: Center Issues In League [Re: Mkirchie]
Dennis Michael Offline
Virtual League Champion

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 9406
A/S/L: M/Barrington, Ill
Our contract has a provision for buffer lanes. Its a pair between two leagues. And, used for any down lane troubles.

I have bowled in a 20 lane house with 20 teams in league. When a lane went down, both teams alternated on the one good lane. The scorer was set to have one team bowl at a time.

If another pair opened early, they had an option to move.
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#196806 - 02/25/17 07:00 PM Re: Center Issues In League [Re: Dennis Michael]
Mkirchie Offline
Touring Pro Contender

Registered: 01/14/07
Posts: 656
A/S/L: 36/M/New Jersey
We used to have that buffer, I'm not sure if it was in a contract between one of the two leagues that bowl on Fridays and the center or if it was done as a courtesy for the leagues. There's no chance of that ever coming back, we tried to go from a 5 to a 4 person league a year ago due to the decline in the # of bowlers in the league. The center shot it down because we would then use up more pairs for league leaving less for open bowling.

Mark
_________________________
Current Average - 225
HG-300(10)
HS-789

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#196807 - 02/25/17 07:34 PM Re: Center Issues In League [Re: Mkirchie]
82Boat69 Offline
High Roller

Registered: 06/24/16
Posts: 386
A/S/L: 69/M/California
Sounds like a sad state of affairs.

I'm fortunate to bowl in a house owned by a bowler. Steve Cook's Fireside Lanes are not that spectacular, but the place is run for the bowlers.
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14 lb Storm Lock : 45 x 4 x 35 3000 Grit
14 lb Storm Lock : 50 x 5 x 50 Polished
14 lb Ebonite Cyclone : 50 x 5 x 50 Polished
15 lb Columbia Blue Dot: Circa 1979

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