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Our Last few Performances Sat 03/31, Tue 04/03, Sat 04/07, Sun 04/08, Tue 04/18.
Next Performance Sun 5pm? (Usually Tue, Thu and Sun nights and Sat matinee).


Mexico City Tournament Review


Action on court # 5 <--- ---> Scott King, Goiko and Mrs. Queen

Arturo, Loren, Javier, Thomas <--- ---> 57 meter jai-alai court at Club Mundet

April 10, 2018: Mexico City, Mexico: Six NJAA players along with David II were among the 72 participates in a big amateur jai-alai tournament held at the classy Club Mundet. None of the players, which included Scott King, Anthony, Thomas, Belota, JLaca and Denver made it to the finals. The courts that were used in the tournament were all 30 meters long with high walls and the hard white plastic ball was in use. Not being familiar to the courts and the high altitude may have been a reason nobody from the NJAA made it to the finals, but players were just in it for the experience and enjoyment. Club Mundet is a huge health club with all sorts of recreational activities and was more secured than the White House. There are 5 courts – one regulation jai-alai court that is almost as long as the Mexico fronton, and four Frontenis courts that can be used as an amateur jai-alai court. Frontenis is a sport played on 30 meter courts using a “tennis like” racquet and rubber balls. The sport was developed in Mexico in 1900 and is accredited as a Basque pelota specialty.

The tournament ran for 4 days – Thursday thru Sunday and was attended by a couple hundred people including jai-alai greats Goikoetxea and Lopez who later played in partidos at the nearby Mexico Fronton. The games were played to either 15 or 20 points and featured partido play – where one overserve was allowed per point – and two teams playing against each other.

The players included some little guys about 7 years old and a few female players that threw harder than David II (just kidding!) and were actually quite good.

The evening activities included trips to the newly opened Mexico Fronton – now in its 90th year - to watch some amazing partido action featuring Goiko, Lopez and other greats in long 30-point games. The one Thursday night featured Goikoetxea/Ekhi vs. Eglguren/Lopez that was a performance of a lifetime. The later team won 30-28 with several amazing plays throughout the 1 hour and 23 minute battle. The huge fronton with the world’s longest court played out totally different than American courts that have much more rebote action, 8 teams a game and more games on the performance. In addition to the 30-point partidos, there were a couple of “Quinella” games played on each program that featured 5 teams playing to 5 single points. There are no tote machines as all bets are made with men running around in white jackets with bets against the house. Sometimes a bet could not be made because more bets were made on one team than the other and they needed to find people willing to bet on the other team to even out the bets. Another neat feature was that betting could be made during the game by throwing a tennis ball around and inserting the hand written betting slip. The odds would change throughout the game and we saw one bet go for 10,000 to 1 when Goiko and Ihitsague had a 29-23 lead over Laduche and Lopez on Saturday night. There were no huge payouts, as Goiko’s team won that one with some amazing throws by the guy recognized as one of the greatest players on the planet.

There were several hundred people in the stands for each performance and an admission is charged but one has to wonder how they make much money with a handful of guys running around taking bets where the house keeps 20% and only a small portion of the crowd is betting on so few games? There were no programs, no gift shops on the premises and the fronton also had a small, 3 level casino that was nearly empty the three times we visited the fronton. We did hear that the fronton, which was closed for 20 years or so till reopening last year, will be closing to turn the historic building into a huge hotel and reopening with a new and smaller fronton. Visiting the legendary fronton was certainly a “Bucket List” adventure with the quality of play one you won’t ever forget.

The weather was mild and in the mid-70s. Rain showers appeared in the evening on Wednesday and Thursday nights and on Friday afternoon postponing Scott King and Anthony’s appearance until 7am Saturday morning. After a big night out at Arturo’s place, that could not have been easy!


Anthony in front of the program <--- ---> More action on court 5


NJAA’s Scott King and Anthony in action <--- ---> The World’s best female player

Group photo of the 72 participants <--- ---> We got some of our baskets after a 20-month wait – in person!

National TV coverage <--- ---> Bleachers in front of each of the courts

Mexico City Fronton introductions of partido <--- ---> Game point of partido Thursday night at Mexico City Fronton

Some fun at Arturo Salas’ place! <--- ---> Tournament management, Goiko and others at Arturo’s

Six NJAA players to participate in Mexico City Tournament


March 26, 2018: Mexico City: There are at least six NJAA scheduled to play in a big international jai-alai to be held at the fabulous Club Mundet in Mexico City April 5-8th. Scott King, Anthony, Belota, Denver, Thomas and JLaca are all making the trip to participate along with about 35 others. There are four courts, with most of them about 30 meters long and they will be using the hard white plastic balls that are used in North Miami amateur.

As a highlight of the trip, players will be able to go watch live jai-alai the newly reopened Mexico Fronton with features some great players like Goiko and Lopez. The fronton will be open Thursday, Saturday and Sunday nights for partido betting.

Club Mundet is an 80,000 meter heath club facility loaded with multiple tennis courts, soccer, basketball, golfing, swimming pools, gyms and much more.

The NJAA will post details and lots of photos of the action after the tournament.


** These 2 Below Click for Full Size **

Julio plaque dedicated / New framed items in Laca museum

Seminole, February 24, 2018: It was only 3 years ago that Julio Restina was helping Brian “The Boatman” construct an elaborate sports museum accompanying 9 spaces from a private 11-car garage. Never would he have dreamed a plaque of himself would one day hang on one of the walls along others like Randy, Daniel, Laca, Bolivar and Joey. Not to mention Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, Cy Young and Honus Wagner. Over 410 people have visited the museum including Wade Boggs and the “Crime Dog” Fred McGriff. The Puryear Park star is now a player on the Miami roster and enjoying every minute of it.

With about 30 in attendance, Julio got to see his plaque along with a signed ball from the 2018 Miami roster that he donated that is now in a nice case with a sign mentioning the donation next to his plaque. Current NJAA player Garby, a former Dania pro, made his debut to the museum. Jai-a-Lou, former Newport Player and Dania PR director and announcer, made the longest journey. He was a little sore from playing that morning and getting nailed above the ankle with his own throw!

Also in attendance was NJAA Historian Mark K who was very generous in selling some rare collectables such as Milford # 1 program and Hartford # 1 program and the # 1 program and ticket stub to New York City’s Hipprodrome Fronton. Laca combined the two Connecticut programs with Orlando’s # 1 program ever for a nice framed piece. The New York City fronton opened September 8, 1938 at 6th avenue and 43rd street with Richard Bererson as the fronton’s director along with promoters Mike Jacabs and Lee Shubert. It was the most glamourous fronton that ever existed and cost $100,000 to build. Some of the best players in the world played, and the first game that went 30-29 with Segundo, Piston, Guillermo and Gabriel playing that day. A nice collection of the program, insert and the admission ticket has also been framed.



The sport of Jai-Alai is nearly extinct. It's up to these former Hurricanes to revive it (Click for entire Article)


Miami Herald

It's a Wednesday morning, and one by one, the familiar Hurricane faces make their way into the non-descript North Miami warehouse near the corner of
N.E. 150 St. and 19th Ave. In walks Kenny Kelly, the former University of Miami quarterback and Major League Baseball player. He still looks as lean ...

TVS - Basquet Cases Shows from
NJAA December Tournament on Dailymotion Website


Remembering Kellyaga


Hard to believe, but it has been 10 years since Jaialai fan Kellyaga passed away. Shown here is what is believed to be the last photo of him (on right) - taken at the NJAA party held during the Citrus tournament in 2018. This was just a couple days before the tragic news came out.
RIP

Latest additions to the Laca Museum

Seminole, FL: The Laca Museum has added a few more jai-alai artifacts to its collection. Former Tampa star player Laca II’s last game used cesta and jersey are now on display on the top shelf of a lighted case, and a new poster size custom made plaque of Puryear Park player “Restina”. The plaque features photos from the first game, betting tickets from game 1 and the program cover and game 1.


Can you Guess?


JULIO MAKES PRO DEBUT AT MIAMI JAI-ALAI

January 1, 2018, Miami, FL: Two time NJAA champion Julio made his pro debut at Miami Jai-alai before a crowd of about 200 New Years Day. He played in 6 games, including playing in post 1 in game 1 for the new 2018 season. He won the first point vs. a pretty good player in Sierra I, but did not come in the money in any of the games. He played under his last name – “Restina”. Julio said he was nervous (as expected), but played well despite being his first time as a pro. In the crowd was his girlfriend and several amateur players including Belota, Jesus, and North Miami Luis. You can watch the video of his first point vs. Sierra in singles game 1 and 3 others below.


FINAL STATS FOR 2017 - HAPPY NEW YEAR - 2018 Begins

RULE WINS FIRST NJAA CHAMPIONSHIP

January 3, 2018:  Rule has won his first NJAA championship nipping Rocco with a .537
winning percentage vs. .535 for Rocco.  On the final performance, Anthony tried to
catch both of them, but really had no chance as Rocco finished the season on the DL
and Rule did not show up.  Rule had almost won the championship in 2015, but lost to
Julio by .0001 of a point!

Here are the winners over the years:

2011    George     .472
2012    Anthony    .572
2013    Rocco      .731
2014    Julio      .588
2015    Julio      .586
2016    Scott K    .521
2017    Rule       .537

Rookie of the Year - Brodie

Summary A record 23 players qualified for the title, despite Eric L missing the cut. A total of 48 players appeared this year including former Tampa great Laca II. A total of 1,100 games were played – well short of the record 1,296 played last year. There were 159 performances this past year – a lower number due to Hurricane Irma, Mike’s injury and a few no performances because of not a big enough of a turnout. There were two perfect games in 2017. Only 77 singles games were played with Rule winning that with a .909 winning percentage. The doubles championship went to Mike/Anthony with a winning percentage of .733. 2016 vs 2017 A total of 17 players qualified in both the past two seasons. Here’s a look at how they performed: 2016 2017 Gain/loss Anthny .387 .525 + .138 Chip .350 .487 + .137 Rule .426 .537 + .111 King .204 .287 + .083 Paul H .111 .193 + .082 Mike .294 .363 + .069 Laca .229 .275 + .046 Eric M .196 .242 + .046 Chris .281 .321 + .040 Armando .142 .168 + .026 Levi .134 .160 + .026 Ricky .450 .455 + .005 Julio .502 .505 + .003 Belota .249 .243 - .006 Thomas .284 .205 - .079 Scott K .521 .392 - .129 Not sure why so many increased and only a few decreased from last year. Only guess is that there were less players per game this year vs. last year and easier to win.

FINALS FOR 2017 POSTED AFTER SATURDAY 12/30/17 MATINEE FINAL PERFORMANCE AT 11AM

Anthny/Mike will win doubles championship.
Mike wins most games played (More than double all others except Laca) and Laca gets 2nd.
EricL needs to play 3 games to be above the line.
Anthny .522 Rocco .535 and Rule .537 battle for the top prize. (Rocco out injured)
Rule and Ricky contend for Singles Championship

Julio (Restina) officially on program for Jan 1, 2018 Matinee


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