Our Last few Performances Thu 04/21, Sun 04/24, Tue 04/26, Thu 04/28, Sun 05/01, Tue 05/03.
Next Performance TBA (Usually Tue, Thu, Sun).
FUNERAL FOR GARY WENCE
SAT 04/23/16 3PM - 5750 49th St. N.
Visitation from 1pm-3pm for any Jaialai members
and/or friends of family.
Memorial Park Funeral Home Obituary
Video Memorial of Gary by Memorial Park Funeral Home
04/04/16 Our condolences to Gary Wence family
The NJAA is offering our condolences to Gary Wence family. Gary was found dead this morning
by his son. Wence was 57 years old and cause of death to be determined. Gary was a huge jai-alai fan and played
amateur at Tampa jai-alai for many years, and played at Puryear park on occasion.
His last appearance was July 23, 2013. He attended the Merry Festival Party at Laca’s
just two weeks ago as seen in 3 photos on the website at the party. He appeared to be
fine and looked the best he had been in years.
REUNITES JAI-ALAI LEGENDS - BRINGING BACK MEMORIES & PERHAPS A “CLOSURE” TAMPA JAI-ALAI NEVER HAD
March 19, 2016: Seminole, FL: It was truly an emotional event you had to be there to believe. One ex-player posted on Tiger’s site calling it a “Miracle” and “a highlight in my life that I won’t forget”. Over two dozen former jai-players, management and personnel attended a reunion party at the Laca Museum in Seminole, Florida for a true “Merry Festival” event. Some of the greatest jai-alai players in Tampa Jai-alai history all got together – some for the first time in 25-30 years.
An amazing 7-course Spanish meal, complete with paella and a jai-alai cesta as the center piece, was prepared by Chef Thomas Fillmore and our wives. Homemade sangria and an open bar with bartender Ronnie Martin from Ruth Eckerd Hall handled the liquid stuff. Valet attendants handled the parking for the crowd of about 80 for the 8-hour blast that went past 1am with live betting from Dania jai-alai at the conclusion.
The party was slapped together in just a 3-week period after J Laca and Thomas ran into Tom Contreras and Eusebio at the “grand opening” of Dania jai-alai February 26th . The ever popular Eusebio (who still plays jai-alai with Bolivar on a regular basis) was making a rare USA visit from Spain and plans for a reunion quickly materialized. With a jai-alai museum on site, it was an easy decision on where to host the party.
From triple crown winners to the announcer, it felt like you were at Tampa Jai-alai all over again. And as Randy posted, it was “one of the most exciting, emotional and successful reunion parties I have ever witnessed”.
The highlight of the event was the former announcements from famed ringside and jai-alai announcer Mark Beiro who introduced - over the in-house DJ sound system - each player, one by one, onto a staged walkway to much applause, happy cheers and fanfare. Each player received a highlighted career introduction before entering the packed main lobby of the museum.
Also in attendance was Harry Kayian, the principle who is ironically trying to bring back Tampa Jai-alai. The plans for a massive 30-acre, $600 million complex in the USF area are ongoing. The complex would feature jai-alai, a jai-alai Cigar City Brew Pub, nightclubs, various restaurants including a Morton’s Steak House and much more as part of a huge entertainment complex. The main problem now is acquiring the Tampa pari-mutual license, now dormant and owned by our friends in Miami.
The event then moved to the movie theatre room where live betting on an 80” TV with Dania Jai-alai took place for the 8 game card. Everybody received a program custom made for the event. Nobody had much luck on the night at betting on the Dania performance, unfortunately! The few winners were paid on the spot with Ricky Hernandez handling the ticket punching once again.
As our star amateur player Anthony said at the close of the event, this might have been the closing Tampa Jai-alai never had.
The following were in attendance….
Tom Contreras, Mark Beiro, Marty Fleishman, Aramayo, Aitor, Coya, Daniel, King, Goitia, Mondra, Sorriano, Rufino, Eusebio, Durango, Kosca, Art, Lively, Achotugio, Arambarra, Renedo, Ricky, Denver, Paul B,
Williams, Amias, Galla, and Randy
The following were confirmed to come but were not in attendance…..
David II, Corky, Eloridiata, Pablo, Arri, Guerena, Cruz
The following were listed as a “maybe” but were not in attendance…..
Dennis, Brock, Javy, Jimbo, Radstock, Zulika, Chris, Lou
One player was confirmed to come, but had to cancel….
Laca (the real one, not me!)
Non jai-alai related personnel who had to cancel….
Eddie Cardieri (former USF head coach), Wade Boggs (Hall of Famer who has attended other parties)
The following amateur players were in attendance….
Anthony, Rule, Julio, Paul H, Gary, Thomas, Durango (from the 1970s)
HAPPY NEW YEAR - 2016 BEGINS
CONNECTICUT ROMPS FLORIDA IN ROUND 2
Berlin, CT: There’s nothing like good old home, sweet home. It was Déjà vu in Hartford. Team Connecticut got total revenge on Team Florida, by taking the overwhelming majority of the games played at Matt’s Court this past Saturday afternoon. The action-packed amateur jai-alai palace was rocking with major league-like jai-alai action for 6 hours Saturday afternoon. The huge amateur court, clearly the best one in the USA (if not world), all played out as advertised to the seven NJAA making the 1,250 mile trip to the Harford area for some jai-alai action against the best.
The NJAA odds makers nailed this one correctly, giving 3 to 1 odds that Florida would win in St. Pete, and 2 to 1 odds that Connecticut would win in Hartford. A couple of prime challenge games ended on the final point possible with Matt’s boys winning both of them. The NJAA players ran into a pretty solid roster of great players in Connecticut, which included their roster players mixed in with other players who did not make the trip to Florida. Players like Geno (who scratched late from coming to Tampa Bay), John B, Mason, Joe P, Marcos, Barry, George Z, Tony all coming “in the money” Saturday afternoon. Other star players on their roster included Mace, Yezik, Leo, Fred, Johnny No No, and Will. The guys that came to Florida - including Carlo, Matt, Monty, Jacques all played much better on their home court.
The long performance was actually scheduled to have 20 games, but was cut back to 15 with original games 8, 9, 17, 19 and 20 getting canceled. After the game, many players headed to Mohegan Sun, one of the two largest casinos in the world – both located within an hour of Matt’s court.
The event was such a huge success that everybody was already talking about doing this again soon.
Saturday Championship Performance 12:20pm
Game 1 – 11 points
1 Castanos/George Z
Game 2 – 11 points
2B Barry/George Z
Game 3 - 11 points
Game 4 11 points
Game 5 11 points
4 Tony/George Z
Game 6 11 points
Game 7 11 points
1 Barry/George Z
Game 8 7 points
1 Mace/Mason/Rocco/Scott K
2 Julio/John B
6 Mason/Joe P
Game 9 7 points
2 Julio /Matt
3 Gino/Scott K
5 Matt/Joe P
6 Marcos/John B
Game 10 15 points
1B Rocco/Scott K
2B Geno/Joe P
Game 11 11 points
Perfecta 1-2. CT wins 11-10.
Game 12 11 points
1 Marcos /John B
2 Rocco/Scott K
Perfecta 1-2. CT wins 11-10.
Game 13 11 points
1 Geno/Joe P
2 Julio /Rocco
Perfecta 1-2 CT wins 11-5.
Game 14 11 points
2 Scott K/Anthony
Perfecta 1-2 CT wins 11-2.
Game 15 – 15 points
1 Julio/Scott K
3 Geno/John B
Jai-alai Heaven Trip
The trip also included an exciting trip to Jai-alai Heaven. Yes, there is another court in the Hartford Area! Jai-alai Heaven has been around for almost 30 years now. The court is run by a fine group of gentlemen. It was built on February 11, 1986 and was originally in the basement of a multi-level gymnasium. At first, it was a basketball court for priests. There were six jai-alai junkies that came up with an idea of turning it into a private jai-alai court. A lot of steel was moved and the walls and floor were painted. A “players” cage was added and a front cushion. Some of the founding members include Al Almada, Peter Pizzoferrato “Dr. Evos”, Bob, and Mike. Members playing included Paul, Sergio “Mr. Sako” and Tommy. The play was awesome with Rocco putting on quite a show with his hustle. After the 2 ½ performance, the group, headed by Club President Bob Discipio treated the gang to some excellent pizza (sorry we can’t get good pizza like this in Florida!) and sodas.
Thursday night practice
The Florida 7 then played another 2 hours at Matt’s court to get adjusted to the much larger court.
Friday night Special Spectacular 9 Performance
On Friday night, the players then played a long 5 hour plus performance with several of Connecticut’s players matching up with the Florida 7.
Here are the trifecta winners:
Game 1 Castanos. Laca. Benny. 3-5-1
Game 2 Carlo/Thomas. Benny Jacques. Frank II Warren. 3-2-1
Game 3 Frank II/Jacques. Dale/Taylor. JK/Isais. 6-1-4
Game 4 Marcos/Thomas. Carlo/Taylor. Benny/Isais. 2-3-1
Game 5 Leo/Jacques. Johnny No No/Laca. Benny/Isais. 4-2-1
Game 6 Will. Carlo. Thomas. 7-4-1
Game 7 Carlo/Yezik. Castanos/Joe P. Marcos/Scott K 6-4-2
Game 8 Geno/Anthony. Mason/Scott K. Rocco/Fred 1-4-6
Game 9 Matt/Monty. Geno/John B. Julio/Anthony. 8-6-5 Note: I wonder what this would have paid in real jai-alai?
Game 10 15 single points CT 15 FL 4
Game 11 15 single points Team 2 15 Team 1. Game featured a mixture of 16 top players. Winner included Rocco, Joe P., Mace, Leo, Mason, Monty, Matt, Anthony.
Game 12 Geno. Mace. Matt. 3-1-7
Game 13 Joe P., Scott K., Julio. 6-2-1
Game 14 Geno/Joe P. Mason/Will. Mace/Anthony. 2-4-3
World’s oldest Jai-alai player
Special mention needs to go to Al Amada! This guy will turn 88 next month and plays jai-alai on a regular basis at Jai-alai Heaven as the co-founder of the court. He was also at the performance Saturday and donated an awesome collection of jai-alai balls getting made that will go on display at the Laca Museum next week. Thanks Al!!!
Anthony The Great
If Anthony calls Thomas, it shows up on his phone at Anthony “The Great”. This might be truly certified when one of Connecticut’s top players (we will keep it personal) told Anthony after the performance he was “the best backcourter on both courts”. Quite a statement from a guy that was truly amazing out there. It was like watching pro jai-alai for sure. Maybe Anthony can be claimed the best amateur in the United States now? But one thing is for sure, his company needs to speed it up and build the Laca court, so we can learn the bigger court and go up there next year and get a win!
ROUND 1 GOES TO TEAM FLORIDA
OFF TO CONNECTICUT FOR ROUND 2 THIS WEEKEND
St. Petersburg, FL: There’s nothing like “Home, sweet home”. And when it comes to quirky Puryear Park, that’s certainly the case. Team Florida took both championship games on a warm, sun-splashed Saturday afternoon in St. Petersburg in front of a crowd of 60.
The event opened with 9 exhibition games, with several players teaming up from both Connecticut and Florida. All of those 9 games were won by a team from Florida. The Championship Roster Challenge, which featured a Jai-alai Championship Cup to the winning state was played in Game 10. The game, to 21 straight points had a unique format never tried before on the court. The NJAA was playing out of Post 1, while CAJA played out of Post 2. There were 4 teams in Post 1 and 3 teams in Post 2. Scott K and Rocco played Matt and Monty out of Post 2. The winning team would stay on the court, while the losing team would go in a round robin rotation with their teams. The NJAA team followed with Julio and Anthony, Chip and Laca, and then Castanos and Thomas. The CAJA team was followed by Carlo and Frazier and Rule and Jacques. Rule was playing in place of David II who was playing in place of Geno, who was scratched from making the trip to Florida. The NJAA dominated with ScottK and Rocco scoring the most points and then winning by a 21-10 score.
The NJAA vs CAJA Singles Championship was won by Julio with Rule and Scott K coming in a tie for second place. The Singles Backcourt Championship was won by Rocco with Connecticut’s Monty coming in second. Laca and Anthony came in 3rd. The ex-pro game was won by Scott King, with Rocco coming in second and Denver coming in third (tying with fill-in Eric M). The Game 15 Team championship game was easily won by Julio and Anthony with 21 points. Matt and Monty, an impressive team, came in 2nd place along with Rule and “The dinosaur of all players” Jacques. The 70-year old was playing well at the end of the event, catching everything, and proving to be an inspiration to others to never give up.
The event now heads to Connecticut on Thursday. The 8 Florida players will head up. The first stop will be Jai-alai Heaven and then to Matt’s court for some practice Thursday evening. There will be a Spectacular 9 Event Friday night ($10 admission required) and then the big event on Saturday afternoon. Odds are in favor now for Team Connecticut to score and win on their home court, which is certainly more player-friendly than Puryear Park. The event will be broadcasted live on the CAJA website. Click Here for LIVE FEED and replays of tournament.
An 8-year old plays
A typesetting error by the graphic designer of the program had Anthony Sutton listed as 8 years old. He is actually 38 as the graphic guy “Sparky” missed a full copy and paste of the “3”.
Players drinking manager
Team Connecticut even had their own “Players Drinking Manager” in attendance, with the title on the back of his shirt! He also attended the Laca party Saturday night and the Bucs-Falcons thriller on Sunday.
No Zebras .
The NJAA was unable to secure any referees for the event, despite several attempts during the past month to find some volunteers. Not one response. Pitiful and embarrassing. The zebra shirts were left behind and never made the trip..
To those that bought a program, got a delicious cheeseburger or hot dog from our volunteers who kept all the proceeds for help setting up..
For December, it was warm – nearly 10 degrees above normal with a high of 82 degrees. As expected, the sun did play an issue on the rebote’s in the later games.
The Saturday night event featured a party at the Laca Sports and Jai-alai museum with over 40 people attending. Among those in attendance was Randy aka “4 Decade Pro” who made his first appearance. We are glad to announce he is heathy again after a rough bout with stage 3 cancer. Goitia was there, Denver, along with several NJAA players including the first time ever visits for Eric L and Chris “The Kid”. Magic Mike attended for the first time at the new Seminole location. The entire Connecticut entourage was there including the players drinking manager! The Laca museum was expanded by 240 square feet and included a massive expansion of jai-alai. There was live poker and blackjack and then a midnight boat ride to John’s Pass in Madeira Beach for the remaining lucky 15 attendees.
Jai-alai players can eat a lot!
The party had 7 extra-large pizzas and 5 antipasti’s delivered in 3 separate stages and were sucked up within seconds. These guys can eat!!!
The Sunday event included attending the Bucs- Falcons game in the Club at Raymond James Stadium with the NFL’s first draft choice coming through with an amazing last minute drive for the win.
Florida vs. Connecticut Amateur Court Championship Round 1
Saturday December 5th - 12 noon
Click for Full Program
Dania Jai-alai tentatively scheduled to open January 1st
Dania, FL: For those New Year’s Eve partiers, you might want to take it easy that night. Though not officially announced, Dania Jai-alai is hoping to open their doors on Friday night, January 1st. As you can see in this photo taken about a week ago, the walls have been painted a dark blue. Right now workers are installing a brand new black floor with an all new wood for the out of bounds area. You can envision an all new look for jai-alai never seen before. In about a week, we will post new photos of the court progress.
We do want to stress that this planned grand opening has not been announced by Dania officials, and that that date is subject to permits and approvals. If you have ever dealt with “stuff” like that, you are well aware of planning any definite date is about as unpredictable as Florida’s weather - as to gaining full approval to open your doors. Plus, this is on the heels of the holiday season and officials do take vacations around this time. And we are dealing with a massive $65 million dollar project. Even if the date is not met, it should be shortly thereafter. We will post more details on that grand opening date in the middle of December.
So, if the grand opening is the day after New Year’s, you might want to take it easy that night to avoid a nasty hangover!
Tournament shirts to be available shortly
There is a new shirt coming out for the big Connecticut vs Florida championship. It will feature the NJAA logo on the front, and a newly designed logo for the event. That new logo will go on the right sleeve.
The shirts are available in all sizes and are available in either white or blue. The 8 championship players all will be wearing the blue ones during the games in St. Pete and Connecticut.
These are the proofs of what they will look like on the shirts.
The first ever Connecticut – Florida Amateur Court Championship (Matt’s Court vs. St. Pete) is right around the corner!
Round 1 December 5th @ 12 noon St. Petersburg’s Puryear Park
Round 2 December 12th @ 12 noon Matt’s Connecticut Amateur Jai-alai Court, Berlin CT
Castanos aka PCast
Friday night practice, December 4th at approximately 7pm with the Connecticut players
Friday night social event, December 4th – Dinner TBA, Derby Lane?
Saturday night social event, December 5th - Laca museum – casino party
Spec 9 Event, Friday December 11th Matt’s court in Connecticut @ 6:30pm. $10 admission
Saturday night social event, December 12th – Mohegan Sun Casino
Bye Bye from Orlando Jaialai!
No More Orlando Amateur Jaialai or Professional for that matter. Read it and weep.
City denies jai-alai court expansion – most other repairs approved
The City of St. Pete met with NJAA officials Friday to discuss the expansion and renovation plans. One of the main plans involved knocking out the existing front wall and expanding the court by about 18 feet to the next “racquetball” ball court wall. The city flatly rejected those plans, but have approved most of the other plans including court resurfacing. For a review of all plans, see story below this one. There is no timetable set for the renovations, but we will keep you posted.
JAIALAI PARTIDO PONG V1.1
Another Magicmike Program
NOW AVAILABLE (Updated 02/05/12)
Also available on CNet's download.com