Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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Posted on December 20, 2005 at 07:14:23 PM by From The Inside

From time to time we take a look at Tiger's site (BTW - thank you Tiger for your continued efforts), to see if anything positive has been written, or if a correction is made when misinformation is passed along as fact by someone with malice, who is clueless and who sits anonymously and takes pot shots at the frontons, their managers & owners.

There are very few retractions. Recently two amateur players showed-up at the doors of Ft. Pierce Jai-Alai after reading on this site that "tryouts were being held" at Ft. Pierce. This was never true; it never came out of either Miami, or Ft. Pierce. Whoever wrote this simply lied and I imagine got a good chuckle, while those of us who are accused of not caring felt sorry for those who had made the trip.

Previous comments about Miami Jai-Alai, re: "taking the insurance money and running", also turned out to be completely wrong. In fact (for anyone who knows anything about commercial INS.) Miami began repairs with its own money and waited for a partial reimbursement from ins. while the whole claim is being worked out. Does this not represent some level of dedication on the part of management / ownership? So were the estimates of the length of time that the repairs would take. What was conservatively estimated to take three months was accomplished in a little less than three weeks. This was due entirely to the efforts of the management and ownership of Miami. Was any credit given - no. Are there still leaks on the court, yes. The idea was to get things up and running as quickly as possible, so the roof repairs are ongoing - when it rains, it leaks. A comment was made about Miami's simulcast area & comparing it to the one at Ft. Pierce. Miami jai-Alai can only take Dania Jai-Alai, Trotters and Thoroughbreds after 6 pm & it runs live 6 days a week. Its simulcast dollars are limited. Ft. Pierce on the other hand runs simulcast year-round and can take every type of pari-mutuel event.

Now back to Ft. Pierce. There is a miss print in the article which was reposted here. Ft. Pierce Jai-Alai will open on January 6th for a 3 (THREE) MONTH SEASON. Comments regarding number of performances needed to run simulcast are misleading in that this change in law did not apply solely to Ocala, but to all pari-mutuels. Pari-mutuel facilities can operate simulcast operations as long as they run at least 40 live performances every other year.

As for operations at the fort - it is kind of like the Nixon administration in terms of leaks. Should pari-mutuel facilities make all of their operational plans part of an open forum? Simply put - No. They are private businesses with either investors, or sole owners who have extensive sums of money invested in the operations. Is the restaurant at F.P. going to be closed? Yes and no. The area will be open, but a different type of fair will be served. Why? Annual losses over the past 10 years - that simple.

The information about the size of the roster, games played how management intends to 'spin' the information will all be discussed herein, some of which will be totally wrong. Look at all of the frontons and their dates of live operation. Look at the numbers of available players. Key word 'Players.' People were screaming "Bad - evil management" for not giving guys who shall remain nameless out of respect to them, contracts. Three of them sued. They played. The results speak for themselves. If (and it will be disclosed soon enough - not soon enough for many of you who are just waiting to rip it apart) the roster and format of games is not to the public's liking, they have done the best they can with respect to available players and litigation in mind. Management has done its best. There is a national & international shortage of Backcourters. There is a new fronton operating year-round. For many of you this means that it is time for anyone who can catch and throw the pelota to dawn a jersey, salute and play. Does anyone remember Garry in 1988, who stepped off of the plastic ball court at North Miami and into a contract at Palm Beach? The simple truth is that none of us want this, even if it does mean radically changing our format. Things like form, court positioning, and power, catching and ball control still stand for something. Jai-Alai is one of the few games where nearly everybody who can catch and throw at least 8 balls in a row - think that they are owed a contract. If they don't get one, they sue and force management into even more restrictive, 'by the book' hiring policies.

It is not a good time in American Jai-Alai. You don't have to try out, we watch so we can see the real you - attitude, arrogance, temper and all of the professional qualities mentioned above. No one has all of the answers. But rest assured we are doing the best that we can within our means. We are far from perfect. Miami Jai-Alai turns 80 this year - that means it is an 80 year old building. Expensive as all hell to maintain. There is no illuminati plotting the demise or raping of the sport. Some of remain in the field only because of the sport itself. As for the pot shots at the Colletts, Snyder & Soper - they could have taken off a long time ago, but they have not.

While the 'slings and arrows' of poorly informed opinions will still come as they always do, please try to keep one thing in mind. From Jack Carr - Operations Manager at Ft. Pierce, (W.B. Collett Jr. is still GM and Stu is still the Asst. G.M.) all the way to ownership of each fronton. We all have a vested interest in seeing things succeed. So thanks to you all for your interest and support - even to those of you w/o anything positive to say - at least you are saying something.


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