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Our Last few Performances Tue 05/30, Thu 06/08, Tue 06/13, Thu 06/15, Tue 06/20, Thu 06/22.
Next Performance TBA (Usually Tue, Thu and Sun nights and Sat matinee).


FLORIDA CITY OPENS USING SAKO BALL




Florida City, FL: Hialeah Park‘s futuristic looking all-glass court opened Florida in Florida City at 11:30am with Dania late game players using the SAKO ball. About 20 attended the event that had very little betting going on. The SAKO ball was used as a precaution – a wise one – for this performance and will be used again Sunday. The reason for using this ball was they did not want any possible risk of a glass panel breaking which would shut down the entire jai-alai operations and risk the tens of millions of dollars already invested in the project. Any halt in the performance Friday or Sunday would result in them to losing their license. Reportedly, one of the panels had issues already and a rock hard ball could have caused serious issues.

Clearly the ball is not designed for that court, and put a damper on the play. It’s the same ball we played with at Jai-alai Heaven two weeks ago and used for a while along with the Tedrick ball at Puryear 6 years ago. Another ball will be in use for July and August.


Orlando Jai-alai under State Investigation

Fern Park, FL: Orlando Jai-alai is now under a state investigation for abusing their jai-alai permit. On Monday, Merry Festival’s Rob Craig attempted to go see one of their “performances” on the Opening Day of the 2017 Jai-alai season. According to state records, 8 performances were to be held that day – playing to shameful 2 point games with points doubling in the second round. Only two players were supposedly to be playing in the games which also included a $10 admission charge to get in – per performance.

It now appears that Dave Catina and his shenanigans may be in hot water. Craig, a diehard Orlando jai-alai fan who lives nearby tried to enter the fronton to see jai-alai. The State requires 40 jai-alai performances in order to maintain their other gambling licenses – in this case the pari-mutual wagering on other events like dog and horse racing. Taking the entire visit on video, he found all the doors locked with a sign clearly stating that the place was closed on Monday and Tuesdays. If 8 performances were to be held that day, why was the place closed? This is what the State is now asking.

Craig’s video was rolling when on about his 5th attempt to get into the building by walking around and trying to open all the doors was greeted by a security guard. He was first told they were closed, they told they were open – despite the signs saying it was closed and the doors all locked. They then changed their story saying they were open. Then another security guard came over and told Craig that he was banned after looking at a photo of him posted on the wall and told him he cannot enter the building ever again. The entire scene is clearly caught on video.

An angry Craig then went to the media, placed an ad on Facebook that has been watched by thousands of people and contacted the State about the matter. But he is not the only one to report this story. Sources have confirmed to us that at least one of person had a long discussion the head guy at the State and he is not too happy about it. The sticking point is that the place was listed as closed for the day on the sign at the front entrance and that alone has triggered the investigation. How could 8 performances be held if the place is closed? The state has considered this a serious matter and will do a full investigation.

This is a clear violation and could cost Orlando their license. It is also an abuse and mockery of the game that may haunt them in the end. We will keep you posted.


Jai-alai “dream trip” ends on sour note


Left: NJAA’s “Denver” with the owners of the manufacturers of the new glass wall jai-alai court Gonzalo Vivanco and Inigo Calzacorta ** Right: Statue in front of Ft. Pierce Jai-alai


Left: Everybody’s favorite & The “Aaron Judge” of Jai-alai – “Joseph” aka “Belota”! ** Right: Rocco in action!


Left: The sad state of Miami Jai-alai ** Right: Hot Dog at Jaxson’s in Dania Beach

Miami, FL: A Jai-alai dream trip that included stops at Ft. Pierce, Dania and Miami and was to conclude with the Grand Opening of Florida City Jai-alai ended in a sour note with the last minute cancelation of the unique all-glass court. Hialeah Park, owners of the new facility, postponed the opening till Friday without an announcement on their website leaving out of towners like Laca, Denver, and Cachin frustrated. A six-hour drive each way and a weekend wasted. Sounds like Hamilton Jai-alai all over again, folks. Amazing how these people run their business.

Not all was wasted – we did get to see Rocco and Belota play at Ft. Pierce, did get to spend hours with Gonzalo Vivanco and Inigo Calzacorta – owners of the company making the clear glass court while at Dania Jai-alai, and did get to visit Miami Jai-alai – perhaps for the last time. Miami plans to go dark on the jai-alai side of the building in 3 weeks for the rest of the summer and fall and hopes decoupling gets passed sometime next year. Miami Jai-alai, called the Yankee Stadium of jai-alai, opened in 1926 and is conducting their 91st season there.

Dania Jai-alai appeared to be doing well, with good crowds in the casino and inside the fronton both Friday and Saturday. Quality of play was excellent and getting see Jai-a-Lou, Benny, and Jesus – the only player to videotape action while playing at Puryear Park in the rain, was nice.

We will try again to visit the glass court at another time. Denver is planning the trip again and will head down there from Orlando. The State of Florida gave permission to Florida City to delay the opening. They only need to schedule 3 performances in the month of June in order to keep their license. Several players from Ft. Pierce and perhaps Miami Jai-alai – including Erik and Tevin may be playing. Several players, including Benny have already played on the all glass court. The first few performances will only be singles games and they will be using a ball similar to the real pelota.

It was fun to see our NJAA star’s Rocco and Belota playing at Ft. Pierce Jai-alai. Belota was even going out into the audience before the performance to talk to the little kids who were enthused while watching the speed of the ball while they were practicing before the performance. Just like getting a baseball at a game from a player. Good hearted gestures….. That’s what is needed badly for the great sport - now on life support.


Florida City Jai-alai sets to open this Sunday @ 12-noon

Gonzalo Vivanco and Inigo Calzacorta own the company that is building the Florida City fronton.
Calzacorta attended the grand opening of the Puryear Park jai-alai court over 9 years ago –
flying in from Spain just for the event. Photo by Miami Herald. Workers are scrambling to get
the court ready for Sunday’s grand opening.

Florida City, FL: A new jai-alai fronton is opening in Florida City this Sunday in Florida City – a small town of 12,000 that links south Miami and the Florida Keys. The name of the court is “Kings Court”. While not much information has been released, the NJAA understands that Dania players will be participating. The fronton is in tent, and will have bleacher seating for about 150 people. The 6 table poker room will open in another tent next to the fronton after the jai-alai performance Sunday.

A recently discovered obscure 1980 law has allowed Hialeah Park to receive an extra pari-mutual; permit and is scrambling to get the court finished by Sunday, or risk losing the permit. There is still much work to do and the players may not have much of an opportunity to practice on the 120 foot long court which is made out of very sturdy tempered glass that is bullet proof. Vivanco told the Miami Herald a Formula One driver couldn’t go through it! There will be 88 glass panels making up the courts main, back and side wall. They weigh 670 pounds.

The cost of the court is considerable more than reported here earlier – will a concrete floor required and the fronton with bleachers, AC and tent covering all costing about $350,000 or so. Details released here have not been released by officials of Florida City or the company building the court and may not be 100% accurate. Hialeah Park will be releasing information on Friday according to Tiger on a posting he made.

We also understand the sound of the ball hitting the glass walls is loud and management is looking to quiet it by possibly wrapping the traditional goat skin over the ball they are using. The fronton will have 2 tellers, and 2 automated machines and two tellers going around the place for “mobile” betting. The facility can add simulcasting after 58 jai-alai performances.

The first match is June 11th at noon, followed by noon performances June 16 and 18th. In July and August, 12 noon and 6pm performances will be held Thursdays through Sundays.


Connecticut wins championship 3rd straight year


Group photo of some of the Florida, Connecticut and Rhode Island players in the 2017 Championships
Team Florida: (Front row, L to R) – Kyle, Castanos, Brodie
(Back row, L to R) – Thomas, Anthony, Laca, Chip, Scott King, John

Berlin, CT: Nothing like good old sweet home! Team Connecticut was able to squeak out a win over Rhode Island in the championship game played to 25 single points, winning 25-23 while our boys from Florida scored 16. This was the 3rd annual National Amateur Court Jai-alai Championships held in Berlin, Connecticut between the top amateur players in the USA. The amazing finish was capped by court owner Matt Didomizio making a miraculous catch to score the game winner. All the championship games were played on Saturday in a monster 7 hour performance.

In “A” group Front and Back court championships, Connecticut was again able to dominate with Matt winning the frontcourt championships and Casio the backcourt. Both are former pro players and easily won the respective championships.

In “B” group Front and Back court championships, team Florida ruled! Brodie, a former 4 time national amateur champion won the frontcourt, while 21-year old Kyle, the son of Castanos, was the easy winner in the backcourt.

On Friday night, the Spectacular 9 Event was held with a 14 game performance. Players were mixed up, allowing for some great game action. Once again, Castanos was dominating in the early games like he did two years ago.

----- Father and son duo – Kyle and Castanos ----------------- Thomas in the backcourt ------------------------ Rebote attempt by Brodie
Scott King serving up a hard one -- Jai-alai legend Mendi with Al (world’s oldest jai-alai player)! -- Original Puryear Park player Greg (Echeva)joins PCast & Kyle


Click Play to watch a great point.

Scores

Friday night Spectacular 9 Event

Game 1 Singles 9 points

4 Castanos
6 Taylor
5 Isais
Tri paid $225.80

Game 2 Doubles 9 points
4 Castanos/Isias
3 Kyle/Laca
1 Frank II/Thomas
Tri paid $195.40

Game 3 Singles 9 points
5 Taylor
4 Castanos
1 Benny
Tri paid $580.90

Game 4 Doubles 9 points
5 Brodie/Laca
3 Castanos/Chip
2 Frank II/Isaias
Tri paid $175.10

Game 5 Singles 9 points
2 Castanos
7 Isaias
4 Thomas
Tri paid $220.00

Game 6 Doubles 9 points
2 Matt/Viscig
3 James/Kyle
6 Mark/Chip
Tri paid $345.40

Game 7 Singles 9 points
6 James
1 Thomas
4 Brodie
Tri paid $277.70

Game 8 Doubles 9 points
6 Scott K/Paul R
1 Brodie/Joe P
2 Carlo/Anton (John)
Tri paid $84.20

Game 9 Doubles 9 points
5 Scott K/Joe P
4 James/ Paul R
Matt/Thomas
Tri paid $188.80

Game 10 Singles 9 points
5 Mark
3 Mikey
7 James
Tri paid $245.30

Game 11 Doubles 9 points
3 Mark/Matt
4 Mason/Anton (Jon)
2 ScottK/Will
Tri paid $77.00

Game 12 Singles 9 points
7 Mason
2/6 Will – Anthony. No playoff for 2nd and 3rd for some reason.
Tri 7/2-6 paid $54.50

Game 13 Doubles 9 points
2 Mikey/Anton (Jon)
3 Mason/Matt
4 Scott K/Anthony
Tri paid $67.10

Game 14 Singles 9 points
5 Matt
6 Scott K
3 Mason
Tri paid $88.90
(Trifecta numbers are for amusement purposes only. No gambling has ever taken place at our jai-alai courts.)

Saturday Championship Games


A - Frontcourt Championship. Total points win.
Matt 34
Brodie 25 (subbed for Mason after 2 games)
Scott K 25
Anton (John) 21
A – Backcourt Championship. Total points win.
Casio 35
Will 25
Joe V 23
Anthony 22
B – Frontcourt Championship. Total points win.
Brodie 37
James 31
Barry 29
Carlo 20
James G 18
B – Backcourt Championship. Total points win.
Kyle 48
Chip 23
Doug 22
Phil 22
Thomas 20
C – Game 1
Echeva (Greg) / Dan 15
Castanos/Taylor 13
Dennis/Chip 11
Game 2
Denny/Taylor 15
Echeva/Chip 11
Castanos/Dan 10
Game 3
Dennis/Dan 15
Castanos/Chip 12
Echeva/Taylor 11

National Championship Florida vs. Connecticut vs. Rhode Island


25 points wins – teams alternate after losing point on each team
Connecticut 25
Mason/Casio
Gino/Will Gino hurt then subbed by Matt
Rhode Island 23
Anton (John)/Joe P.
One team only. Joe P subbed.
Florida 16
Scott K/Anthony
Brodie/Kyle

Jai-alai Heaven Action


Bloomfield, CT: Once again, the NJAA visited the Jai-alai Heaven, another jai-alai court just 30 minutes away form Matt’s for a 3 hour marathon performance. Played in a basement of a separate gymnasium that is part of a huge church, some great action was played. Special thanks to the gang of Dr. Evos, Bobby and Harold for opening up their court once again for a Thursday afternoon of great jai-alai. The great hospitably once again included some great pizza that us Florida guys can’t get down south.


NJAA Sending 8 players to Connecticut for
3rd Annual National Amateur Court Tournament


Berlin, CT:

The NJAA is sending 8 players to participate in the 3rd Annual National Amateur Court Championship this Thursday for 3 days of action packed jai-alai.
The participating players include:
Anthony
Brodie
Castanos
Chip
Kyle
Laca
Scott King
Thomas
Yep! Chip, the 8th Wonder of the World is playing. He sneaked in just a couple hours before Thursday 5pm deadline to register. He says he is driving up to spend a few days in NYC before heading to the great state of Connecticut. Chip bagged out two years ago while sponsoring Matt as many as you know.

The event will start at 2pm at Jai-alai Heaven Thursday, June 1st. After some delicious pizza with the Jai-alai Heaven gang, players will check into their hotels. Then it is off to Matt’s court for some Thursday night practice around 7pm.

On Friday, players will have much of the day on their own before Matt’s court opens up around 5pm Friday. Many players are heading to New Heaven for some great pizza. This year’s visit will be to Modern Pizza – a pizza legendary place many will tell you is the best in the world. The usual Spectacular 9 Event will be held and a variety of Rhode Island, Connecticut and Florida players participating.

On Saturday, an A, B and C group tournament will be held starting at 9:30am. The action usually last most of the day. The evening activity includes visits to the casinos in eastern Connecticut – the two largest casinos in the world..


Ft. Piece Jai-alai opens June 1st

Ft. Piece, FL: The NJAA will be losing two of its players for the month of June as the Ft. Pierce Jai-Alai fronton will be open for live action. Rocco and Belota will be comprising 1/5th of the 10 man roster that will feature 8 game performances with 6 players and all singles games. The season opens Thursday, June 1st, the same day the NJAA sends a team up to Connecticut for the 3rd annual national amateur championships.

The first throw of the season will be Belota - out of post 1 - serving to Rocco - in post 2. Belota will be playing under the name “Joseph”, in honor of his son. He had actually contemplated using the name “Joey” – and was actually given “permission” by the former great Joey himself to use that name, but decided in the end not to use that name.

The 10 man roster includes:
Joseph (Belota)
Rocco
Gorka (Woodill)
Kolt (Rastock)
Frank
Onaindia
Lugo (Gallo)
Leo
Toto
Erkiaga II

Oddly, Belota is not the only one changing his name with Rastock using the name “Kolt” and Woodill using the name “Gorka”.

All games are to 7 points, using the Spectacular 7 format where points double in the second round.
Matches are held on these days:
Sunday – 12 noon
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday 12 noon matinee and 6pm evening performances
Tuesday is closed.
Ft. Piece reportedly tried to open the season with no betting, no announcer, no scorekeeper but was denied by the State. From what I understand, players not in the game will rotate as the announcer and judges with one assigned sub for each game. The opening programs and all dates of performances are on their website.
It won’t be the same without Tom Contreras who ran the place last season.


Update on Florida City Jai-Alai


Florida City, FL: Here are the latest renderings and photos on Florida City Jai-Alai. We will be releasing more details soon on the opening of the 35 meter hard plastic court which reportedly will include a roster of players. The details below in an earlier story posted on this site are the only ones we can share at this point. We are still waiting on confirmation of the June 11th opening date, which would be the last day before they risk losing their summer jai-alai license. After one day of running live jai-alai, they can convert their bingo room (shown here in the tent) into a full poker to room the following day. In two years, slots can reportedly be brought in. A loophole in Florida law allows the lowest grossing pari-mutual operator in Miami/Dade and Broward counties to do this. Magic City/Dania Casino will be allowed to open one in downtown Miami now. As many as 10 of these may be opening over the years unless the legislature puts a holt to it, but they were unable to come to a gambling agreement in 2017 and another year will go by till all this is decided. But the Florida Supreme Court last Thursday vetoed anymore slot machine opening in the 7 counties that had voted to allow it – thus affecting Ft. Piece jai-alai and the Bonita Springs dog track from ever adding slot machines.


"MagicMike" hospitalized with 2 groin surgeries from Thursday 05/11 thru Tuesday 05/16. Return to play will be a while


Greetings from Tepic Mexico!


FLORIDA CITY JAI-ALAI FRONTON TO OPEN JUNE 11th!

April 1: Florida City, FL: It may be April Fool’s Day, but this is no April Fools joke. There will be a new jai-alai “fronton” opening June 10th . If anybody is interested in playing, the NJAA will reach out to the owners to see if they need any players on your behalf. The court length, however will be about the size of Matt’s in Connecticut. Already in June, two of our players, Rocco and Belota, will be playing at the Ft. Pierce fronton. Here are the details

Where is Florida City? Florida City is the southernmost city in Miami-Dade country, just south of Homestead and about a 50-minute drive from downtown Miami. It is where the Florida turnpike ends and US 1 meet before reaching the Florida Keys while heading south.

Who are the owners? John Brunetti who owns Hialeah Park, purchased the 28-acres of property for $6.7 million in late 2015 including an RV park seen above. Plans are to rebuild that RV park that takes up half the property with hotel, restaurants, an entertainment venue and stores.

Loophole in state law Florida’s 30-year old gambling law allows a summer permit to be award to the lowest -performing pari-mutuel in a county. In 2011, less money was wagered at Hialeah Park than any of Miami-Dade’s other pari-mutuels, which enabled Brunetti to obtain the summer jai-alai permit which could open he door to the expanded gambling – and yes – poker and slots machines. Hialeah today features quarter horse races with a poker room and over 800 slot machines. State regulators tried to stop this venture from materializing but were overruled by the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee about 2 years ago.

The Jai-alai court By now, your asking how in the world is this “fronton” going to be built and running live jai-alai games by June 11th ? - the deadline they are facing or risk suspension of the license. Actually its simple. A $200,000, 35-meter portable Plexiglas court, one of five now under construction will be set up. There are no laws on regulated court size or type of material, so something the size of Matt’s court is all they need. We understand one of the courts may be going to Cuba also. This court may be something amateur jai-alai players like us may want to look into if the Laca court and plans for the Puryear Park expansion fail to materialize. Details on those developments will be released soon. These new hard plastic courts can be delivered on a flatbed, and take 4 days to set up and 4 days to tear down. Florida City Jai-alai will take up 3 acres at first and 17,600 square feet are set for the jai-alai fronton. Also included are a 2,750 square foot bingo trailer, restroom trailers, and shower trailers. Portable food trucks will also be wheeled in. So the entire setup is basically on wheels! We have no details on the format, the ball being used, the betting setup or players at this time.

Future plans Once the first jai-alai game is played, the poker room can open. This would take place likely in the bingo trailer. The first jai-alai performance must be played by June 11 and 3 more by June 18th. Once two years of jai-alai have been played – or sooner depending on decoupling – they may be eligible for the lucrative slot machines, The doubling issue is being debated in Tallahassee with the Florida Senate and House presenting vast differences in how much gambling will take place in their bills. The Senate allows for full slot machine expansion and decoupling while the House keeps it status quo – with no decoupling. Expect some kind of a compromise to be reached this session ending May 5th, but then again it might be delayed again like it has for years now. Florida City also has those plans for hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues mentioned earlier on the property. The goal is to reach out to people going and leaving the Florida keys. The city has 12,000 residents and half of them live under the poverty line according to the U.S. Census. It is basically an agricultural city.


NJAA SETS UP TIME MAGAZINE WITH DANIA JAI-ALAI 03/30/17



Dania, FL: It took nearly 2 months to arrange, but the NJAA was instrumental in setting up Time magaizine head photographer Erik Tanner from NYC for a portrait series on Jai-alai players. The shoot, which has been going on for the past couple days is wrapping up today. The magazine, one of the top reconized in the world, may be featuring a story on jai-alai players. The NJAA was able to hook up Tanner, who normally does celebrity and politcal protraits for Time Magazine, to do one on jai-alai and we were able to hook him up with Benny. The photographer has taking phtotos of virtually every famous celebrity and political legends in the world and now adds jai-alai to it.


NJAA taking orders now on 2017 Amateur Court Championship Shirts


The NJAA is now taking orders for the new 2017 Amateur Court Championship Shirts. The all new look features the new 2017 logo on the front with the NJAA logo on the sleeve and a new look Sport-Tek shirt. The colorful shirt is lightweight and will be the official NJAA uniform shirt at Matt’s the first weekend in June. The wholesale price for ordering now is just $26 and will be available in sizes S, M, L, XL, XXL. For $28 you can order XXX-L and for $29 you can order XXXX-L. Note: these shirts are a bit “slimmer” than the other shirts of the previous two years, but still are to size listed. Order now via text, email or on the message board.


CT FL RI - 3rd Annual Amateur Court Championship June 2-3, 2017


The third annual CT FL RI Amateur Court Championship will take place the weekend of June 2-3 at Matt’s court in Berlin, Connecticut. The first two years have been such a success that two events may be planned this year, with another one tentative later in the year. The popular event draws the top amateur jai-alai players in the USA and include several former pro stars.

Once again, players will be invited to show up Thursday (June 1) and on Sunday (June 4th) in addition to the regular tournaments held on Friday and Saturdays (June 2-3). A trip to Mohegan Sun is planned for Saturday night, June 3rd. To register, please text Laca. Several of the NJAA’s top players have acknowledged they may play and this includes Scott King, Belota, Ricky, Julio, Anthony and Rocco. Organizers would like to see our “new” players like Daniel, Randy and Brodie make the trip. They would like to also see others like Eric M and Eric L show up. Eric M throws about as hard as anybody and could be a “freak of nature” out there, while the other Eric (the Vanderbilt football star) would put on a catching exhibition out there.

NJAA organizers urge players commit to playing and book their fares before they go up. Rates are very good right now and the weather in Hartford that time of year is perfect. Matt is lining up his top players and this is always a great event to play in or watch. Different tournaments are held various levels of play, so all are welcome. More details to come as they unfold.


Puryear Park Renaissance!

Among those playing Wednesday afternoon included: (Top) Randy, PCast, Chris, Thomas, Rocco, Loren, Belota, (Bottom) Corky, Daniel, Larry, Rule, Mike, ScottK (Photo by Laca) Missing from Photo op: Anthny, Ricky, Laca, Kulstr, EricL, EricM, Julio, Brodie, Chip, Javy, Egerbe, PaulH, Armndo, Gino, Levi, King, EricL, Luis, Crab, George, Matt, John and a few more. St. Petersburg, FL: What’s going on here? As we are about to enter our 10th season of playing on America’s first public jai-alai court, the quality and quantity of play is at its all-time peak. On a beautiful sunny and 72 degree Wednesday afternoon, 14 players were out there playing jai-alai while the rest of the park was deserted. By the time Chris “The Kid” showed up after 5pm he was shocked to see the size of the crowd. “Doesn’t anybody work here?!!!” he yelled out to the laugher of the crowd. For some reason, a record 20-plus players are currently qualified for the NJAA title. In baseball terms, this is like competing for the batting title where 502 at bats during the season are required. Never in our 10 year history have we had this many players qualify at this time of year. Yes, it is early in the season, and we can’t get that “all excited”. Adding to the buzz of the great action of Puryear Park, this past month is having jai-alai legends Randy and Daniel have become regulars. Randy played pro over an amazing four decade period that started in 1968. As one of the great ambassadors of the game, he was the first American jai-alai player. Nobody on the planet knows the game better than he does. Randy played at Tampa for many years and won the first game ever played in Connecticut – at Hartford Jai-alai. Triple crown winner Daniel was one of the greatest backcourt players of all time, playing mainly in Tampa and Miami. Even his own bobble head was made after him while playing in Miami. Today, they go for about $100 on ebay. Several other ex-pros have been playing on a regular basis including former star players Scott King and Ricky. Scott King won the NJAA championship award in 2016 and is one of our top players. He played in Tampa for 13 season during the golden era of jai-alai and against one of the strongest rosters in the world. Ricky is currently #1 in our NJAA winning percentage right after finishing 3rd last year behind Scott King and Julio. Home-grown star player Rocco is now back on the roster fulltime after playing in Ft. Pierce this past spring and having stints while playing at Orlando and Dania jai-alai. Flame throwing Belota, who played pro one season in Orlando, is also a regular at Puryear Park. Because he throws so hard, he has been frustrated with the court size and is anxiously awaiting the Laca court to finally gets built. Former pro players Kent and Loren have made appearances this month and John Silvia has been appearing on a regular basis and will be on the roster through April. He recently played pro jai-alai in Orlando and was also a player at Newport, RI jai-alai. Kent was a star player at Miami jai-alai while Loren has played in several countries and with his vast connections has made him the world’s # 1 “promoter” of amateur events for jai-alai. Turning to our local roster, “Mendoza Magic Mike”, the genius statistician for the NJAA, had his average drop below under .200 (the Mendoza line) last June and was about to be demoted to “C” league action on the racquetball courts right behind the front wall. But for some reason (was it the basket Chip gave him?), has turned it all around since then to become a player who can virtually return any throw out there and now averaging well over .300. Even Daniel nicknamed him “Michelena” one day. Other players from the Seminole Middle School days of the mid 1980s are showing up frequently. Egerbie, a legend in his own right, and named by Laca from a favorite Bridgeport Jai-alai player of his back in the late 70, has been commuting from Georgia to play recently while his buddy Javy has been showing up and proving that he is not “one and done Javy”. We can only hope all this continues through the year and long live jai-alai!



Tom Contreras Remembered


Michael Contreras speaking at his father’s “Celebration of Life” in Ocala Friday afternoon

An emotional crowd of nearly 150 attended the Celebration of Life ceremony of Tom Contreras Friday afternoon in Ocala, Florida. Family and friends gathered for the guy we will miss dearly. Dozens of former jai-alai players and management were in attendance. Those speaking included Mark Beiro and Marty Fleishman who told the crowd several amusing stories about Tom from their old jai-alai days. The final speaker was Mike Contreras, the son of Tom. Tom’s three young grandchildren, whom he deeply loved were also in attendance. Several childhood friends of nearly 60 years also spoke of what a great friend Tom was.

The ceremony started with a video of Tom that included about a hundred photos of him over the years. The event was held at the Country Club of Ocala, one of Tom’s favorite golf courses. We will miss you, Tom.


Happy New Year - 2017 Begins
See News/Pelota Press for Archives of Past Activities and Stats



RIP Tom Contreras 12/18/16




Click Here for Video Tribute

TAMPA JAI-ALAI INVADES PURYEAR PARK!


St. Petersburg, FL: Spectators at little old Puryear Park Jai-alai had to take a double-look Saturday morning with a flock of former Tampa jai-alai star players all of the court at once. Regulars Scott King and Ricky Hernandez were out there along with “Four Decade Pro” Randy and Triple Crown winner Daniel Love in some great action along with several amateur jai-alai players. Scott K and Ricky are already two of our top players on America’s first public court, but now will have a little competition from a couple of jai-alai’s greatest ambassadors – Randy and Daniel.

Randy, the first American player, began his pro career in 1968 and played an amazing 26 seasons. Daniel was one of the greatest backcourters in Tampa Jai-alai history before moving to Miami to play down there after the Tampa cancha sadly closed in 1998. Daniel, who graduated from Largo High School was able to return to Pinellas county 3 years ago and has played a couple times at Puryear Park. Daniel and his wife then celebrated the first anniversary of their marriage that evening at Bern’s Steak House with the great Devore (longtime Tampa Jai-alai bartender) as his server!

When the St. Pete courts announcement was made 9 years ago about the construction of the first public court to be built in the USA, Randy and Daniel were among the first to congratulate the NJAA along with Benny and Jai-a-Lou with the news. Randy intends to play on a regular basis and after a couple throws on the court, Daniel remarked that he hadn’t changed in over 20 years and was still a great thrower! Daniel intends on playing Saturday mornings on a regular basis from now on which is great news for jai-alai fans.


Main court light replaced and readjusted


St. Petersburg, FL: One of the main jai-alai court lights – the one nearest the front wall – has been replaced and reangled to provide better lighting on the court. During yesterday’s rare Tuesday afternoon performance, players were able to talk to the maintenance crew to have them adjust the light to it covered more of the main court. After considerable work done on the light fixture, it was adjusted more away from the 3 small handball/jai-alai courts and tiled more toward the main jai-alai court. Now, more lighting is clearly visible in the front of the court – without causing any glare to the players. A special thanks to the City of St. Petersburg for the support of America’s first public jai-alai court!


Florida/Connecticut/Rhode Island Tournament Results:

Berlin, CT: The second annual National Amateur Court Jai-alai championship was completed week ending Oct 22nd, with Team Connecticut beating Team Florida and Team Rhode Island. A surprise visit Saturday from Derek Smith, the first Puryear Park player to turn pro. Here are the scores:

Friday:
Game 1/ 9 points

1 Perry/Isias
4 Jacques/Thomas
3 Carlo/Laca
Trifecta 1-4-3 paid $345.10

Game 2/ 9 points

7 Carlo
5 Laca
3 Isias
Trifecta 7-5-3 paid $294.80

Game 3/ 9 points

6 Dino/Jacques
1 Leo/Yezik
3 Carlo/Thomas
Trifecta 6-1-3 paid $1,806.60

Game 4/ 9 points

5 Marcos/Thomas
1 Leo/Jacques
6 Carlo/Yezik
Trifecta 5-1-6 paid $940.00

Game 5/ 9 points

4 Yezik
8 James
5 Sean
Trifecta 4-8-5 paid $155.80

Game 6/ 9 points

2 Rocco/Brian
7 Matt/Belota
4 Mason/Julio
Trifecta 2-7-4 paid $244.20

Game 7/ 15 points Doubles Championship

15 Connecticut
7 Rhode Island
6 Florida

Game 8/ 15 points Doubles Championship

15 Connecticut
6 Florida
4 Rhode Island

Game 9/ 15 points Doubles Championship

15 Connecticut
3 Florida
3 Rhode Island

Game 10 / 10 points Doubles Championship

15 Connecticut
9 Florida
2 Rhode Island

Connecticut wins championship on points
Game 11 / 10 points

10 Connecticut
4 Florida

Game 12 / 10 points

10 Rhode Island
5 Florida

Saturday:
B league

1st Place Front and Back: Tony and Thomas

2nd Place Front and Back: Barry and Laca

A league

1st Place Front and Back Mikey and Jon
2nd Place Front and Back Mark and Anthony

Finals A league

1st place Front and Back Fred and Anthony
2nd place Front and Back Geno and Jon

On Thursday, Team Florida played for over two hours at Jai-alai Heaven for some great action with the Sako/Tedrick Ball.
Once again, we were treated to some great pizza. Thanks guys!
On Saturday night, the gang all headed to Foxwoods for some gambling action.





Connecticut Romps Florida and Rhode Island

Click Here for Tiger Chalk Talk Post about it

Click Here for CT streaming videos of performance


2nd Annual Amateur Court Championship October 21-22
Features Florida vs. Connecticut vs. Rhode Island

Berlin, CT: The second annual Amateur Court Jai-alai Championship Tournament
will be held next Friday and Saturday, October 21-22 at Matt’s Court in Connecticut.
The event will be a one-time only affair this year with no action to held in
St. Petersburg this year. Up to 9 amateur players from the Tampa Bay area are expected
to compete against a couple of excellent teams from Connecticut and Rhode Island. Those playing include:

Anthony
Belota
Cachin II 
Julio
Laca
Ricky 
Rocco
Thomas
Scott K

Seven of the nine players are definitely confirmed, with Cachin II and Ricky still listed as 
questionable. Cachin II has family health issues while Ricky has just come off the DL following 
knee surgery. Ricky will know next Monday if he can make the trip. If he does go, the trip will 
be expensive to say the least. 

Many of the players are staying at the Best Western Plus New England & Suites in Berlin, Connecticut 
and is about a 7 minute drive from Matt’s court.  The Schedule

Thursday

Most of the players are on the Southwest flight arriving in Hartford at 1:35pm Thursday afternoon, October 20th. 
The first stop will be at Jai-alai Heaven in Bloomfield for some more great Sako/Tedrick ball action.
The players are expected to arrive around 3pm and play for at least two hours. 
Last year, Rocco put on an exhibition that was mind-boggling. 

After some great Connecticut pizza and checking into their hotel, the players will head over to Matt’s 
court for some practice around 7pm, for a couple hours or so of action -to get familiar again with the court.

Friday 

The players will have several hours to rest up and another trip to New Haven for some more great New 
Haven Pizza may be in store again.  At 4pm, players will arrive at Matt’s court for some practice.
At 6:30pm sharp, the Tournament # 1 will begin. This will also be the Spectacular 9 Event and 7 regular 
games will open the event. Then the CT-FL-RI tournament will take place. The action is expected to 
last till 11pm Friday night and many top stars from CT and RI will be playing against some of FL finest. 
It should be a lot of fun.

Saturday

The court will open at 9am with action beginning with B and C league players at 10:00am. 
Around 12:30pm or so, the A league players will take over and to last a few more hours. 
This will be Tournament # 2.

Sunday

The court will open again for early birds for open play. For those staying till Monday, 
you can watch the Scott King vs. Mendi match scheduled for around 1pm. 

Shirt orders

For the dozens that ordered shirts, they will be available this Thursday for pick up and 
will be also available at the Saturday 11am matinee at Puryear Park and Sunday night 
performance at 5pm. There was a delay on the order as the wrong color was shipped and wrong sizes.

Cesta orders

For those that ordered baskets with Scott King, the news is not good right now. The Mexican 
basket maker is avoiding us and has had our money since June. Not good news, but hopefully we will get them soon. 

Some Results from Tournament

CLICK HERE FOR FACEBOOK PAGE OF NORTH AMERICAN JAIALAI (BAJAJAIALAI) with Tournament Pics ETC.



Greetings from San Francisco!



JAIALAI PARTIDO PONG V1.1
Another Magicmike Program
NOW AVAILABLE (Updated 02/05/12)
Also available on CNet's download.com

Click Here to download from CNET



Web Design by: Michael "Magicmike" Berry
Owned/Operated by NJAA Co-Director Jeff "Laca" Conway

St. Pete Jai-Alai Court
Dedication a huge Success


(click picture to view video)

America’s first public jai-alai court opened in St. Petersburg April 19, 2008 with a big court dedication ceremony and a ‘Merry Festival’ like atmosphere.
Click any link below.

Story and photographs of the event
WSPF-TV broadcast of Court Dedication
FOX-13 live broadcast “Charlie’s World”
(long version)

FOX-13 live broadcast “Charlie’s World”
(short version)

CBS-10 6pm and 11pm newscast reports
St. Pete Times article (printed version)
St. Pete Times article (on-line version)
Official City of St. Pete invitation
NJAA Court Dedication Flyer
NJAA 5-page Press Release
20-page Presentation booklet
“Home video” of court dedication

Video of court ACTION!


(click picture to view video)

After years of hard work and determination, the NJAA is proud of it's first accomplishment - the City of St. Petersburg is the first municipality in the United States to build an amateur jai-alai court for public play! Plan on joining us for our "Merry Festival"





City of St. Pete City Council Meetings and Events

St. Pete City Council Meeting on
December 6th, 2007 on Jai-Alai

St. Pete Jai-alai court


Perfect game! St. Pete City Council on
December 20, 2007
approves additional jai-alai funds by 7-0 vote!

St. Pete Jai-alai court


The Innovation and Persistence Award is given to Paul Kubala of the Edgemoor Neighborhood Association and the NJAA
Innovation and Persistence Award