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NFT: Whatever happened to Jai-Alai?

short lease : 5/16/2019 6:58 am

Not sure if I am spelling that right. IIRC, In the late 70's (early 80's?) - it was a very popular spectator/gambling sport. CT had a least 2 arenas(?) - Bridgeport and Hartford. Then it seems like it just disappeared.

I remember it was also popular in Miami.


Not sure what made me think of it but, I was wondering if everybody went bankrupt or there was some scandal - and then everyone went bankrupt?

Whatever happened to Jai-Alai?
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I high school  
pjcas18 : 5/16/2019 9:21 am : link
I used to sometimes skip school and go to Milford Jai alai (much nicer than Bridgeport which was not far from Father Panic village) and Hartford, and we'd bet the matinees.

Also they never checked ID so we'd get the $2 beers.


good times.
The Rise and Fall of Jai Alai  
Motley Two : 5/16/2019 9:31 am : link
.
Link - ( New Window )
RE: Jai alai  
short lease : 5/16/2019 9:34 am : link
In comment 14445881 pjcas18 said:
Quote:
is still around, I bet it at Mohegan Sun every time I'm there.

It's mostly in Florida.

I was betting Magic City, and thought I hit a trifecta, turns out I was watching a different fronton on the little TV.

one of the f-ing problems with drinking and gambling.
Fronton - that's it. I was calling it an arena ... : ). I forgot all about the Milford one PJ. Still alive and well in Florida ....

Drinking with anything always ends up bad ... Always made me stronger than I was, Braver than I thought, Richer than my account statements would indicate .... and smarter than Einstein. ; )

Thanks pjcas18
Thanks Motley ...  
short lease : 5/16/2019 9:40 am : link
.
Actually it's pretty simple ...  
River Mike : 5/16/2019 9:45 am : link
One word … casinos. My brother plays every week with some of the former pros at the Hartford fronton, and he knew Buddy Brerenson, the owner. I don't know about some of the other stuff mentioned, but a simple look at the timeline shows clearly that the decline of the sport coincided with the opening of the casinos. Berenson petitioned the state to allow slot machines in the fronton but was declined. He closed not long after.
RE: Jai alai was involved in one of Whitey Bulger's more notorious crimes  
short lease : 5/16/2019 9:48 am : link
In comment 14445878 Greg from LI said:
Quote:
A man named Roger Wheeler bought World Jai Alai in 1978. What he didn't know was that Bulger had associates in the company who were skimming a lot of money. Once Wheeler began to figure it out, Bulger had him killed. Link - ( New Window )



Thanks Greg -

“Shame on you Mr. Bulger,” he said. “For all your notoriety, you are a punk.”

How is that for click bait? .... : )
RE: Jai alai  
River Mike : 5/16/2019 9:53 am : link
In comment 14445881 pjcas18 said:
Quote:
is still around, I bet it at Mohegan Sun every time I'm there.

It's mostly in Florida.

I was betting Magic City, and thought I hit a trifecta, turns out I was watching a different fronton on the little TV.

one of the f-ing problems with drinking and gambling.


My brother also bets it at Mohegan Sun … but he doesn't drink :)
RE: Actually it's pretty simple ...  
short lease : 5/16/2019 9:54 am : link
In comment 14445918 River Mike said:
Quote:
One word … casinos. My brother plays every week with some of the former pros at the Hartford fronton, and he knew Buddy Brerenson, the owner. I don't know about some of the other stuff mentioned, but a simple look at the timeline shows clearly that the decline of the sport coincided with the opening of the casinos. Berenson petitioned the state to allow slot machines in the fronton but was declined. He closed not long after.


Actually that makes sense Mike. All of the biggest gamblers I knew growing up (including some family members) were the ones who always discussed and raved about it.

I am not sure the timeline is that precise but, why go to Jai-Alai (which was kinda like going to "the track" imo) when the casino would offer you multiple ways to "double" your money?

Where does your brother play? Are there still places to play .... besides Miami?
Surprised  
Bill2 : 5/16/2019 9:55 am : link
Jai Alai was a Patricia Family ( Providence and North Boston/Lynn/etc) enterprise. Along with their frenemies, the Whitey Bulger led Winter Hill Gang ( Until the FBI closed in whereupon Whitey famously ratted the North Boston and Providence families out).

Wheelers demise at the hands of Bulger and Steve Flemmi has been covered in several shows/films
.  
Bill2 : 5/16/2019 9:56 am : link
Greg covered it
RE: Surprised  
short lease : 5/16/2019 10:03 am : link
In comment 14445936 Bill2 said:
Quote:
Jai Alai was a Patricia Family ( Providence and North Boston/Lynn/etc) enterprise. Along with their frenemies, the Whitey Bulger led Winter Hill Gang ( Until the FBI closed in whereupon Whitey famously ratted the North Boston and Providence families out).

Wheelers demise at the hands of Bulger and Steve Flemmi has been covered in several shows/films


I believe you meant Patriarca .... not Patricia? Patricia is to feminine to call a mafia crime family ; ). Maybe it is just me ... but, I would have went with another name besidies Patricia.
RE: RE: Actually it's pretty simple ...  
short lease : 5/16/2019 10:08 am : link
In comment 14445934 short lease said:
Quote:
In comment 14445918 River Mike said:


Quote:


One word … casinos. My brother plays every week with some of the former pros at the Hartford fronton, and he knew Buddy Brerenson, the owner. I don't know about some of the other stuff mentioned, but a simple look at the timeline shows clearly that the decline of the sport coincided with the opening of the casinos. Berenson petitioned the state to allow slot machines in the fronton but was declined. He closed not long after.



Actually that makes sense Mike. All of the biggest gamblers I knew growing up (including some family members) were the ones who always discussed and raved about it.

I am not sure the timeline is that precise but, why go to Jai-Alai (which was kinda like going to "the track" imo) when the casino would offer you multiple ways to "double" your money?

Where does your brother play? Are there still places to play .... besides Miami?


Sorry - saw that you said Hartford Fronton ... during my 2nd reading ... didn't realize that building was still there and available.
Yes  
Bill2 : 5/16/2019 10:30 am : link
sorry for the typo
RE: Yes  
Greg from LI : 5/16/2019 10:32 am : link
In comment 14445993 Bill2 said:
Quote:
sorry for the typo


I'll bet autocorrect got ya
I remember  
Pete in MD : 5/16/2019 10:39 am : link
Newsday used to publish the daily results from Milford and Hartford in their micro-print Sports Results section. Somewhere between harness racing at Aqueduct and high school lacrosse scores.
Besides the obvious  
pjcas18 : 5/16/2019 10:47 am : link
gambling allure, Milford Jai-alai was a pretty fun place to hang out for a night.

back then if you were in high school or just out of it (technically had to be 18, but I was there regularly from about 15 on) and didn't have a ton of money you could bet $2 quinella's drink the $2 beers, have a couple hot dogs for $30 of entertainment.

and if you won, that was huge, sometimes we'd get three or four of us and pool our money and get a trifecta box or an exact box and every once in a while we'd hit for a few hundred.

It was a fun place to go though and much more value for your money (which you usually lost) than the casino.

the game, when played well, was also very fun to watch. they called it the fastest sport or something like that.

Many of my friends and I tried it out a few times - next door to Milford jai-alai was amateur jai-alai and it was pretty hard to master, but also fun to play.

I'd love to see a jai-alai comeback.
RE: Yes  
short lease : 5/16/2019 10:58 am : link
In comment 14445993 Bill2 said:
Quote:
sorry for the typo


No need to apologise Bill. I knew who you meant ... I was just messin'.

: )
minor thoughts  
Bill2 : 5/16/2019 10:59 am : link
Agree pjcas. I was a fun sport to watch. but even at 12 years old I could tell some tank jobs when I saw it.

Few of us in the NYC/Philly area realize just how strong the NE crime gangs got in the 70's and 80's.

Especially in Rhode Island. Amazing level of corruption in the state legislature and judiciary. There was a time when 4 straight acting Supreme Court Justice of RI got taken out by the Feds for corruption. Several Mayors and legislators as well.

Hartford, Springfield, Somerville, Lynn, parts of Boston, Bristol, Bridgeport...in the 70's the organized crime as a percent of penetration into businesses and LE and legislature seemed to exceed our beloved NYC
RE: minor thoughts  
pjcas18 : 5/16/2019 11:01 am : link
In comment 14446043 Bill2 said:
Quote:
Agree pjcas. I was a fun sport to watch. but even at 12 years old I could tell some tank jobs when I saw it.

Few of us in the NYC/Philly area realize just how strong the NE crime gangs got in the 70's and 80's.

Especially in Rhode Island. Amazing level of corruption in the state legislature and judiciary. There was a time when 4 straight acting Supreme Court Justice of RI got taken out by the Feds for corruption. Several Mayors and legislators as well.

Hartford, Springfield, Somerville, Lynn, parts of Boston, Bristol, Bridgeport...in the 70's the organized crime as a percent of penetration into businesses and LE and legislature seemed to exceed our beloved NYC


Oh yeah, it was fixed. We knew all the players then too and who were the better players (in Milford). Cruz, Badiola, Fo, and when they "dumped it" as the favorite the crowd responded.

Some crazy good athletes among them.

but we mostly bet numbers anyway.
RE: Besides the obvious  
short lease : 5/16/2019 11:04 am : link
In comment 14446026 pjcas18 said:
Quote:
gambling allure, Milford Jai-alai was a pretty fun place to hang out for a night.

back then if you were in high school or just out of it (technically had to be 18, but I was there regularly from about 15 on) and didn't have a ton of money you could bet $2 quinella's drink the $2 beers, have a couple hot dogs for $30 of entertainment.

and if you won, that was huge, sometimes we'd get three or four of us and pool our money and get a trifecta box or an exact box and every once in a while we'd hit for a few hundred.

It was a fun place to go though and much more value for your money (which you usually lost) than the casino.

the game, when played well, was also very fun to watch. they called it the fastest sport or something like that.

Many of my friends and I tried it out a few times - next door to Milford jai-alai was amateur jai-alai and it was pretty hard to master, but also fun to play.

I'd love to see a jai-alai comeback.


+1 ... You are right PJ. It was a fun night out and cheap. Why am I thinking 1.00 hot dogs? Does that ring a bell?

Somebody once told me that - the ball was as hard a a pool cue, will do a lot of damage if you got hit by it, and ... if you were down there in the cage and saw it coming at you (for the first time) - your first instinct would be to duck and not try to catch it. It moves so fast.
RE: RE: RE: Whatever happened to Fay Wray?  
Bill L : 5/16/2019 11:09 am : link
In comment 14445803 Milton said:
Quote:
In comment 14445768 short lease said:


Quote:


In comment 14445748 Milton said:


Quote:


That delicate satin draped frame.




lol ... you made me laugh Milton. Jai-Alai was in color ... The ole FW in Black and White.

Don't dream it, be it - ( New Window )


I got it immediately. Was surprised others answered literally, but they're probably normals and didn't spend every freaking Saturday midnight in line to buy tickets and throw toast.
RE: Whatever happened to Fay Wray?  
schabadoo : 5/16/2019 11:13 am : link
In comment 14445748 Milton said:
Quote:
That delicate satin draped frame.


You confused me. I immediately thought of Flash Gordon in silver underwear and started throwing toast.
RE: RE: RE: RE: Whatever happened to Fay Wray?  
short lease : 5/16/2019 11:24 am : link
In comment 14446060 Bill L said:
Quote:
In comment 14445803 Milton said:


Quote:


In comment 14445768 short lease said:


Quote:


In comment 14445748 Milton said:


Quote:


That delicate satin draped frame.




lol ... you made me laugh Milton. Jai-Alai was in color ... The ole FW in Black and White.

Don't dream it, be it - ( New Window )



I got it immediately. Was surprised others answered literally, but they're probably normals and didn't spend every freaking Saturday midnight in line to buy tickets and throw toast.



I'll be honest - it went right over my head. It made me laugh because I thought he was busting my balls for bringing something up that was around so long ago (Jai-Alai) ... and Milton was exaggerating that point with a film star from the 40's or the 30's? I am not even sure when Fay Wray had her powers?
RE: RE: Actually it's pretty simple ...  
River Mike : 5/16/2019 12:06 pm : link
In comment 14445934 short lease said:
Quote:
In comment 14445918 River Mike said:


Quote:


One word … casinos. My brother plays every week with some of the former pros at the Hartford fronton, and he knew Buddy Brerenson, the owner. I don't know about some of the other stuff mentioned, but a simple look at the timeline shows clearly that the decline of the sport coincided with the opening of the casinos. Berenson petitioned the state to allow slot machines in the fronton but was declined. He closed not long after.



Actually that makes sense Mike. All of the biggest gamblers I knew growing up (including some family members) were the ones who always discussed and raved about it.

I am not sure the timeline is that precise but, why go to Jai-Alai (which was kinda like going to "the track" imo) when the casino would offer you multiple ways to "double" your money?

Where does your brother play? Are there still places to play .... besides Miami?


Yes, he plays at an amateur fronton. Don't know exactly where, but it is here in central CT
Connecticut use to have frontons  
Knineteen : 5/16/2019 12:08 pm : link
in Bridgeport and Milford...only 15 minutes apart from each other. The Milford fronton was massive. Grandparents use to tell me the entire place would be full in the 70's and 80's. Going myself in the 90's, the place was completely empty.

Casinos have pretty much killed Parimutuel betting. The two CT casinos led to the closing of Jai-Alai and both dog tracks in CT.
To clarify  
River Mike : 5/16/2019 12:12 pm : link
I see by my original post that it could be read that he plays at the Hartford fronton. What I meant was that some of the guys he plays with were pros at the Hartford fronton.
RE: To clarify  
short lease : 5/16/2019 12:35 pm : link
In comment 14446172 River Mike said:
Quote:
I see by my original post that it could be read that he plays at the Hartford fronton. What I meant was that some of the guys he plays with were pros at the Hartford fronton.


ok ... I read it again and thought they were playing at the old Hartford Fronton. I was surprised to hear it was still around.
Still as popular as ever  
GruningsOnTheHill : 5/16/2019 12:35 pm : link
in Tijuana. There is a huge arena on Ave de la Revolución.
RE: minor thoughts  
MOOPS : 5/16/2019 1:10 pm : link
In comment 14446043 Bill2 said:
Quote:
Agree pjcas. I was a fun sport to watch. but even at 12 years old I could tell some tank jobs when I saw it.

Few of us in the NYC/Philly area realize just how strong the NE crime gangs got in the 70's and 80's.

Especially in Rhode Island. Amazing level of corruption in the state legislature and judiciary. There was a time when 4 straight acting Supreme Court Justice of RI got taken out by the Feds for corruption. Several Mayors and legislators as well.

Hartford, Springfield, Somerville, Lynn, parts of Boston, Bristol, Bridgeport...in the 70's the organized crime as a percent of penetration into businesses and LE and legislature seemed to exceed our beloved NYC



It's still old school on Atwells Street (Federal Hill) in Providence.
Maybe because, as others have said, it was completely fixed  
BillT : 5/16/2019 1:31 pm : link
Every point of every game fixed. And they were allowing gambling on it! Yikes!
RE: Still as popular as ever  
shyster : 5/16/2019 1:33 pm : link
In comment 14446214 GruningsOnTheHill said:
Quote:
in Tijuana. There is a huge arena on Ave de la Revolución.


I wouldn't plan a trip around that.

Quote:
Jai Lai is no longer played in Tijuana, however the Jai Alai building is a Tijuana landmark. Today its used for concerts, Luche Libre (Mexican pro wrestling) and other events.

mexbound - ( New Window )
pjcas18  
Marty866b : 5/16/2019 1:48 pm : link
I used to own a sneaker business in Bridgeport and go to the Jai-Alai fairly often. I chuckled when you mentioned Father Panic Village in Bridgeport. I used to play basketball in the projects there and though it was extremely dangerous, no one ever bothered me there because I owned the neighborhood's favorite sneaker store. I believe Father Panic Village was torn down years ago. Some of the local players who played there were John Bagley, Wes Matthews,and Charles Smith.
I also grow up with those dudes ....  
BCD : 5/16/2019 8:00 pm : link
I lived in PT and on Stafford Ave tough area...My brother played with Walt Luckett the greatest high school player ever. they were state champs when I was a freshman at Harding...Luckett avg 40 pts a game his sr yr. We never went there we were big Bridgeport Jets fans who had a great wr name Tinker...Wes was a kid but Danny Teal was the man back then along with Langston.
very interesting thread -  
Del Shofner : 5/16/2019 8:13 pm : link
I never went to jai-alai or bet on it but I went by the Milford fronton many times and always wondered about the sport. Didn't realize the whole New England organized crime connection. Remember the George Higgns book "The Friends of Eddie Coyle"? Great book about a low level mob guy in Boston in the '70s; became a movie with Robert Mitchum. Makes me think of that.
MOOPS  
Bill2 : 5/16/2019 8:56 pm : link
Had dinner on Atwell Ave 10 days ago. Massimo's. Old school and terrific
Del, this is from Newsweek in 2010  
Bill2 : 5/16/2019 9:04 pm : link
basic thesis of the article: "Is Rhode Island the most corrupt state"

"Vincent "Buddy" Cianci, Providence's longest-serving mayor, is the most prominent example for outsiders. He returned to the state in May 2007, after serving more than four years in a federal prison for a racketeering-conspiracy conviction (in other words, running a criminal enterprise out of City Hall).

Former governor Edward DiPrete also spent one year in jail after pleading guilty to 18 corruption charges that he took bribes from state contractors while in office. The Ocean State tradition of political scandal isn't limited to executive officers—just look at the legislature and court system. Former speaker of the House and chief justice of the state Supreme Court Joseph A. Bevilacqua resigned in 1986 during impeachment proceedings, in which investigators alleged that the then-judge had strong ties to the mob."

If you looked it up it goes on and on. Makes Albany look clean.
RE: not sure about the sport  
jgambrosio : 5/16/2019 9:14 pm : link
In comment 14445788 mattlawson said:
Quote:
but the beer is great. cigar city ipa.

Beat me to it
Bill - crazy stuff.  
Del Shofner : 5/16/2019 9:21 pm : link
Going back a couple of generations I had family living in Providence but that was before my time and I don't really know Rhode Island. I did have a case that tangentially involved Bridgeport CT and the mayor there who went to jail, then came back and got re-elected. "Southern New England," sheesh.

On the other hand, there is white clam pizza, a major contribution to the world ...

Anyway, this jai-alai thread has me remembering Connecticut days from long ago. As I said, I always wondered what jai-alai was all about, and now I know.
Well then  
Bill2 : 5/16/2019 9:36 pm : link
You are probably aware of the mid Conneticut area habit of steaming their hamburgers? in the 80's there were several places famous for it

Its a 1800's way of cooking them via steam that got out all the fat. Of course it got out the taste and left the burgers an ashen grey. To me, the meat was texture and the taste was cheese and ketchup.

New Haven has a place that claims the tradition was invented there but I forget the name of it.

Anyway, if you ever head to Boston or the Cape via 95, stop for lunch or dinner on Atwell Avenue as it goes through Federal Hill. Better than Archer Avenue when Archer Avenue was Archer Avenue
Good talking to you Del  
Bill2 : 5/16/2019 9:38 pm : link
Hope you are well
RE: Good talking to you Del  
Del Shofner : 5/16/2019 9:41 pm : link
In comment 14446710 Bill2 said:
Quote:
Hope you are well


Yes, back at you. Long story but I'm in a Boston firm now (in their NY office but I'm up there a lot) so keep the NE restaurant recommendations coming ...
BCD  
Marty866b : 5/16/2019 9:44 pm : link
Do you recall the sneaker store in the indoor mall downtown? I owned it there for 13+ years. I used to sell to Walter Luckett also. Bridgeport had some great basketball players. Many of them amounted to nothing due to drugs.Bagley,Matthews,and Smith all played for Harding H.S.(Charlie Bentley was the coach) and had long NBA careers. I believe all three still live in Bridgeport to this day.
Whenever you'd take the train from Manhatta to  
Phil in LA : 5/16/2019 9:45 pm : link
New England, you'd roll past that huge Jai Alai billboard.
RE: Well then  
Del Shofner : 5/16/2019 9:45 pm : link
In comment 14446709 Bill2 said:
Quote:
You are probably aware of the mid Conneticut area habit of steaming their hamburgers? in the 80's there were several places famous for it

New Haven has a place that claims the tradition was invented there but I forget the name of it.


Louis' Lunch in New Haven, but it wasn't invented there. At least according to legend, it was invented in Middletown at Jack's Lunch.
RE: BCD  
Del Shofner : 5/16/2019 10:04 pm : link
In comment 14446713 Marty866b said:
Quote:
Do you recall the sneaker store in the indoor mall downtown? I owned it there for 13+ years. I used to sell to Walter Luckett also. Bridgeport had some great basketball players. Many of them amounted to nothing due to drugs.Bagley,Matthews,and Smith all played for Harding H.S.(Charlie Bentley was the coach) and had long NBA careers. I believe all three still live in Bridgeport to this day.


This has me flashing back to Super John Williamson from Wilbur Cross.

Drugs impeded or took down so many great hoops players in those days.
RE: RE: RE: Actually it's pretty simple ...  
Chocco : 5/16/2019 10:20 pm : link
Quote:

Yes, he plays at an amateur fronton. Don't know exactly where, but it is here in central CT


CT Amature Jai Alai
It's in Berlin in an old industrial building

CT Amature Jai Alai - ( New Window )
Yes, yes  
Bill2 : 5/16/2019 10:35 pm : link
I forgot the names of those places. I had at Jacks in Middletown but missed Louis Lunch.

Thanks
Kenny Mayne Jai-Alai video  
Chocco : 5/17/2019 5:50 am : link
video from a couple years ago
Kenny Mayne Plays Jai-Alai - ( New Window )
I still eat at Lou's Lunch  
pjcas18 : 5/17/2019 8:57 am : link
every now and then when I get back to New Haven (which is rare).

Burgers are delicious and unique, but take forever. and if you like ketchup forget it

served only on white bread toasted.

every cop in new haven comes in there on weekend nights and cuts the line.

and it's right across the street from Bar, which now somehow has really good pizza, sells by the slice, and no wait usually.
My Grandfather..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 5/17/2019 9:46 am : link
had cousins who were jockeys at Monticello and he had cousins who were Jai-alai players. He regularly made money by knowing what was going to happen. We'd go to the track, and he'd talk to his cousin and then head up to the betting window. And after the race, he'd go back up to collect his $$$. I only went once to jai alai because it was pretty far away, but he ended up winning over seven hundred dollars.

He used to say that if you won a huge amount, the tellers would call people to let them know. I don't know if it was true, but he could've won a lot more and never did to avoid the attention. He also picked different windows to place bets at. Before cameras tracked everything!!
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