SEATTLE – The Professional Bowlers Association has announced that veteran ESPN sportscaster Gary Thorne will replace Rob Stone as ESPN’s play-by-play voice for the three remaining PBA Tour majors during the 2011-12 season.
Stone, the originator of the famous “hambone” for four strikes in a row and other bowling colloquialisms to describe the action on the lanes, will be leaving ESPN to join FOX Sports primarily as lead studio host for FOX’s soccer coverage.
Thorne is currently a play-by-play announcer for ESPN, working Major League Baseball and College football. He is also the television play-by-play voice of the Baltimore Orioles and is best known for his work on ESPN’s coverage of the NHL.
Thorne will do play-by-play for the three remaining PBA majors beginning with the Alka-Seltzer Plus Liquid Gels United States Bowling Congress Masters later this month in Las Vegas, continuing with the U.S. Open in February and the Tournament of Champions in April. Stone will continue to work the remaining World Series of Bowling ESPN-taped telecasts this season and will also do play-by-play for Thursday’s taping of the Chris Paul Celebrity PBA Invitational presented by Sheets™ Brand in Los Angeles.
PBA Hall of Famer Randy Pedersen will remain as ESPN PBA Tour color analyst.
“My time with the PBA Tour has been an absolute and unexpected blast,” said Stone. “There have been so many memories and friendships over the last five years that it’s a grueling effort to call it quits with PBA and ESPN. I will really miss everyone.”
“We are glad to have Rob continue to call the remainder of the World Series of Bowling events this year and wish him well in his new position with FOX,” said PBA Commissioner Tom Clark. “Over the past five years Rob has provided the soundtrack for some of the greatest moments in PBA Tour history and we are thankful for the passionate approach he took to the position.
“We are very fortunate to have, and look forward to working with, Gary for the rest of this season’s majors,” Clark added.