cancha NJAA tjaa logo

Our Last few Performances Tue 12/18, Sat 12/22, Sun 12/23, Thu 12/27, Sat 12/29, Sun 12/30.
Next Performance Tue 01/01/19 5:30pm? (Usually Tue, Thu and Sun 5:30pm and Sat 10:30am).

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.

Taking Orders on Tournament Shirts - Only $25!

St. Petersburg, September 11, 2018: The NJAA is taking orders now on the new sharp looking tournament shirts.

These new shirts by Sport-Tek are light weight – only 3.8 ounces and made of 100% polyester tricot. The feature piping at the front and back shoulders and the sleeves. The sleeves are set-in with open hem. The new embroidered 2018 logo features the International Championship wording and Berlin, Connecticut on it – the site at Matt’s Court. There is no NJAA embroidered logo on it this time, so anyone can wear it! This help lower the cost to just $25 for these sharp looking shirts.

Pre-orders taken by the actual participants have already snagged up nearly two dozen shirts in a matter of minutes.

Please specify size and color – white or black when ordering. We will be placing the order for the shirts on Thursday, September 13th, so don’t snooze on this! The company that is making them does all the Hooter shirts and Pinch-a-Penny cloths in the country and has been making my company shirts for decades. They will take 1-2 weeks to be ready and can be picked up a courtside or delivered to Connecticut on October 25th. Or they can be picked up at my offices in Largo, Florida.

There really is a Jai-alai Heaven.

Bloomfield, Connecticut: August 31, 2018: Yogi Berra once said “It’s never over till it’s over”. Well, it’s now over for Jai-alai Heaven. And like getting sucker punched in the gut, it’s light out. Thank you and have nice day. For 34 years, the group that rented the bottom floor of a gymnasium have lost something that’s been part of their life for a long time. Like losing your wife of 34 years without any warning. As your reading this, the locks have already been changed on the building. It’s really over. And yes, while there is trouble in the Vatican, we have sad faces in Bloomfield. We all enjoy playing the greatest game on earth. It’s great exercise. It’s fun. It’s a stress release. An escape from he day-to-day BS we all put up with.

The guys played their final “performance” last night and then headed off to their favorite pizza place like they always do. But this time was different. They had to figure out what to do next. But we’re pleased to announce they have worked out a deal with Matt to play at his court on a night he normally was closed. A win-win for everybody.

We will see you all in late October, and congrats to all on working out a deal that sounds fair.

I guess there really is a Jai-alai Heaven.

90-year old Al Almada will have a new place to play at

Jai-alai Heaven forced to close after 34 years

Bloomfield, Connecticut: For nearly 34 years, it’s been a Jai-alai Heaven for a group of jai-alai guys that wanted some exercise and have fun playing a sport that was wildly successful in the area from the mid-70s for nearly two decades. After the three frontons in Connecticut closed -including their beloved Hartford Fronton, they at least could still play the sport. For the past few years they have been looking for more players as age and injuries has caught up to many of us. But now, they won’t be looking for more players. They have received notice that the church will not renew their month-to month lease. It will expire the end of this week – August 31st.

The huge St. Thomas Seminary Church is located in Bloomfield (just south of Hartford) and covers 80 acres of property. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford was founded in 1897 and this church was opened in 1930. It was originally intended as a place to learn to be a priest. In the rear of the property, they had a two level gymnasium. The downstairs was originally intended to be a place to play basketball, but was unused. The announcer at Hartford jai-alai then was a member of the church to be a priest and told guys like Bobby and Peter about the bottom level of the gymnasium as a possible place to play jai-alai. They went over and checked it out and agreed. They were able to rent the bottom floor for about $300 a month on a month-to-month basis. The basketball hoops were taken down, the walls painted and they were in business. They quickly rounded up a group who each put in some money every month to go there on an unlimited basis. This all started in 1985 – right in the heyday of jai-alai.

For years, the club had as many as 14 members and currently had 10. They use to ask each other “How long do you think we can keep playing?”. The question was not about having a lease, but on themselves holding up. Al, now 90-years young, played Tuesday night. Most of the others are in their 60s and 70s with a few “young” guys like Monti.

The church has announced they no longer wanted “strangers” on the property, meaning non-church going members. The upstairs was used by the YMCA and they were given the boot too.

The group is working on a deal to play at Matt’s court in Berlin, about 25 minutes away. There is a big difference in the court size and the ball used, but they are looking at renting the court for their group alone for a couple hours or whatever on a regular basis.

The last night they will play at Jai-alai Heaven is Thursday, August 30th. They actually have not been playing much lately because of the heat and humidity in Connecticut this month and the floor gets too wet down there in the basement. For the past 4 years, the NJAA has always made a stop to Jai-alai Heaven while attending the Connecticut vs. Florida tournaments and we will miss the great fun an hospitality the members gave us. We were scheduled to play there October 25th, but that won’t happen now.

Matt’s International Tournament two months away!

Berlin, CT: A record turnout of visitors is expected at Matt’s International Amateur Court Championships to be held October 26-27, 2018 in Berlin, Connecticut. Players from Mexico, Florida, Connecticut and Rhode Island are planning on participating. Early confirmations from the NJAA easily expect a record turnout of players and guests. Airfares have remained surprisingly low and the weather is expecting to be nice with the season’s change and all.

The closest airport is Bradley International, located just north of Hartford, is 30 miles away and about a 35-minute drive. There are plenty of moderately priced hotels near Matt’s court.

The tournament will be called the “2018 International Amateur Court Championships” with Arturo and Javier Salas expected to attend from Mexico. Players from Florida, Connecticut and Rhode Island will be attending. The NJAA will be sending its largest and strongest lineup ever in the 4-year history of the event. The tournament will be held on Saturday October 27, 2018. Friday night, the 26th will feature the Spectacular 9 Event which is held frequently up there with 9 point games and dozens of players expected to play from Connecticut and mixed in with the tournament players. The court will be also open Thursday around 5pm for several hours and then again on Friday midafternoon for open play exclusively for out-of-towners. The court will again be open early Sunday morning for open play.

The latest addition is the “real” Corky, the former Tampa Jai-alai frontcourter, who has been practicing at Puryear Park and expected to be one of the top players in the tournament. There is a chance former Newport Player Jai-a-Lou will play. He has lost a lot of weight from working out and is anxious to play again. His roster mate Denver is listed at 50% likely. Former Dania pro Garby will be there to play in open hours but not the tournament. Loren will be undergoing hip surgery in the fall and will be on the disabled list till 2019, or we could have had a “California” team coming.

The cost to play in as many open hours as you want, the Friday night Spec 9 Event, and the Saturday tournament again will be just $50.

Here is the Florida/NJAA Lineup as of now:

Scott K
David II
Corky H
Jai-a-Lou 30%
Denver 50%

Mexico team:
Arturo Salas
Javier Salas

Tournament Week 8 FINAL Results/Standings 08/07/18

"Magic" Mike pulls off last minute wins for Front Court Title
Scott King wins Back Court Title

Tournament Week 7 Results/Standings 07/31/18

Tournament Week 6 Results/Standings 07/24/18

Tournament Week 5 Results/Standings 07/17/18

Tournament Week 4 Results/Standings 07/10/18

The “Real” Laca visits a “fronton” for the first time since his retirement

Pedro Laca with Ft. Pierce player Julio          The “Julio” fan Club at Ft. Pierce Jai-alai

Ft. Pierce “Jai-alai”.  At least the statue is there!    Pedro Laca in the virtually empty fronton.

Bathroom at Ft. Pierce                    The court walls with damage

Laca with ALQ and former pro Danny                   Julio the announcer

Ft. Pierce: July 6, 2018: About three weeks ago, the real Laca and his wife got together with the “fake” Laca and Brian “The Boatman” to go watch some jai-alai at Ft. Pierce and to go see Julio out there. Pedro Laca had not been to a jai-alai fronton since his retirement decades ago and had no idea what to expect. Yes, things have changed. The fronton is dilapidated to say the least. No air conditioning, ceiling tiles falling off, bathrooms falling apart, the walls on the court are peeling from water damage. A small roster with singles games only. Maybe a hand full of people in the stands – all likely relatives of the players. Players then take turns being a ref or an announcer or scorekeeper. The handles have no money in the them, so that even if you win, the 25% is taken out of that because you are betting against yourself. There was some good jai-alai action at times, and Laca thought Julio played better than he had expected. The real fun was listening to the endless stories of the great days of jai-alai from Laca. One was about the partido held in Tampa that featured Laca/Joey vs. Boliver/Gorrono.

Speaking of Joey, he was going to join us for the weekend in Ft. Pierce but had to cancel at the last moment to attend a funeral in Montreal. There are plans for a reunion this fall in Dania and that would be an easy trip for Joey!

Tournament Week 3 Results/Standings 07/03/18

20-years ago today Tampa Jai-alai closed its doors forever (7/4/1998)

July 4, 2018: Tampa: Twenty years ago was a very sad day. It was the last day Tampa Jai-alai was open. The property was sold where a Home Depot now sits (a Sam’s Club was also on the property till it closed last year). Here are some pictures from that day and some faces in the crowd that you might recognize. Also pictured is bartender Devour making his last White Russian. Devour has been a waiter at Bern’s Steak House ever since. The camera used that day was one of the very first digital cameras on the market – a Sony 0.1 megapixel camera. Unlike jai-alai, the digital camera and the internet has made huge strides in the past twenty years.

Click to see pictures in our Archives

Trophies for the 2018 NJAA Summer League

These are high grade trophies with the Jaialai Player made out of metal and not cheap plastic.

Tournament Week 2 Results/Standings 06/26/18

Tournament Week 1 Begins with 1 hr rain delay.

Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!
The NJAA Tuesday night Summer League starts 06/19/18

St. Petersburg, FL: The NJAA is starting its first ever league night this Tuesday night that will run for an 8-week session and feature a handicap scoring system to give everyone a chance to compete. A sold-out field of 14 players quickly signed up for the event that will give 1st, 2nd and 3rd place frontcourt and backcourt players a trophy to the winner and some decent bonus cash. The event starts Tuesday, June 19th and runs through August 7th. If there is a rainout(s), the event will continue the following Tuesday night(s). A practice game will start at 5:30pm with the event officially beginning right after that. Players are welcome to practice anytime before that. The regular open play on Tuesday night will be suspended till this event is over.

Players will have the choice of 3 balls to use, a slow, medium and fast ball. The games are to 15 points with players each playing in 5 games a night and will be asked to ref or keep score in the 2 games they are not playing in. See details above for the complete rules.

Here are the player recaps and odds to win the event (remember this is a handicapped league and anyone can win) :
Front Court: Mike, Levi, Brodie, Cody, Ricky, King, Rule
Back Court: Anthny, ScottK, Laca, RickB, Belota, Chip, Cachin

Anthony - 6 to 1 The league organizer and one of the greatest amateur players in the country. When the bell rings, you can never count this star player out when he is healthy even with a low handicap to go against him.

Belota - 7 to 1 The big guy is clearly are hardest thrower out there a la Ibon with his throws getting clocked at over 100 mph. The former Orlando and Ft. Pierce pro player is roaring and ready to go. If he catches well, look out folks.

Brodie - 7 to 1 Former national amateur champion is a complete player looking for his first breakout event win. He’s currently in 3rd place in the standings and certainly has a great chance to walk out with a trophy and some green. Handicap will hurt him a bit.

Cachin - 5 to 1 Former pro player has recovered remarkably well from cancer and is clearly playing the best jai-alai in a long, long time. Throws hard from both sides and is catching very well. He will be going home with a trophy without a doubt.

Chip - 14 to 1 The big guy will have to turn up his play to have a chance. This isn’t a normal Meatball performance where a 6-bagger gets you nothing but Meatball points in your average . Just make sure he doesn’t eat all the meatballs.

Cody - 12 to 1 Still an young and upcoming guy, Cody will learn a lot from experience in this event and playing in a non-Meatball performance. He has been improving lately and has an outside chance at a trophy.

King - 4 to 1 In no time at all he has gone from a borderline high “C” player to a borderline low “A”. No more bad serves and the ball hardly pops out anymore. He’s been playing 33 years now and everyone will now get to see how much he has improved.

Laca - 12 to 1 Aging player is far too inconsistent now and hears lots of booing from the Sea Cow in the stands. After having a good season last year he is following it up with one of his worst in several years, but does get wins in big events.

Levi - 12 to 1 Another young player that will gain a lot of experience in the event. Still has a chance to compete and may be a good bet to throw in your trifecta bet.

Mike - 6 to 1 The Magic Man is certainly trailered for this court and will be in the run for a trophy and some much needed cash. He’s the official statistical man of the NJAA will have the games all programed and ready to go.

Rick B - 7 to 1 The Jai-alai Guru is also a big trash talker which we have no problem with but he did run into trouble with the NJAA last month. Things have been worked out, and in all honesty he’s catching better and throwing harder. Good chance to win.

Ricky - 6 to 1 The ex-pro is as good of any player out there, but has played very little this year and when he does play has showed some rustiness. Expect a slow start and then a run at the end to compete for a prize. Those nasty serves will do it for him.

Rule - 7 to 1 The NJAA leader last year and this year means a low handicap which may hurt him in the field of 14 players. Will be interesting how he competes with the handicap and non-Meatball games. Still one of the best players out there.

Scott K - 6 to 1 Former Tampa star rarely tries hard out there in the Meatball performances. He’s trying to help the weaker players all the time but when the bell rings at 5:45 Tuesday, he will out to play hard. He’s the “Justify” of the NJAA.

Seminole King will win the event with Cachin coming in second. Who comes in 3rd and 4th ? Box those other two with Anthony, Scott King, Mike and Ricky and you will hit the Superfecta!

Good luck to all! The players trophies will be out there on the 3rd Tuesday to look at. Prize money will be announced at that time, too.

Cancun Amateur Jai-alai has Promising Potential

Cancun, Mexico: Cancun is best known as a tourist destination and spring break headquarters. As the easternmost city in Mexico and with its close proximity to Florida and the United States, Cancun is certainly a great place to visit. With year-round great weather and a nightlife second to none, few will argue with that. For jai-alai players, it may soon be even a better place to visit.

Two old large Frontenis courts, located in downtown Cancun, halfway between the airport and the beaches, are now being used as amateur jai-alai courts. A group of a dozen or so successful businessmen including Arturo and Javier Salas can be seen playing out there on a regular basis. Since acquiring hard plastic balls from the NJAA, they have been happy campers out there with some big plans in place.

Frontenis is a sport that was developed in Mexico around 1900 and is accredited as a Basque pelota specialty. The court is 30 meters long (98.5 feet approximately), 10 meters high (32.7 feet) and 10 meters wide. There was also about an 18 foot long out of bounds area. For many years, the sport was played only in Mexico, Spain, Argentina and a few other countries, but it now played in 18 countries worldwide. One player of the pair hits the ball with the racquet towards the front wall. The ball must strike the playable surface of the front wall and return to the playable area of the court. Like jai-alai, the opposing layers must strike the ball before it bounces a second time on the floor of the court. The sport demands great mobility, skill, physical agility, mental agility, coordination and requires lots of training.

In Cancun and Mexico, there are courts throughout the country. The lower part of the front wall’s out of bounds area is lower in Frontenis than in jai-alai by several inches.

For those courts in downtown Cancun, they are owned by the government and located next to a baseball and soccer stadium. Big plans are in store for the place with new roofing, painting, detailing, netting and improved guest seating. There was also a lounge/bar located on the premises where players can be seen enjoying a cold Mexican beer and other beverages. With the high walls, plenty of room around the area, Arturo and Javier Salas of the Senor Frog/Fat Tuesday’s (among other high-end restaurants) team, along with the other players out there, some great potential to make this a premier amateur jai-alai destination and home of international tournaments are in store.

One of those players out there includes Eduardo Jaramillo, who played pro many years in Mexico City, Tijuana and was on the Las Vegas roster in 1979. This great group of guys are working on the big plans now and hope to reach an agreement with the officials soon. By the way, the place is also well lighted, though they mainly play in the daytime.

Tuesday Night Summer League - Starting June 19th

St. Petersburg: May 23, 2018: Starting June 19th the NJAA is proud to announce a league that will last 8 weeks that all players are able to participate in and compete. Anthony Sutton is the director of the league operations. Prizes and trophies will be announced shortly. Starts 5:45pm on Tuesday nights and runs for 8 weeks. In the event of a rainout, the season will be extended till 8 performances are in the books.

The 2018 NJAA Summer League will be a point based league that is handicapped to give every player an equal chance of winning. Everybody's handicap will vary depending on a mathematical formula that utilizes a players average points, player abilities, and win percentage over a two year period. This handicap will be dynamic, which means it may change a little week to week depending on how that particular player played the week before.


Players points are recorded each game. The players handicap will be added to those points each game. There are bonuses for winning and placing. Two additional points for winning, and 1 additional point for placing.

Upon signing up for the league, the player must specify front or back court. Some players may have to be switched to accommodate both positions. If need be, late registrants will be swapped first. If you miss a week, your teammate will have to play solo and your scores will be 10 points less from your average like bowling does.

The following have signed up for the full roster of 14:
Scott K
Rick B

International Amateur Jai-alai Tournament at Matt’s October 26-27

Berlin, Connecticut: There will be a big international amateur jai-alai tournament held at Matt’s court in Berlin, Connecticut this coming October 26-27th. Organizers hope to draw players from all the amateur courts in North America and beyond. Formats and more details will be released when it becomes finalized. In a text blast to the NJAA roster last week, Anthony and Belota have already signed up. Players are advised to sign up and book the flights and hotel early to save money. New shirts are under development and the NJAA should be taking orders in the next couple of weeks.

This will be the 5th tournament held at America’s best amateur court which was opened by former pro player Matt DiDomizio several years ago. We really want this tournament to be the best one yet, so sign up!

Scott King Sun Block

St. Petersburg, FL: May 22,2018: First it was the "Scott King Wall". Now it is the "Scott King Sun Block". No, its not a lotion. It’s a large 9’ x 20’ wind screen that has been installed above the back wall. It was put up by Scott with the help of Belota on May 10th. While the purpose is not to block the wind, it will block out about 70% of the sunlight. This will help us out on rebotes, where the ball often gets lost in the sun above the short back wall that is facing the west. While it really has not been tested with the cloudy rainy days we have been experiencing the past week and a half, it should help out during the time the sun is close to sunset nightly.

Scott reached into his own pocket for this, so anybody who can help chip in any amount - $5, $10, $15 it would help. Scott is always looking to improve the "hometown" court when he can. Thank you in advance.

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.

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?


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.



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.


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

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