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NJAA in Connecticut Amateur Tourney Results/Videos

Julio Inks Miami Jai-alai Contract

Miami, FL: October 18, 2019: Puryear Park alum Julio (aka The King, Restina, Arresti ) thought he was coming back to live in Pinellas county and go back to work for JLaca, when he got a surprise call from the new player manager Mendi. He was offered another contract to play at Miami jai-alai for its two month season coming up in December.

He will join a roster that may include Gallo, Frank, Rastock, Flores, Ed Nino, Momo, Ghost (Anton), Manual (Saved by….), Toto, Manex, Diego, Aritz, Cisneros, Ricky, Jabi, Duke, Angel, Enrique, The Ace, and Garita. Hopes of Goiko and Lopez and other former Miami superstars joining the roster have fallen through, from what we have learned. Rumors continue for float around that Magic City stud Douglas will join the roster, but that is unlikely because he is on a yearly contract.

We won’t release the details of the pay structure, but players will be making a decent weekly salary with “ITM” bonuses slightly lower than what was being paid at Calder and Magic City. Overall the roster looks pretty good overall. The fronton is getting a makeover, but mainly for the shows expected to come in after the jai-alai season. The NJAA tried to sneak in there a month ago to check it out, but was quickly told to leave per security.

Cancun Amateur Court Nearing Completion

Cancun: October 18, 2019: The Cancun Amateur Court is nearing completion. Here is live video taken this morning taken by the Salas brothers (purveyors of the Senor Frog/Fat Tuesdays chain) who are part of a group building a longtime dream of theirs. The court has been delayed often this summer by nasty weather. But is now full steam ahead. In the video’s, the flooring is getting poured.

We will keep you posted as the court will be finishing up soon and then hold international tournaments.

MagicMike & Rule join small roster from
Florida heading to Connecticut


St. Petersburg, FL: The 2019 Connecticut vs. Florida National Jai-alai Amateur Court Championships Part 2 is once again being held at Matt’s Court in Berlin, Connecticut. As of now, Matt is still undecided on the tournament he will use and is waiting on the final rosters from Florida and Connecticut before making the call. Until a couple days ago, the lineup from Florida was much lighter than anticipated when the event was set over four months ago with only five confirmed to go. But two regulars of Puryear Park – MagicMike and Rule – have signed up and intend on playing up in the Matt Palace for the first time.

MagicMike has been the official scorekeeper and stat man for the NJAA for nearly a decade while Rule has been dominating the stats lately with an .800 plus average - but with a huge asterisk - for reasons we don’t want to get into. It will be interesting to see how the two fair out there on the bigger court. Both are among our best catchers on the Puryear Park cancha.

Currently the lineup is:

All visiting players from the Sunshine State will get the usual $50 package special that is an excellent deal.

Thursday, October 10
5pm Open practice for Florida players

Friday, October 11
3pm Open practice
6:30pm Spectacular 9 performance.

Saturday, October 12
9:30am B/C player tournament TBA
12 noon A player tournament TBA Quinella style as well as mix players. Also a Partido or two.

Sunday, October 13
9am Open for play

Cancun amateur court nearing completion

Cancun, Mexico: The Salas Brothers operate dozens of Senor Frogs and Fat Tuesday’s around the world (and other restaurants too) and are now adding their own jai-alai court. As we reported many months ago, the jai-alai fanatics decided to build their own court and as you can see here, it is almost complete. The front wall is complete, the side and back walls will be completed early next week. Even more importantly, the bar that will be attached to the court will be ready by the end of the week.

The court has the official measurements from the "Federacion Intrenacional de Pelota Vasca"

30 meters long (98.5 feet)
10 meters wide (33.7 feet)
4 meters contracancha (13 feet)
10 meters high (33.7 feet)

Click either Court Picture For Brochure

The NJAA plans of being there for the grand opening, and perhaps we can get a few others to join us.
We will keep you posted on the details as the court is getting finished up.

Laca Court Passes Final Obstacle

Clearwater, FL: July 25, 2019: After a long 4-year venture to get his private jai-alai court built, J Laca and his real estate attorney (and former St. Pete mayor) Bill Foster were able to get an unanimous 7-0 vote from the Pinellas County Commissioners to get a vacate right-of-way issue cleared off the survey that was holding up the project. It was the second vacate issue that had to be cleared from the 4 acre property in 3 years. The next step to getting final approval of the court involves an updated survey to be drawn by the surveyor and submitted along with updated plans of the jai-alai court from Anthony Sutton. The only obstacle would be any changes to building codes since the court was approved nearly 3 years ago by the county.

This second vacate issue had to deal with a “Beach Parkway” was had been on the books since July 5, 1910. They never built “highway” was supposedly built nearly 110 years ago (!!!) and ran through several properties in what is now Seminole, Florida. This was actually called Hillsborough Country back in the day. How all the properties were developed with this issue on the books decades ago is a mystery and just delayed the jai-alai approval two more years. Considerable costly legal matters were incurred to get the vacate issue solved and how the title companies never caught this over the years is even a bigger mystery. A settlement was reached with the title company 3 years ago. Eight public utilities had to sign off in the process that takes nearly a year to complete.

The vacate issue was approved by a 7-0 vote by the county commissioners without discussion. Bill Foster only had to make a brief mention that he was in favor and the matter was solved. The “Beach Parkway” supposedly ran right through the front yard – exactly where the jai-alai is designed. So the next step is the get the survey updated and then submitted to the county with updated plans (since it has been 3 years since the permit was done and will have to be reissued) by Anthony and Point West Engineering. At that point we can just keep our fingers crossed and wait for the final OK.

Laca Museum’s Grand Reopening Opens with a Blast

The J Laca Museum reopened its doors after a major three-month remodeling makeover with a private party last Saturday night. The major remodeling was done on the southern half-side of the 1,800 square foot museum that contains the jai-alai memorabilia. Several NJAA players attended the event including Julio, Anthony, Armando, Thomas, Leo, Magic-Mike, Derek, and our old friend Luis. In addition to showcasing the new exhibits, professional jai-alai player and Hard Rock dealer Rocco ran the blackjack table that was rocking nonstop with 7 players a hand for several hours. In another room, an 80” TV was playing Magic City Jai-alai- complete with live Watch and Wager Wagering and taking bets from a jam-packed room. The handle was nearly $1,000 on the 5 games that was wagered on and a few walked out with some extra cash on the night.

On the museum side, four new walls were added while the poker table and bar was relocated into the main entrance room which features baseball, hockey, boxing and football memorabilia. The three rooms on the west wing feature high end items like signed baseballs by Bath Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, Michael Jordan and many more. Also featured in the rooms include Cy Young’s baseball cap from 1900 signed by the legend himself, original seats from Yankee Stadium’s 1 and 2, and original seats from Fenway Park signed seat number 9 by Ted Williams.

The website link of the Laca Museum will be updated soon with all new images.

Kubala & Bueno off to blazing starts at Magic City Jai-alai

Miami, FL: July 9, 2019: Baby Castanos and Baby Benny are red hot! The sons of the NJAA godfather and the Dania player’s manager made their professional jai-alai debuts at Magic City Casino on July 5th and had a very impressive opening day and first week. With both fathers looking on, Chris Bueno opened up Magic City’s sophomore season with three quick wins in singles action. Kyle Kubala then made his debut in the lone doubles game 4. Neither player finished in the money in that doubles game. After the “shaky” start, Kyle came in second place in game 5 (his first singles match), and then winning games 6 and 8 to finish off a great afternoon.

With 2 performances Wednesday through Saturday (3pm and 7pm) and one on Sunday (1pm), Kyle and Chris are among the leaders in many categories. Jeden is the leader in total wins with 13. Kyle and Legend are tied with 10 wins, followed by Chris with 8 wins. Chris is the top In-the-Money player with a .615 record. Jeden is second with .590, Legend 3rd with .568 with Kyle coming in 4th at .545 %.

Magic City Jai-alai Set to Open 2nd Season

Miami, FL: July 3,2019: Magic City Jai-alai will be opening its second season Wednesday with an improved roster and marketed with a new full-length movie produced by a major director. Our own Kyle Kubala, son the Puryear Park Jai-alai’s Grand Marshal Paul “Castanos” Kubala will be making his debut in game 4. Love it or hate it, Magic City is easily the best marketed jai-alai operations in the United States today. The fast-paced, 8 game performances will likely have decent handles again to start off the season as Dania is closed for the next 2 ½ months. Another rookie will be the son of Benny Bueno – Chris – who will play under his last name like Kyle will. Both Paul and Benny will be in attendance Wednesday to watch their kids make their pro-debuts.

The players have greatly improved from the eyesore we all saw to start the inaugural season last summer. Today, rebotes and serves will not be an big issue like we saw in 2018. The returning players all have a full season under their belts, with some playing in over 900 games. Players have been practicing several hours a week in the off-season. Two players not returning include Nate The Great and Baller. The best rookie (other than Kyle) will likely be Douglas. Born in the shadows of Yale and the home of Apizza, Matt Langhans has talent. His father played under the “Douglas” name as a pro in the 80s and 90s in Milford, Daytona and Melbourne. As reported last week, he did suffer an injury and will miss the month of July. Also on the IL is Vuelo and Arra’s son Asier.

The pay for the players is significant. They have been receiving a nice salary year round, and will collect decent win place and show money ($125, $50, $25). Other bonuses include a “Singles Championship” and “Doubles Seasons” tournament. There is a 20 man roster, 15 returnees and 5 new players.

The new movie was directed by Billy Corbin (Cocaine Cowboys) and won Best Documentary at the Miami Film Festival earlier this year. There is a 2 ½ minute trailer available to watch (go to Magic City Casino site) and looks pretty good. The full length movie is available for $5.00 streamed.

Of course the NJAA will be in attendance for Opening Day with full coverage to come. A plaque on the opening of Calder was just completed and one will be made for Kyle’s debut and available for view at a grand reopening event at the J Laca Museum coming soon.

Here are the full details on Magic City, Season 2:

Season running dates and times:

July 3 through November 30th.

Performances 3pm and 7pm Wednesday through Saturdays and Sundays at 1pm

Where can I watch and bet?

You can watch it on their website stream (oh, what a lovely concept!) , on YouTube, and on (subscription required).

You can bet on it in person, on Watch and Wager, Connecticut OTB and at most para-mutuels like Derby Lane or the horse track.

Calder Jai-alai “Historic” Grand Opening

Miami Gardens, FL: May 22, 2019: Calder Jai-alai held their Grand Opening festivities in front of a packed house of nearly 500 spectators and featured the first female professional jai-alai player. The historic event also featured the pro debut of NJAA star player “Brodie” playing under the name “Barracuda”. Julio also was on the roster playing under the name “The King” while Belota is playing under the name “El Bestia”. Anton is also on the roster playing under the name of “Ghost”. Our good friend “Connecticut” Monty was a referee.

There are 36 players on the roster and all put on a great show in front of an enthusiastic and boisterous SRO crowd. But the big story was the appearance of the first female player – Becky “La Primera” Smith, who played quite well in her debut appearance. She later got her first win over the Memorial Day weekend.

The first performance was a long one – nearly 4 hours due to long lines as many people were trying to get accustomed to the betting machines that came with no live tellers. Of course, the crowds were much smaller in later performances, with about 35 on hand the next performance on Thursday afternoon. The betting pools are likely going to be small unless Watch and Wager is added. The NJAA’s Brian “The Boatman” contacted W & W and were told they were waiting on Calder to get back with them on moving forward with the online betting site. There appears to be simulcasting wagering now available which will help the betting pools a little.

The 111-foot long court (according to Miami High Times) is painted a bright red and looked really good. We have been unable to obtain the actual dimensions, but most jai-alai experts think it could have been a little longer and a bit higher. The area up to the 7 line (the overserve line) appears to be half the amount apart as the 7-14 lines are. The serving area does appear to be a small area, causing a lot of under and overserves a la Magic City. We expect the players to adjust, but this may be taking away any advantage one may have by serving. The only other drawback is the seating. There are about 240 seats in the building but no incline seating. Just 4 rows of nice padded seats, but all at court level. So it was difficult to see the court if not in the front row. The best seating is beyond the 4 rows, where there are several high-top tables for four.

After the weekend, the statistics were released and our own Julio stands in 3rd place with wins – snagging 12 already. The leader is “The Warrior” with 18. He played on the Miami roster with Julio and his real name is Manual Ramirez – the same Manual that was announced by Gorka while announcing for Miami Jai-alai in his epic battle against Aritz in a singles game. “Saved by Manual” was the repeated call which seemed to go on forever.

Opening Day was a blast – the event started at 4pm with a ribbon cutting ceremony. There were drawings for several prizes (Magic City’s El Barba won the ball giveaway!) and then free cupcakes for all in attendance. Several players then signed autographs, including Becky, Julio and Belota. There was an exhibition match to 10 points between two teams and then at 6pm the first game was played. Several people were in attendance including Benny and many on the Magic City roster including Kyle. There is nothing better than having a packed house all screaming for their team to win (or in this case - a friend or family member). Just wish jai-alai could go back to those days. The crowd makes it.

Coming next – Pompano Jai-alai, as another horse track is eyeing the conversion to jai-alai.

Calder Jai-alai Opening Day Wednesday May 22nd 4pm

Miami Gardens, FL: May 20, 2019: Its finally here! Calder Jai-alai will be hosting its grand opening this Wednesday, May 22nd with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4pm. The new court will be about the size of Matt’s in Connecticut and features many well-known top notch amateurs and a few ex-pros. It will also feature a first – female jai-alai players! Becky “La Primera” Smith and Deborah “Riptide” Mitchell are on the roster and this should cause quite a bit of excitement. Word is, only one of the girls will be there to start and it will be interesting to see how Becky competes against some pretty established players.

The event will mark the pro debut of our own Brodie – Rob Brodersen who will be playing under the name “Barracuda”. Also on the roster is our good friend and two-time NJAA Champion Julio Restina, who has played at the Miami and Ft. Piece frontons the past couple of seasons. His player name now will be “The King” – not to be confused with Scott King. Also on the roster is NJAA player “Belota” - John Morin, who will play under the name “El Bestia”.

The uniforms, faja and helmet are all pretty cool looking and we like the red court and the new logo for Calder Jai-alai.

The entire idea of this new jai-alai court came as the owners of Calder Casino (Churchill Downs) used a loophole in the law to convert their pari-mutual license from horse racing to jai-alai. The horse racing had been leased to the Stronach Group and were recently operating at Gulfstream. Lawsuits have been filed but there really isn’t much of a case for the horse racing people or authorities to prevent this.

The NJAA will be there Wednesday for the 4pm ribbon cutting and will be taking lots of pictures and will be posting a story on the event by the end of the week. A huge plaque of the event will be made and placed in the J Laca Museum which is undergoing a major renovation. Included in the plaque will be the program, uncashed betting tickets on Brodie’s debut and more. The first performance will begin at 6pm that evening. Then on Thursday, the 3 a day performances will be starting – beginning at 12 noon, then 3pm and again 6pm. It will be interesting to see how the players hold up with such a rigorous schedule.

Next National Amateur Tournament October 11-13

Berlin, CT: May 16, 2019: The next National Amateur Jai-alai Championship will be held October 11-13 – a potentially huge 3-day tournament that could spur a record turnout. This would be the second event of the season, but there was no formal tournament format on the recently completed event.

The NJAA is expecting its biggest turnout over and officials will be pushing to reach as many as twenty (20) players making the trip. Newcomers will likely include Eric M and Rule, players that will certainly be most interesting to watch play on a much bigger court. Several other NJAA players have expressed interest on making their first trip up there, while a few pro players from the new Calder fronton are also likely to play. Loren Harris may be bringing a group from California while the Salas’s brother may be bringing a group from Mexico over.

Details on the format are being worked out by Matt now and should be released by the end of the month. Hopefully we will have nicer weather than the past trip, where it was cold and rainy all the time. The weather in mid-October is usually perfect in Connecticut.

National Amateur Jai-alai Tournament in Connecticut Details

Berlin, Connecticut: May 4, 2019: Another big event at Matt’s Court concluded. Here are the Friday night Spec 9 Results and the Saturday results:

Friday night Spec 9 Results

Game 1
1 Echeva/Chip
3 Perry/Jacques
2 Benny/Laca

Game 2
5 Barry
4 Perry
1 Bochar

Game 3

Game 4
7 Laca
8 Bochar
4 Barry

Game 5
7 Jon/Dave K
6 Ricky/Thomas
1 Barry/Will

Game 6

4 Dave K
2 Cachin
6 Johnny-No-No

Game 7
4 Scott K/Thomas
3 Johnny No-No
6 Matt/John B

Game 8
4 Scott K/Carlo
1 Mason/Thomas
5 Ricky/Rocco

Game 9
2 Ricky
7 Johnny No-No
4  Paul R

Game 10
2 Scott K/Rocco
5 Mason/Corky
3 Anthony/Jesus

Game 11
6 Jon
2 Paul R
5 Matt

Game 12
7 Jimmy/John B
3 Mason/Dave K
2 Scott K/Jon

Game 13
6 Mason/Jon
4 Anthony I/Jesus
3 Jimmy/Anthony II

Game 14
1 Joe P
7 Gino
3 Mason

Saturday Results

Jimmy 14
Mace 16
Terrence 11
Joe 11
Jon 17

Doyle  8
Dave K 24
Thomas 3
Anthony II 15
Cachin 19

Final Partido
Jon/Dave K 15
Mace/Cachin 8

Scratches -  Rocco, Scott K

Note:  Anthony “II” was the NJAA one.  And don’t ask Rocco about  Anthony “I”.

Plans are gearing up for possible huge 3-day tournament in October.  Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.   Stay tuned!

9 Florida Players heading to Connecticut
and it’s Matt’s 9th Anniversary!

Berlin, Connecticut: The 5th annual National Amateur Jai-alai Championships will be taking place this weekend in Berlin Connecticut at Matt DiDomizio’s court. It’s the 9th anniversary of the court many felt would never last this long, but it’s still going strong. This will be the 6th time the event has happened, as one year we held two events up in the Constitution State (and plans are for a second one this year again in October). Team Florida will be sending up 9 players with former pro Ricky Hernandez making his debut in the tournament. Cachin and David II will be making their debuts in the tournament also after they were unable to attend last year at the last minute.

Here are the 9 players making the trip from the Sunshine State:

David II
Scott K

Here is the schedule, which is pretty much like the other years….

Thursday, May 2nd
5:05pm - Open court for Florida players to practice. This is the best time to get practice in and get acquainted to the court with a relaxed atmosphere. Carlo will open up the place around 5pm or so and keep it open for as long as the guys want to play (within reason).

Friday, May 3rd
1:30pm-6pm. Open court at that time for tournament players to practice. Another great time to play after lunch hour and before the Spec 9 Performance players warm up.
6:30pm - Spec 9 Performance to celebrate Matt’s 9th anniversary of the court opening. There is a big crowd expected with lots of players participating. We are looking at around 13-14 games on the schedule to 9 points.

Saturday, May 4th
9:30am-5pm (approx.) Various games of Florida, Rhode Island, and Connecticut players in action. The B and C group players come on at 9am to practice with the A group coming on at around 12 noon.

Sunday, May 5th
9:30am (approx.)- ? Open court for players. Getaway morning action is a favorite time for many players. The Mendi brothers use to play at this time in the past.

For one flat fee of $50 for tournament players, you can’t beat this. Food may be available on Saturday also. Former original Puryear Park player Greg (Echeva) will be there from Vermont, and several Rhode Island players including Anton and Jesus will be there.

We will begin looking into an October event as many players who could not make this trip have expressed interest. The NJAA has been pushing to get others out there (it seems to always be the same group!) and players like Eric L and Rule likely to come. It will be interesting to see how those two play on the bigger court. Matt is real happy to make it to 9 years as many doubters said he would never make it this far. He’s making court improvements, with a new front wall padding in place (as of 3 days ago) that everybody likes. More improvements may be coming and he is looking at extending his lease another 5 years at the end of the year. Matt is now the longest tendered leaser at the entire complex and has a great relationship with the owners, which is great news. We wish him the best of luck to keep it going. Jai-alai needs more places like this and we need some new, younger faces to keep the great sport alive.

Cancun drawings for Amateur Jai-alai Court

Cancun, Mexico: Here are the latest drawings for a new amateur court about to get built in Cancun, Mexico by our good friends - The Salas Brothers. The Senor Frog and Fat Tuesday (among others) entrepreneurs are big jai-alai fans and after their attempt to rebuild the city owned frontenis courts into jai-alai courts failed (see story of three original plans posted last year), they are going there own route. Building a state-of-the-art amateur court they feel will be tournament-worthy! Can’t wait for this to happen and the one in Seminole.

Julio, Brodie, Belota ready to open Calder Jai-alai May 22nd

Miami Springs, FL: April 2, 2019: Calder Jai-alai will have its ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday, May 22nd @ 4pm with the games starting at 6pm that evening. Another version of a Grand Opening is planned for that following Saturday evening. The May 22nd date is now one day earlier than posted here in the past. Construction continues to roll along and the players will be able to enter the building the first week of May to practice when the occupancy permits are issued. Right now, the building is off limits to all

NJAA star players Julio Restina, Brodie, and Belota have all made the roster. Players will all have nicknames we understand and may not using their real names. Julio’s name will actually “borrow” part of Scott King’s name!

Calder jai-alai will release full details on everything – including the roster, dates of action, a website with full details one month prior to the opening – April 22.

Here is what we do know:

Performances will be 5 days a week with it dark on Monday and Tuesday.

The brutal schedule includes three performances daily – at 12 noon, 3pm and 6pm.

As soon as we learn more, we will post it.

Place your order now for Tournament Shirts!

Clearwater, FL: April 1, 2019: For the first time ever, we are offering both Men’s and Woman’s shirts for the upcoming tournament coming up at Matt’s in early May! Place your order now and avoid being shut out. Shirts are only $27 each and that includes two embroidered logos on high quality Heather Contender Polos made by Sport-Tek.

These new shirts are light weight – 3.8 ounce, 100% polyester jerseys with interlock collar, placket and cuffs. Self-fabric collar, taped neck, dyed to match buttons, contrast color blocking of True Royal Blue at collar, placket and cuffs. Set-in, open hem sleeves. The Men’s shirt has 3-botton placket and the Womans’ has 2-button open placket. Both are available in XS-4XL. Slight extra charge will apply for over XL sized shirts.

Place your order now – the deadline to order is Monday, April 8th at 9am when the order will be placed at Creative Monogramming in Clearwater.
The tournament package includes jai-alai action from May 2-5th at Matt’s Place in Berlin, Connecticut. Several NJAA players have confirmed including ScottK, Ricky, Anthony, Chip, Rocco, Corky, Thomas and JLaca.

Connecticut vs. Florida Championship May 3-4, 2019

Berlin, CT: March 25, 2019: Its time for a return to Connecticut and the next tournament! We are going back to the two tournaments this year and the next event is scheduled for May 3-4, 2019 at Matt’s Court in Connecticut. At the urging of Ricky Hernandez, we have added this event to the one that normally falls in the late fall.

This one (recommended by Anthony) will be called the Connecticut vs. Florida Amateur Championships. Several top NJAA players have already committed including Rocco, Anthony and Ricky who will be making his debut in a tournament up there.

The price remains a bargain - $50 for unlimited play on Thursday evening, May 2nd, open hours on Friday afternoon, the Spec 9 Performance on Friday nights and the all day Saturday championship performance. Then again on Sunday morning, the court is open again for open play. You can register on the message board or texting J Laca if you want to play.

Meet the new Magic Man # 25!

Miami, FL: March 22, 2019: Meet the new Magic Man! Kyle Kubala, the son on NJAA co-founder Paul “Castanos” Kubala, is gearing up for the July 3rd opener of Magic City’s second season of jai-alai action. Be sure to go the Magic City website for full details on all the players. The website is excellent with bios on all the players and is full of videos on the players.

Kyle, also an accomplished pianist (as noted above playing piano – on his 18th birthday - in front on Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs at a JLaca party) has been playing jai-alai since a kid.

NJAA Court Netting renovations completed

St. Petersburg, FL: March 20, 2019: The netting portions of the court renovations have been completed and the court is now open again to the public. As you can see, the extensive netting project was fully replaced the old netting - wall to wall, on the court. America’s first public jai-alai court is now open again to the public.

Further renovations are coming, including the resurfacing of the court and wall work. The outdoor lighting system has already been upgraded to LED lights along with repositioning of the lights to better illuminate the court.

Laca Museum Undergoing Major Renovations

Seminole, FL: March 17, 2019: The Laca Museum is undergoing some major renovations in order to increase more space for items without any more expanding the square footage, which has already maxed out. The museum which combines jai-alai artifacts and other major sports incorporating 9 of the 12 parking spaces of a 3,606 square foot garage. All of the renovations involve the jai-alai section of the museum as the 6 seat poker table and bar have been moved into the main entrance area with three walls added in its place. This will allow a better design for a great viewing experience and will feature individual sections on the history of jai-alai with in-the-wall displays of the making of a pelota and a cesta.

The museum is expected to ready by April 6th for a small, private grand reopening celebration.

Calder Tryout Completed

Click Here for Video from tryouts by Jesus ---- Here is 2nd Video from Tryouts

Miami Springs, FL: The tryouts are all over and now it’s time for the selections to be made on who will get a coveted spot on the new Calder Jai-alai roster.

Here’s what we know:

A total of 90 players tried out over the two-day weekend period at N Miami Amateur Jai-alai. Many of the players showed up at Dania Jai-alai over the weekend after the tryouts and the place was nearly packed both nights.

Five people from Calder management were there to observe the players for the tryouts. Players had to jog the court a couple times, do sit ups and pushups and then play in simulated games with other players for about 15 minutes. The tryout ran smoothly considered the number of people trying out.

Faces in the tryout from the NJAA roster:

Scott King
Rick B

From Connecticut some of the players included:

Joe C

Even our old friend Navarro tried out.

Faces in the crowd included Castanos, Kullster, Sea Cow, and Al Q.

The thought process for the roster is going on now with the decisions possibly done by Wednesday. The announcement likely won’t come till Monday on who actually gets in.

Here’s the latest on Calder Jai-alai

Miami Gardens, FL:The walls are going up as the construction of Calder Jai-alai is rolling along. America’s latest jai-alai court will be very similar to Matt’s court but a tad longer. You can “pencil” this opening date on your calendar – Thursday, May 23, 2019. We say “pencil”, because that may change, but that is the opening date they are targeting for. Calder also hopes to have the playing court complete by late April, so the players can get about a month in of practicing. At that point, they may experiment with different balls to see what will be the ideal one for the court.

The roster will have about 30 players, with some coming over from Miami Jai-alai. This leaves plenty of job openings to play on the roster and can explain why several people have been showing up at America’s three amateur courts to practice. The tryouts will be February 9-10th at N. Miami amateur court. There is still much up in the air at this time, but we understand more news will come out next weekend.

“Baby Castanos” takes on “Baby Benny”!

Miami, FL: This is something you need to check out! “Baby Castanos” aka Kyle taking on “Baby Benny” – Benny’s son, who is going to be known as Bueno #22 in a practice session at Magic City a few days ago. Yes, both players on the roster and by watching this, the quality of play will be a huge improvement.


January 16, 2019: St Petersburg: Mark K has put his massive jai-alai collection up for sale and is even listed on eBay right now for a walloping $94,999.99. The shocking news caught many in the jai-alai world by surprise. He has in the past few months wanted J Laca to purchase it, but that sum of money is reserved for a private jai-alai court – expected to gain approval by the spring. J Laca has expressed interest in select number 1 programs and various artifacts but Mark K would like to keep the collection intact. If he is unable to sell the collection near the amount he is asking, it will be boxed up and placed in storage as he is moving out of his Five Towns condos in the near future and won’t have the room to display it. The amount he is asking is basically what he has into the world’s largest collection. (Click our link 'Mark K Collection' at top of page to see more).

Here is the wording from eBay (click to enlarge):

Calder Jai-alai set to open in May

Miami Springs, FL: December 28, 2018: Calder Casino has taken advantage of a loophole in the laws, and is changing its horse racing license to jai-alai, similar to what Magic City did with its dog racing license. While it won’t be the standard 175 foot long court with granite walls in the front, it will be jai-alai similar to what you see at Matt’s court. Except this time you can bet on it. Here are the details that we know of:

Brief History of Calder
In the mid-1960s, real estate developer Steven Calder envisioned summertime horse racing in Florida and got the state to approve it. The track opened May 6, 1971. In 1999, Churchill Downs (yes the Kentucky Derby people) bought it for $86 million. In 2010, a casino was added per the law change in Broward and Dade counties for pari-mutuals to add slot machines. In 2014 they made an agreement with Gulfstream to drop its own horse racing enterprise and host 40 days of Gulfstream racing. This turned out to be a disaster as the casino lost its card room license when the state ruled that Calder needed 80 days of live-action pari-mutual activity on its property of offer poker. Calder then applied for a jai-alai permit, and despite strong opposition from the horse racing world, it got approved and was held up in the courts. The move will save Churchill Downs a ton of money, who would probably be happy just running a racing card in Kentucky that first weekend in May. Calder keep to keep the lucrative slots, poker and simulcasting while running a jai-alai operation. From what we are learning, Calder is not going to open up a little tent and have a couple guys throw the ball around. While there won’t be a $2 million court and a 5,000 seat fronton, it will be the next best thing possible.

The Fronton
A 18,291 square foot building is now going up. Renderings of the outside is shown above here. The complex will cover 2 ½ acres and is adjacent to the existing Calder Casino and Administrative office. The place will be beautiful and will be marketed (what I nice concept) that jai-alai is open. There will be 200 seats in the fronton.

The Court

The court will be 110 feet long with 30+ foot high walls. The court will be made out of concrete and will be comparable to North Miami or Matt’s court as far as the surface of the walls and floor go. We do not know the ball they will be using yet. They are not communicating with Matt in Connecticut either.


High definition cameras will display the action with slow motion shot replays and more. It will be live to bet on with Watch and Wager. This is great news to hear and wish Dania and Miami would follow suit.

Season Dates

Of course, a delay in construction may change this (it never rains in South Florida, does it?) but Calder Jai-alai is expected to run their season May and June, be closed in July, then open again in August and run through September and October. This is a change from what we had heard before.

The Roster

The roster will have about 30 players. The pay will be good, with decent win, place and show money. While not finalized, there is a chance some of the current Miami Jai-alai players will go there. Steev will be the players manager. That means there are several openings to fill. There are a few NJAA players that fit the mode but many have fulltime jobs like Belota, Scott King, EricL, EricM, George, Seminole King, Magic Mike, Anthony, Thomas, Castanos, Garby, Corky, Armando, Kullster and Rocco. Brodie is opening a business with his wife and may not be available. Two players that went to the Magic City turnout (Kyle aka Baby Castanos got a job) - Rule and Rick B – also filled out paperwork for a tryout with Calder while at Magic City. Ricky, a former pro, who has disappeared like a fart in the wind, would be an ideal player at Calder. Gino is serious about trying out, however. Perhaps the “Sea Cow” may tryout too (then people get to ‘Boooo’ him) !

N Miami has picked up business with all these new opportunities to be a jai-alai player, and they might have several potential players. This is where Kyle has been practicing lately in addition to playing at Puryear Park when he comes home.

Matt has several players that might be interested in the tryout also.

There will be a tryout, but the dates have not been set yet.

The Performances

Many of the games will be singles and a few doubles games will be on the card. The season will run Wednesday through Sunday with Monday and Tuesday off. There will be 3 performances a day for May and June, and two performances a day for August through October. And good news for gamblers, there will be the regular 8 game posts. With 30 or so players, we hope you won’t see what you get like what is going on at Miami Jai-alai now, where some players are pounding out 70 games a week!


Information here in this story is not from Calder Jai-alai and may change.

Kyle Lands Magic City Contract

Kyle played in Matt’s tournament last year -- "Nate the Great was entertaining to some and controversial to others, but his Jai-Alai career may be over"

Miami, Florida: December 3, 2018: About 50 people participated this past weekend for a tryouts at Magic City, and a few NJAA players made the trip. With only 5-6 openings, the odds were not so great on getting one of the lucrative spots on the roster. But at least one of our players did -- and it’s Kyle Kubala -- formally known as "Baby Castanos", the son of Puryear Park Jai-alai founder Paul Kubala - aka "Castanos".

Kyle fit the model perfectly. He’s a great guy, keeps his mouth shut and gives 100% effort all the time. And he’s a pretty decent player now. He’s just 23 years old, graduated college from the area (Florida Atlantic University) as an athlete on the golf team, has never played pro -- exactly the model Magic City was looking for. Kyle had been practicing at North Miami for the past month as he works down there now.

The tryouts were on Friday and Saturday where several players showed up with experience playing jai-alai. Others from the NJAA included Rule and Rick B. Matt’s court had Dave K tryout also. At this time, it is not known if they have been issued a contract. Kyle played extremely well in his tryout. No visitors were allowed, so the NJAA does not have any video or photos of the action.

The tryouts featured several endurance testing methods - players were told it’s a long 5-month season with over 900 games expected -- and they didn’t want players breaking down during the season. The endurance testing included sprinting from the over serve line to the underserve line back to the front wall. You also had to do as many pushups as you could, run up and down the staircases, pass an eye-hand ordination test and for the documentary they were filming, answer questions like -- What do you think of "Nate the Great" and his controversial antics? Then the jai-alai part with 2-3 serves, 2-3 forehand throws were required, 2-3 backhand throws and backhand and forehand rebotes. They were not looking to see how hard you can throw -- just looking for form only.

Rick B played well too from what we understand but he threw a ball too hard that nearly hit the camera crew (oddly on the court) and was "barked" at by Arra! Rule played well from what we understand also.

As mentioned earlier, the contract is a lucrative one -- a year-round salary, great bonus money for wins, places and shows and a great insurance program -- and 7 months off!

About 5-6 players from the current roster will not be returning -- including Nate the Great. With the addition of Kyle and the others TBA, the roster should be much better than this past year.

Not sure when opening day is, but the season usually starts on July 1st but that is a Monday. Let’s all plan on heading down next year for Opening Day and support Baby Castanos -- or we mean Kyle.

What will be his name? We will let you know!


Miami, Florida: November 26, 2018: As seen earlier here, Magic City Casino is looking for jai-alai players. The ad was posted in the Miami Hurricane student newspaper. As you know, many of the players now on the roster graduated from there and were on the Hurricanes football team and had virtually no jai-alai experience outside playing the N. Miami Amateur for about 3 months just before the season at Magic City started. Closing night is this Friday night, but the tryouts are on this Friday the 30th from 10am to 1pm and Saturday from 10am till 3pm. We have no inside information of what direction they are going, but with the marketing directed to the college newspaper, it appears that is the way they will continue. But who knows?

NJAA players who have said they are going down for the tryout include Kyle Kabala - the son of the man behind getting the Puryear Park court built - Paul Kubala. Many have known Kyle as "Baby Castanos" with his father using the name "Castanos". NJAA player "Rule" - the top rated player in the Meatball League - has also stated he will be down there for a tryout. Julio, who opens Saturday for another year at Miami Jai-alai was going to attend, but won’t. Pros and ex-pros may tryout but are not likely to get offered a contract. JLaca may tryout, but that would mean forfeiting his social security checks! Gino has expressed interest in trying out but way wait for Calder’s tryouts. One of his employees Brian "The Boatman" Harrington will be trying out and has been making progress since putting on a basket less than a month ago, and might actually have a good chance at it as anybody on the outside world with no jai-alai experience.

Lots of jai-alai this weekend:

Magic City

Tryouts Friday 10am-1pm
Matinee performance 3pm
Evening performance 7pm - end of season
Tryouts Saturday 10am-3pm


Friday 7pm. Partido last game
Saturday matinee 1pm
Saturday evening 7pm
Sunday 1pm


Saturday - opening day

12 noon
3 pm
6 pm

Repairs coming to Puryear Park Jai-Alai Court

Former Tampa pro "Corky" working out at Puryear Park

St. Petersburg, FL: November 26, 2018: Some much needed repairs are coming to Puryear Park - America’s first public jai-alai court. The NJAA is working with the city to get some much needed court repairs and maintenance. Sometime in January, the following work will be performed:

Court walls repainted
Front wall padding - under the chapa and along the right hand side of the wall.
New LED light installation
Fixture light heads realigned to better illuminate the court
Netting repair all around the court

The most exciting thing will be the LED light installation. This will be an incredible upgrade to the court at night.

There will be some downtime on the court being open to the public and the NJAA website will keep you updated as details become available. Any additional details on court improvements will be announced when we receive the information. Again, the work will commence sometime in January and has been approved by the City.

Again, hats off to the City of St. Pete for working with us!

New Cesta Travel Bag For Sale

Hartford, Connecticut: November 26, 2018: The NJAA has a new jai-alai cesta travel bag for sale. This was made by (soon to be 90-years old) Al Almada, the world’s oldest jai-alai player. The former Jai-alai Heaven co-founder made two of them, with JLaca using the other one. They are designed to carry two front or backcourt baskets and are ideal for those that travel to the court and want to protect their investment. If interested, contact us at the NJAA. We do ship all over the world. Price $200 plus shipping or available for pick up at Puryear Park.

Results from Matt’s Tournament

Berlin, Connecticut: The biggest amateur tournament in decades took place at Matt’s place in Berlin Connecticut
this past weekend with about 45 players participating. The event featured a 15-game Spectacular 9 performance
on Friday night and a long, day-long tournament Saturday featuring the best amateur players from Connecticut,
Rhode Island and Florida. The play was lively with excellent play while packed to the rafters all weekend.
The tournament itself lasted an amazing 8 hours and 15 minutes – even longer than game 3 of the World Series
which lasted 18 innings and 7 hours and 20 minutes! The late ending caused many of the A leaguers to cancel
the annual Saturday night trip to the casinos.

The only Florida player to go home with the gold was Laca, who won the Backcourt Championship in the B Division.
Thomas took second place. Anthony, who suffered with some bad knees, did win the Spec 9 Championship Singles
Game for Division A , and came in 3rd with Scott King for the A Division in the Saturday tournament.

Because of time constraints and a huge turnout, the format for the A tournament Saturday was changed.
There were two brackets with different players. The top three teams in each bracket played a single
15-point straight game. Everybody played 5 games and then there was a championship game. The only
players who played in that game were the four players in the championship Partido.
Fred and Joe P finished first, Mace and Casio finished second, with our Scott King and Anthony coming in 3rd.
In the Partido, Fred and Joe P won 15-11. It was 7:15pm when that marathon ended!

Saturday Tournament

A Division Finals
Fred / Joe P 15
Mace / Casio 11
Front court winner - Fred
Back court winner - Joe P

Scott K / Anthony

B Division Finals
Tony C / Laca 15
Barry / Thomas 8
Front court winner - Tony C
Back court winner - Laca

Spec 9 Results – all games played to 9 points. Points doubled for games 1-13.

Game 1
6 Carlo Thomas
2 Perry Viscig
3 Barry Laca

Game 2
8 Jacques
3 Barry
2 Benny

Game 3
4 Barry Viscig
1 Perry Thomas
3 Garby Chip

Game 4
1 Benny Viscig
8 Brodie Chip
3 Barry Thomas

Game 5
6 Johnny No No
7 Paul R
2 Chip

Game 6
1 Barry Tony C
5 Marcos Bochar
7 Garby Dave K

Game 7
Tony C
Johnny No No

Game 8
8 Brodie Joe P
2 Johnny No No Will
6 Tony C John B

Game 9
1 Suitum
8 Johnny No No
3 Paul R

Game 10
8 Suitum Casio
1 Joe P Belota
2 Scott K Jon

Game 11
2 Mace Dave K
5 Ed V Belota
4 Rocco Joe P

Game 12
8 Gino
3 Joe P
1 Belota

Game 13
2 Gino Belota
3 Suitum Dave K
7 Mason Anthony

Game 14
4 Ed V Joe P
2 Rocco Anthony
8 Mason Casio

Game 15
2 Anthony
4 Mason
7 Ed V

Line-Up for Fri 10/26/18 6:30pm Connecticut Tournament 15 Game Spectacular 9

46 Players in for Matt’s Spec 9 Performance Friday Night!

Matt, Mendi, Casio and Ignacio in action at Matt’s Court

Berlin, CT: Matt’s Place will be in full action this weekend with a amazing total of 46 players set to place on Friday night alone in the Spec 9 performance. The NJAA and Florida team is sending a heavy duty lineup of 13 players that includes several of their top players making the 1,300 mile trip. The parking lot will be full as dozens more are expecting to watch the event in person. The action starts at 6:30pm Friday and will be live on Matt’s Facebook page. Saturday’s event will have about 30 players participating.

Friday – 6:30 pm Spec 9 Event

Saturday – 9:30 am Tournament FL vs CT vs RI

Click to Watch

Miami Jai-alai Casino sold with big changes coming

Miami, FL: There was some big news that that will be announced soon that Miami Jai-alai Casino has been sold to the Treasure Island Corporation of Las Vegas with plans to totally remodel the auditorium and add a Cirque Du Soleil like show. What will happen to jai-alai remains to be a question, but here is what we know:

The new company will be taking over ownership by December 1st.

The 52 day schedule will run in December and January. This was set with the DBPR a long time ago and is likely unchangeable

Each player will play 6 days a week, while the fronton will be open 7 days a week. There will be 3 performances a day. All performances have 8 games.

1pm Matinee will have 4 posts game to a Spec 5 format. There will be 4 Singles and 4 Doubles.

3pm Twilight will have 6 post all singles games in a Spec 7 format.

6pm Evening will also have 6 post all singles games in a Spec 7 format.

Players will be playing over 60 games a week, and will judge and announce the games a la Ft. Pierce.

Players may be getting new uniforms with some effort in keeping the operation running.

After the season is completed, the renovations will begin immediately.

Word is a Cirque Du Soleil like show, one like at the Treasure Island in Vegas will be brought in.

We all know it is a disaster in there – thousands of run down chairs, TV’s from the 1980s, broken equipment, disgraceful bathrooms, broken equipment to bet with, no museum, gift shop or food stands in operation. Bringing in a permanent show like Cirque Du Soleil is a game changer. And since jai-alai must be run to keep their slots going, this could be good news. Only time will tell what is going to happen and why this is happening. According to zjaialai56 on Tigers site, monthly slot revenues have been withhold pursuant to claims made under Sections 815.045, 815.04 and 688.002, Florida Statutes. These statutes are all in relation to electronic trade secret law violations that appear criminal in nature.

We have seen the casino part pull out their poker room, its restaurant now a basic take out place with a lousy limited menu and little entertainment. Work was done on the outside several months ago, but the building lacks a parking lot that is not flooded, the flocks of seagulls that takes a crap on you car, the difficulty to navigate in the area with all the construction, and an unsafe looking area.

See a great point between Mike & RickB vs Rule & Carlos on 9/22/18 Game #4.
Begins at 8:00min into video till 10:00min into video.

Another Magicmike Program
NOW AVAILABLE (Updated 02/05/12)
Also available on CNet's

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