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Our Last few Performances Sun 12/17, Sat 12/23, Tue 12/26, Thu 12/28, Sat 12/30.
Next Performance TBA (Usually Tue, Thu and Sun nights and Sat matinee).



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

A real 10th Merry Festival Sunday 12/17/17

St. Petersburg, FL: On a balmy sunny 80-degree Sunday afternoon, a crowd of 72 watched a record breaking 27 players participate in a monster 20- game, 4 hour 54 minute jai-alai marathon that witnessed some great action. The event was to celebrate our 10th anniversary of getting the court approved and become the first public jai-alai court in the United States. The event was taped by TVS TV and will be shown later on syndicated TV stations worldwide.

It all started off with a ceremony honoring Paul Kubala, Tom DeMint and Bill Foster for all their work in getting the court approved. Foster, the former Mayor of St. Pete, threw out the first pelota. It was Foster who got the St. Petersburg City council to approve the court and acquire the additional funds to complete the court such as the court paving and netting. Bill stayed for almost the entire event and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The 20 games featured the record amount of players and included travelling ex-pro players David II from Jacksonville, Derek Smith (a Puryear Park alumni!) from Vermont and Denver from Orlando. Derek filled in for an injured Randy, the former four- decade pro who had to scratch the morning of the event. Veteran amateur George also had to scratch. Rocco had been an earlier scratch a week ago and was subbed by Belota.

A food stand was set up, programs sold and a massive sound system blasting the jai-alai march as the players entered the court and Magic Mike’s talking scoreboard was easily heard on the court and in deep into Puryear Park. A large screen TV served as a scoreboard for the players. In all, a great event – a Merry Festival.

(More Video Links coming soon)

Sunday December 17, 2017 Post time 1:14 pm. 10th Anniversary of Court Approval Tournament.
Most of the NJAA involved.  Great showing and filmed by TVS Television Network
for later broadcast on syndicated television channels throughout the world

Game # 1 to 7 points 12-17-2017 Start: 13:14:02 Ended: 13:18:45*
Gino                 0 
Levi                 1  Show
Mike                 7  Win
King                 3  Place

Game # 2 to 7 points 12-17-2017 Start: 13:23:45 Ended: 13:30:55*
Laca                 7  Win
RickB                3  Show
PaulH                6  Place
Denver               3 

Game # 3 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 13:36:09 Ended: 13:42:44
King/Denver          3  Place
Mike/Laca            9  Win
Levi/RickB           1 
Gino/PaulH           2  Show

Game # 4 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 13:45:45 Ended: 13:55:51
Mike/PaulH           5  Place
Levi/Laca            9  Win
Gino/Denver          3 
King/RickB           4  Show

Game # 5 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 13:58:53 Ended: 14:11:22
Levi/PaulH           6 
Gino/RickB           7  Place
King/Laca            9  Win
Mike/Denver          6  Show

Game # 6 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 14:15:04 Ended: 14:23:11
Levi/Denver          3  Show
Gino/Laca            5  Place
King/PaulH           9  Win
Mike/RickB           2 

Game # 7 to 7 points 12-17-2017 Start: 14:30:23 Ended: 14:36:55*
EricM                7  Win
DaveII               1 
King                 5  Place
Kyle                 3  Show

Game # 8 to 7 points 12-17-2017 Start: 14:42:51 Ended: 14:51:34*
Chip                 7  Win
Thomas               3 
PCast                3  Show
EricM                6  Place

Game # 9 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 14:56:47 Ended: 15:04:15
King/PCast           6  Place
Kyle/Thomas          9  Win
Derek/Chip           1 
DaveII/EricM         2  Show

Game # 10 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 15:08:01 Ended: 15:18:28
Derek/Thomas         4  Show
DaveII/Chip          5  Place
Mike/EricM           9  Win
Kyle/PCast           4 

Game # 11 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 15:23:33 Ended: 15:34:46
DaveII/PCast         7  Show
King/Thomas          9  Win
Kyle/Chip            7  Place
Derek/EricM          4 

Game # 12 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 15:36:56 Ended: 15:46:48
Kyle/EricM           6  Place
Derek/PCast          5  Show
DaveII/Thomas        3 
Mike/Chip            9  Win

Game # 13 to 7 points 12-17-2017 Start: 15:55:10 Ended: 16:04:50*
Denver               4  Show
Derek                2 
DaveII               0 
Ricky                7  Win
ScottK               3 
Belota               1 
Julio                4  Place

Game # 14 to 7 points 12-17-2017 Start: 16:10:21 Ended: 16:20:32*
Rule                 4  Show
Brodie               6  Place
Ricky                2 
Kulstr               3 
Julio                7  Win

Game # 15 to 7 points 12-17-2017 Start: 16:26:19 Ended: 16:32:44*
Anthny               7  Win
Belota               1 
Chris                2  Show
EricL                0 
ScottK               5  Place

Game # 16 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 16:35:20 Ended: 16:46:25
Julio/ScottK         9  Win
Kulstr/EricL         0 
Ricky/Chris          4  Show
Brodie/Belota        5  Place
Rule/Anthny          3 

Game # 17 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 16:48:30 Ended: 17:04:12
Rule/EricL           5  
Julio/Chris          9  Win
Kulstr/Belota        2 
Ricky/Anthny         8  Place
Brodie/ScottK        5  Show

Game # 18 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 17:07:33 Ended: 17:16:44
Brodie/Chris         1 
Rule/Belota          4  Place
Julio/Anthny         1  Show
Kulstr/ScottK        9  Win
Ricky/EricL          0 

Game # 19 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 17:19:56 Ended: 17:37:49
Ricky/Belota         5  Show
Brodie/Anthny        7  Place
Rule/ScottK          5 
Julio/EricL          2 
Kulstr/Chris         9  Win

Game # 20 to 9 points 12-17-2017 Start: 17:39:41 Ended: 17:53:43
Kulstr/Anthny        3 
Ricky/ScottK         6  Place
Brodie/EricL         9  Win
Rule/Chris           3 
Julio/Belota         5  Show

NJAA Anniversary Games overall stats

Anthny  games   6  wins   1  pts    29  poss    52
Belota  games   7  wins   0  pts    23  poss    59
Brodie  games   6  wins   1  pts    33  poss    52
Chip    games   5  wins   2  pts    29  poss    43
Chris   games   6  wins   2  pts    28  poss    52
DaveII  games   6  wins   0  pts    18  poss    50
Denver  games   6  wins   0  pts    22  poss    50
Derek   games   5  wins   0  pts    16  poss    43
EricL   games   6  wins   1  pts    16  poss    52
EricM   games   6  wins   2  pts    33  poss    50
Gino    games   5  wins   0  pts    17  poss    43
Julio   games   7  wins   3  pts    37  poss    59
King    games   8  wins   3  pts    48  poss    68
Kulstr  games   6  wins   2  pts    26  poss    52
Kyle    games   5  wins   1  pts    29  poss    43
Laca    games   5  wins   4  pts    39  poss    43
Levi    games   5  wins   1  pts    20  poss    43
Mike    games   7  wins   4  pts    47  poss    61
PCast   games   5  wins   0  pts    25  poss    43
PaulH   games   5  wins   1  pts    28  poss    43
RickB   games   5  wins   0  pts    17  poss    43
Ricky   games   7  wins   1  pts    32  poss    59
Rule    games   6  wins   0  pts    24  poss    52
ScottK  games   7  wins   2  pts    42  poss    59
Thomas  games   5  wins   2  pts    28  poss    43

NJAA all set for big 10th Anniversary of Court Approval Event
this Sunday Dec 17th @ 1pm

St. Petersburg, FL: The NJAA is all set for his big 10th Anniversary Event of the Court Approval this Sunday, December 17th @ 1pm. The event will be filmed by the TVS Television Network for later broadcast on syndicated television channels throughout the world. Weather is expected to be perfect – 75 degrees and sunny. A special ceremony will be for Bill Foster, Paul Kubala and Tom DeMint for their help in getting the court approved to become the first public jai-alai court in the United States. Former jai-alai and ringside announcer M. Mark Beiro will be in attendance.

The sound system will be set up, TV monitors acting as the scoreboard, Buster’s Grill will be open again with tasty hot dogs and burgers, soda, chips and water. Programs, shirts, and Matt balls will be available for sale at the Pro Shop, located next to Busters.

A record 27 players are participating in the event, making it the largest conglomerate of amateur players ever at one location on the west coast of Florida.

To view the latest program, click the program above to see the up-to-date lineups. Player statistics have been added to the program for the first time ever. The 20-game lineup is expected to move briskly and last about 3 ½ hours. A speed challenge will also be held to see who throws the hardest.

Major Court Reburbishing completed.

A special thanks to Scott King, Paul Castanos, Anthony, PaulH, Belota, Rick B, EricL, and Brodie for helping out on getting the court repaired.

SUNDAY DECEMBER 3 for major refurbishment.
Wall patching, pressure washing, painting and fence work.

10TH Anniversary of Court Approval Event
Sunday, December 17th 1pm

St. Petersburg, FL: Believe it or not, but the 10th anniversary of our courts approval for the additional funds to upgrade America’s first public jai-alai court is coming up in just a couple weeks. To celebrate, there will be a big event on Sunday, December 17th @ 1pm. The goal is to get 24 players to participate in the program where there would be multiple games of 4 players in a game all wearing colored shirts with corresponding post position numbers. Games would be classified as early, middle and late games like the pros do it – if we get enough players. Players will be assessed about $20 each to cover expenses, mainly in the shirts. That total may be less if we can get away with players only needing 1 or 2 shirts that you get to keep.

The sound system will be set up, TV monitors acting as the scoreboard, Buster’s Grill will be open again with tasty hot dogs and burgers, soda, chips and water. Programs, shirts, and Matt balls will be available for sale at the Pro Shop, located next to Busters.

The man who was instrumental in getting the court built while working in conjunction with Paul Castanos and Corky DeMint – then city councilman and future mayor of St. Pete - Bill Foster - will throw out the first pelota.

But the big news is that the TVS Television Network will fly a crew in from California to film the event and produce a program – the first of 2 or 3 shows – to feature jai-alai. They like what the NJAA is doing and will tape our event and then edit it and distribute it to various syndicated shows around the United States and internationally.

Currently 17 players have signed up – with 7 more needed to fill the roster. David II has just signed up. The deadline to register is Monday, December 4th at 11am as the shirts will be ordered then.

We could use a few volunteers – program director, announcers, refs, scorekeepers to help make the event a success.

Greetings from Biarritz, France

Biarritz, France: Here are a couple photos from the World Championships that were held in Biarritz, France last weekend. The level of play was excellent as noted by NJAA associate Arturo Salas of Mexico who was there to cheer on the Mexico team. In the photo on the left, is Arturo Salas’s father, brother and Inaki Goicoetxea. In the photo on the right is Txindoki (the ex-pro), Arturo, his dad, Samual Inclan (coach and ex-pro), Daniel Inclan (Mexico player) and Arturo’s brother. Certainly some great players in these photos!

Arturo is an owner of Senor Frogs, one of the most successful and recognizable bar chains in the world, is planning a tournament at his court in Cancun soon. The NJAA has been supplying them balls for the past couple years.

A Tampa Legend Returns! NJAA Welcomes “The Real” Pedro Laca II !

Seminole, FL: October 21, 2017: A Tampa Jai-alai Legend returned to the area that for 23 years he had made home. To quote Mark Beiro’s story in the program sold to fans on his final performance on June 5th, 1993, “Tonight, after 23 years and 26 seasons at the Tampa Fronton, Pedro M. Laca, better known to jai-alai fans throughout the planet as LACA, will remove his helmet, pull off the number 35 player jersey, hang up his cesta and call an end to a remarkable career. Laca, one of the sport’s greatest defensive players, will retire after playing in tonight’s 12th game”.

That was over 24 years ago. On Saturday, Pedro Laca II pulled out the same basket he used in his last game and played jai-alai for the first time since that memorable Saturday evening in 1993. He had not even put on a cesta or thrown a ball since he retired. After hearing about a guy that had been “using” his name as an amateur for decades from a fellow player on Pedro Laca’s roster way back then, Goitia, he had been wanting to make this trip to meet him and see the “Laca Museum.” Laca II played jai-alai on the St. Pete Cancha – competing in a game with J Laca. Laca II played well and undeniably that was LACA on the court. Same style, same form as before. His first practice throw was perfect and in the game, the two Laca’s got a SHOW by scoring 6 points in the 15 point game. There were some good players out there – Anthony, Ricky (who played one month with Laca on the Tampa roster), George and future Miami pro Julio.

After the game, Laca II intently watched the rest of the performance standing next to the computer, where he got a kick out of hearing a “computerized ” Jack Patterson announcing the players and scores. He was asking a lot of questions about the ball (“it’s pretty hard”, the synthetic baskets (“interesting…it must be hard to catch with it”), the history of our court. He even critiqued several players - including George - on their play.

Laca II had some tips for players like Julio, who will step on the Miami Jai-alai court January 1st for his pro debut. “The first thing to do is CATCH the ball. Don’t worry about anything else.” This is coming from a guy who was probably better at catching the ball than any player that has ever played the game. He said he enjoyed “every minute” of his long playing career which included 18,218 games at the Tampa cancha alone!

After joining in for some photo ops and signing some autographs, the Great One would be on his way back to the Florida panhandle after the long weekend was over.

The night before, Laca II visited the Laca Museum in a private party that included former teammates Goitia, Daniel, Randy and Lively along with announcer and Ringside Announcer Mark Beiro. He signed a Laca jersey already on the wall that had been donated by Mark K a couple years ago, signed the cesta and jersey he had used for his last game and donated it to the Laca Museum. Not bad from the museum’s 400th visitor!


Became the 3rd player in Tampa history to get his number retired (35). The first was Bolivar (47) and then Almorza (50)
Played his first game December 26, 1969 – two months after the Mets won the World Series and five months after men walked on the moon.
Complied a .401 in the money winning percentage over 26 seasons.
Had a winning percentage of .146
Born June 28, 1949
Considered one of the games greatest catchers with a distinct catching and throwing style unlike any other.

Crew working on setting up Laca museum for its
400th visitor – the real Pedro “Laca” !

Seminole, FL: Workers are resetting up the Laca Museum after nearly 90% of it was dismantled as part of the evacuation plans for Hurricane Irma for anticipation of its 400th visitor – the real “Laca”! The original plans were to keep the museums nearly 1000 items in boxes till the hurricane season had passed later this fall. But the NJAA got news from Jose Goitia that Pedro Laca was going to be in town in the middle of October and wanted to meet the “fake” Laca and see the museum. Plans have been changed to get it ready in time for his arrival.

The museum, taking up much of a 9-car garage, was assembled in a noninsured flood area and was forced to disassemble as the Category 5 storm had turned towards Tampa Bay after destroying many Caribbean islands. A total of 399 people have seen the amazing collection of jai-alai, boxing, baseball, football and hockey memorabilia including the likes of Wade Boggs and Fred McGriff.

Laca was one of the greatest backcourters in jai-alai history and was known for his amazing ability to catch just about any ball thrown in his vicinity. His amazing career spanned 26 seasons, starting in 1969 and ending June 5, 1993. He played in 18,218 games and had a .401 in the money winning percentage. His win percentage was an amazing .146 giving the talent rosters he played with. He nearly attended the Tampa Jai-alai reunion party at the Laca Museum 18 months ago but had to cancel at the last moment. Many veteran players like Randy have not seen Laca since he retired.

Several new pieces to the museum will be added that came from another donation from “Mr. Priceline” Scott. Those include a Tampa jai-alai jacket in mint condition.

A special thanks to Jose Goitia, as seen in the photo above (far right) with future Miami pro player Julio, Scott King and Randy for setting up Laca’s visit.

We Got Lucky!

St. Petersburg, FL: September 18, 2017

The first hurricane to hit the Tampa Bay area in nearly 100 years arrived last week, but a couple of easterly turns at the last moment saved us from a direct hit of a major hurricane that would have destroyed our area. The storms eye landed in Marco Island and Naples before running up the middle of the state (losing strength) before whipping through our area with hurricane winds while the eye was passing by the Plant City/ Lakeland area.

As noted on the tracking chart above, the storms tract on early Sunday morning was set to directly hit our area as a Hurricane 3 – coming up the mouth of Tampa Bay. But the monster storm, which wrecked some of the Florida keys and some Caribbean Islands with Cat 5 – 185 mph winds, turned slightly east and then made it projected northerly path up the state where it loses power over land and not the warm waters.

Storm surge was nonexistent saving our area from damages that could have easily surpassed some of the most deadly disasters of all time . Locally here, most people suffered from a lack of power (thousands are still out today), tree and some roof damage, while suffering through no gas stations being open, no ice, no restaurants, grocery stores open, etc. A trade off we will take anytime. Even the major insurance company’s stock values went UP the day after the storm - as most investors had anticipated damage hundreds of times worse.

The court only suffered one of the lights turned the wrong direction and not working. Action resumed last evening for the first time in 12 days – our longest layoff ever.

Seminole, FL – September 8, 2017

The Laca Museum, a 1,600 square foot collection featuring over 600 collectables of jai-alai, baseball, football memorabilia has been dismantled and moved to upper floors as a precaution for hurricane IRMA, expected to make landfall Sunday in Florida. Over 90% of the prized collection has been moved.



Julio signs contract for Ft. Pierce Jai-alai

Miami, FL: Julio’s career as a pro jai-alai player has grown. After signing to play at Miami Jai-alai in 2018 from January thru April, Arra has signed Julio to play on the Ft. Pierce roster for the 2018 season, which will run during the month of June. This is quite a month for Julio who has reached a lifetime dream since his dad took him to jai-alai as a kid – signing two pro contracts to play at Miami and Ft. Pierce.

We do not know who else will be on the rosters at this time. This past June, Rocco and Belota played in Ft. Pierce.

To get in shape, Julio has been tearing up the NJAA with an amazing amount of wins lately, but has been facing mostly C grade players and nobody will ever confuse players like JLaca for Lopez out there. Right now, Julio only trails Rocco for the NJAA title.

Laca Court Hurdles Past Last Obstacle

Former St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster is close to getting a second jai-alai court approved in Pinellas county.

In a public hearing Tuesday night before the Board of County Commissioners, a petition to vacate a portion of an unopened right-of-way a second jai-alai court approved in Pinellas county was unanimously approved by a 7-0 vote. This is the last known obstacle to getting the final plans approved for the court’s approval.

Clearwater, FL: August 15, 2017: The final obstacle to getting the first private jai-alai court built on a residential property in the United States passed in a meeting before the Pinellas County of Commissioners. A petition to vacate an unopened right-of-way was unanimously approved by a 7-0, clearing the way for final approval of the amateur court. Laca was represented by former St. Pete Mayor Bill Foster, who was the one that successfully lobbied the City of St. Pete commissioners to build America’s first public jai-alai court 10 years ago.

The approval sent a big relief to NJAA star Anthony Sutton, Civil Engineer of Point West Engineering, whose company has been hired to design and construct the court. Anthony alone has spent hundreds of hours working with Laca over the past 3 years on this often delayed project had only given the approval chance of about 50-50 on this vacate right-of-way issue. With the petition to vacate request approved by the BCC, the item will now be advertised on more time this Friday because of the FL State Statue that requires it. Board Records say they will have all the recorded documents by the end of next week and we would be receiving the original recorded copy then. Once this is received, we can turn it over to the surveyors who need to turn in the updated survey of the property without the vacated right of way issue on it. That was the final obstacle to getting full approval.

The jai-alai court itself has nothing to do with this matter. It involved a land swap with Laca’s neighbor who had just purchased a mostly vacant lot of several acres next door and needed some of Laca’s land to build a driveway for a few houses she intended to build. Laca ironically need some property west of his property to build the court without having to move the driveway – which already was rejected by the Board of Directors. Call it luck, but a land swap was agreed upon that would solve both parties issues. The swap was done 16 months ago, only the find a vacated and unopened right-of-way issue on the books.

The former Mayor of St. Pete, Bill Foster, who was already Laca’s real estate attorney was called in to handle the land swap when the issue of the vacated right-of-way issue came up. A petition was filed in the name of Laca and his neighbor to vacate a portion of an unopened right-of-way in the middle of their properties. There was an unnamed driveway that was permitted by the previous owners of Laca’s property and never built. For some reason this matter was never caught by the title people, who later settled the matter with Laca out of court with Foster representing him.

There was no objection to the petition. Bright House, Duke energy, Pinellas Country Utilities, TECO Electric, TECO People Gas, Verizon and WOW! all had to inspect and send in a letter of no objection to Foster. Property owners within two hundred feet were notified by mail while three property signs were placed on the properties notifying anyone on the meeting before the Pinellas County board of directors.

Upon entering the court hall, Foster was immediately recognized by dozens of people (in the room for 7 other hearings) as though he were a “rock star”. With lots of hugs and handshakes and being out of the political field for four years after serving four years as Mayor of St. Pete and several years on the St. Pete City council, he was happy to be reacquainted with old friends including the entire Pinellas county commission that all welcomed him as he and Laca approached the panel. Called “Mayor Foster” by virtually everybody, a 7-0 vote went off on the huge scoreboard and it was finally all over.

This was the biggie. Out of the way. Now, only the formalities need to get done – it may still take another month till this is all over, but this was the real final obstacle in this long adventure. Stay tuned!

Julio Loves Jai-alai! Check this one out!

St. Petersburg, FL: August 15, 2017: Julio is preparing for the upcoming season at Miami Jai-alai by playing at Puryear Park on a regular basis now. His love of jai-alai is evident by the heart his sweat created on his shirt while playing last Sunday night! This amazing photo, taken by fellow player Eric M, clearly shows a perfectly large heart formed on the steamy night of action on the St. Pete outdoor court. “Seminole” King was the first to notice the heart on his shirt.

Julio grew up around Tampa jai-alai with his father who was an avid fan and amateur player himself. It will be interesting to see how Julio fares in Miami against far better competition than he sees at Puryear, a court less than ½ the size of a pro court.

The Miami season starts December 1st, with Julio’s contract starting January 1st . We are not sure if there will be a performance on New Year’s Day, which falls on a Monday to start off 2018. The fronton will be dark Tuesdays but will be open for matinee and evening performance on Saturday’s. The season will run through the end of April.

Miami season to start December 1st; some roster changes
start January 1st including Julio

The Miami season will open December 1st with several new players expected to begin January 1st the NJAA has learned. Julio is one of them, along with several players from the Ft. Piece roster – but not Rocco and Belota, two other NJAA players who have fulltime jobs in the Tampa Bay area and won’t be able to play.

Performances will be Monday – Sunday, except Tuesdays. There will be a double performance on Saturday, including a matinee and evening performance, something Miami has not had in quite some time.

BREAKING NEWS! - Julio signs contract with Miami Jai-alai

Julio’s tryout two months ago has paid off into a contract at Miami Jai-alai. <---> Julio as a 16-year old at the NJAA court with NJAA co-founder “Castanos”

August 2, 2017: Miami, FL: NJAA star player Julio has signed a contract with Miami Jai-alai and will be on the 1918 roster that will start in January. A contact was signed and returned to Miami player manager Arrra today. Julio had a tryout last month as reported here and received a call from Arra 8 days ago that he was offered a contract.

Julio was the NJAA top player in winning percentage in 2014 and in 2105 with a winning percentage of .588 and .586 respectively. This year is currently rated 7th with a .417 winning percentage – trailing Rocco (.592), Anthony (.508), Rule (.491), Chip (.485 – something is crazy here!), Ricky (.474) and Eric L (.423).

There is no word yet on the roster lineup or format, but from what we understand, the season will for run 4 months – from January through April. There is expected to be a full roster and no 2 player scam, but you never know.

Julio will be playing often at the NJAA court to prepare for his professional debut as he has showed up at the last two performances. He was told to get into better shape as there will be some good players on the roster to compete with. It is a shame his father is no longer alive to witness this, as he was an avid player himself and certainly would have been very proud of his son.

There is no word yet on the opening performance. New Year’s day is on a Monday and that date is often mentioned as Miami’s opening day. The NJAA will hope for a big local turnout for opening day to see his first game ever.

Amazing news as the “Yankee Stadium” of Jai-alai, Miami Jai-alai will open its 84th season with Julio in its lineup!

CT-FL-RI Championships 2017 – Part 2 - set for October 13-14th

Berlin, Conn: As promised, we are holding a second major tournament event this year at Matt’s Court in Connecticut. The dates of the action will be Friday October 13th and Saturday, October 14th. The reason for the earlier than expected date is to accommodate the possible national coverage expected from the entertainment magazine site “theCHIVE”. Coverage will put our NJAA players and jai-alai in front of a major media outlet with millions of viewers. The site, especially popular with males 18-35 ( a perfect jai-alai demographic desired), is best known for a string of Internet hoaxes that have gained huge international attention since 2007. But their possible coverage would not be a hoax and would bring their crew up for carry the event and appear for a story in their sports section.

The tournament will pit the best amateur players in Florida, Connecticut and Rhode Island – the 3 states that have hosted pro jai-alai for several years
since the late 1970s.

WHO: Amateur jai-alai court players from Connecticut, Florida and Rhode Island compete
WHAT: 2017 National Amateur Jai-alai Court Championships – Part 2
WHERE: Berlin, Connecticut – near Hartford
WHEN: October 13-14, 2017
WHY: Perfect weather, the NJAA needs to win one up there and "theCHIVE" may be covering the event

Matt’s Court Hours

Besides playing in the tournaments, there will be plenty of time to play at Matt’s Court – for one low price. Here has how the past few events at Matt’s court have gone:
October 12 - Thursday evening approx. 5:30pm-10pm.
Private practicing for NJAA players.
October 13 – Friday evening approx.. 5pm-6:30pm
Private practicing for NJAA players with some CT players joining in near the end
6:30pm - Spectacular 9 Event, usually runs to nearly 11pm. Mixed games with all 3 states paired up with others. Live stream, announcer Perry and Benny running the scoreboard.
October 14 - Saturday morning 8:30am
Practicing then C, B and A league championships, then State Championship game. Usually runs well into Saturday late afternoon.
October 15 – Sunday morning 10am
Play exciting games with Mendi (it was the two brothers until this past year), Matt and others in a no kill-shot atmosphere. Witness Mendi play for hours without dropping a single ball! With the later plane flights (see below), many players will have the entire day to play jai-alai – if they can hold up without needing a cane!

Jai-alai Heaven Court

Our event will include a stop at Jai-alai Heaven for some rubber ball action played in the baseball of a large church’s recreation center in Bloomfield, Connecticut – near Hartford. We usually play Thursday afternoons around 2:30pm for a 2 to 2 ½ hour performance with a great group of hosts. However, the airlines flight that we usually took – Southwest’s 8:55am non-stop to Bradley International is gone. Many players may be arriving earlier if they jump on the Jet Blue early Thursday morning flight like Rocco did a couple days ago and referenced in the text sent to about 40 players. The stop at Jai-alai Heaven was convenient as it was just 22 minutes from the airport and literally on the way heading south to the hotel and Matt’s Court. After the performance, our awesome hosts treat us to some great Hartford Pizza and some cold ones!

Other activities

The weather in Connecticut is perfect in mid-October. The pizza, especially in New Heaven, is among the best in the world. Many players head to New Heaven – only a 25-minute drive, on Friday for a pizza lunch. Frank Pepe, located in the shadow of Yale University, is one of the oldest and most famous pizzerias in the world. Other great pizza places in the area include Sally’s Apizza and Modern Apizza.

On Saturday evening, after the long 7-hour performance at Matt’s Court, players head to one of the two casinos – Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods – the two largest casinos in the world. These places are amazing with hundreds of restaurants, gaming and entertainment options.

What flights should you book?
Right now, Jet Blue is still offering an amazing nonstop roundtrip rate of $195 leaving Tampa at 6:26am and arriving Hartford at 9:13am. Returning flights leave at 12:19pm and 8:06pm. Taking the later light get you into Tampa at 11:05pm, giving most of Sunday to play more jai-alai or go sightseeing. That early morning flight gives you most of Thursday up in Connecticut – arriving at 9:13am. As Scott King noted the other day ago, Jet Blue charges no for luggage. Jest Blue does have seats like First-class and a TV in front of you.

Southwest has changed their flight times, with fewer non-stops. But they do allow you to change the flight or cancel it without losing the money and allows 2 pieces of check-in luggage. Those savings alone are $60 in charges on Jet Blue.

Where to stay?
One complaint the NJAA received on the last trip was that everybody ended up staying in a different hotel. Most of the hotels were all within a minute or two of each other and were booked as people found good deals or to match their budget.

Right now, the best rates are at the Quality Inn at $59 a night, Days Inn $66 a night, Super 8 at $68 a night and the Best Western Plus, a higher rated hotel is $84 a night. Fees not included.

The earlier you book, the cheaper the entire trip will be.

The official shirt will be the one we had in early June – as seen at the top of this article.
Right now, the NJAA has a few Larges, X-Larges, and XX-Larges in stock.
Shirts are still at the wholesale price of just $28 each. A new order will be placed if these shirts sell out.

BREAKING NEWS - "Matt The Mummy" passed away
Wednesday July 19th. R.I.P.

Ft. Pierce Season Ends.
Julio & Thomas tryout for Miami Jai-alai Contract.

Ft. Pierce, FL: As the Ft. Pierce Jai-alai season came to an end Sunday with NJAA stars Rocco and Belota on the roster, two more NJAA players had a tryout to make the Miami Jai-alai roster when it reopens in January, 2018. Julio and Thomas had a brief tryout on the Ft. Pierce court in front of Miami players manager Arra. Playing alongside them for the workout was two of Ft. Pierce’s top players – Erkiaga and Leo. In the photos above, Arra is in black, Thomas in purple and Julio in blue. There was no guarantees – just an opportunity. Last year, Julio was nipped out of the job for last year’s Ft. Pierce season by Rastock with Arra overseeing again. Miami will be closing for the year after next week and reopening in January. There apparently may be a storage of players with several current Miami players heading back home at the end of June.


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.


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
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
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

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:
Scott King
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)
Gorka (Woodill)
Kolt (Rastock)
Lugo (Gallo)
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!


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.


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


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:

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

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:

Cachin II 
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


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.


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.


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.


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


Greetings from San Francisco!

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