The two-month Dania Jai-alai Invitational Event is now over, with Urutia/Mandiola taking the championship by beating Iturbide/Oyhenard 21-12 late Saturday night in the finals. It was an exciting two months for the fronton, which had appeared to be destined to be a “hotel lobby” or something when it was announced jai-alai was over for good. Decent crowds and handle helped spark bringing lot of people into the building to watch some real exciting jai-alai action.
Jai-alai will return – likely on Friday, December 1, 2023 for at least another two-month season. Using the same format makes sense – its economical and avoids the “pesky” visa issues. We do know the owners were pleased with the results. Of course, a longer season would be desired, but not feasible in these days.
The accounting team will do a deep dive and produce their analysis of the two-month season so actually see if it was profitable or close to it.
On the players side, all the players (not heading to Magic City) have been invited back for next season. So far, only two players have indicated they cannot return. In the springtime, Benny will start actively scouting players to fill out the roster.
Here is a bunch of charts on the season of just about all the odds you could imagine (special thanks to Mo Crank of the SayHiLi Site for preparing these):
I had 35 years of experience and felt few knew more about the sport of Jai-Alai than I did. I played the game and promoted the game. I had worked my way up from PR Director into management. I still maintained close ties with all the other fronton owners and management. Plus, since coming to Dania Jai-Alai, I had established a good relationship with the mayor and other Dania city council members. How could Boyd Gaming not want me in their future plans? I would soon find out.
John Knox, Dania’s GM, and Clint Morris, our CFO, helped provide Steve Snyder with the “due diligence” information concerning the Boyd acquisition. I felt they had proved their worth to the incoming owners. I was really not certain the Boyd people even knew who I was, only that I was titled Assistant GM/ Marketing.
As we sat in that first meeting with all the Boyd execs, I looked around the table. Most wore sport coats, no ties. Chris Gibase, introduced as an Executive VP, had a wrinkled shirt, the tail slightly coming out of his pants. He looked somewhat disheveled. I liked Gibase instantly. I remember him saying to us, “Don’t worry, this is not our first rodeo. We have acquired many other casinos and properties; we know your concerns.”
Then, Keith Smith, Boyd’s CEO, began to lay out their plan. He said they wanted to build an entirely new casino/Jai-Alai facility in the rear of our parking lot. It would be state-of-the-art with approximately a $200 million price tag. “Jai-Alai would be integral to the success of the property,” he told us.
This was what John and I wanted to hear. Both of us still had a passion for the sport. We weren’t sure how Boyd felt about the sport itself. We knew if they viewed it as a valuable asset to their new investment, our combined experience of almost 75 years would prove invaluable to them.
Although the current regulations required Jai-Alai to be played in order to have a slot machine license, they could decide to put their money toward a new casino facility, leaving the old fronton as is. We weren’t sure if they would make the investment in the sport. It appeared their preliminary plan was to make Jai-Alai an attraction to the casino.
After the meeting, I was told that I was invited to dine with most of the visiting Boyd executives at the exclusive Hard Rock steak house that night. I was thrilled that they included me, along with John, Steve, and Clint. This would, hopefully, give me some facetime with the new owners.
Later that afternoon, there was a meeting called for the rest of the employees and players. This was Steve Snyder’s chance to announce the purchase to the full staff and introduce some of the Boyd execs. I remember one of our betting clerks asking Snyder what was going to happen to him. Her concern seemed genuine. “Oh, I will be around, don’t worry,” Snyder answered. I knew that wasn’t going to be true.
I remembered when the Collett’s purchased World Jai-Alai and Dick Donovan, World’s CEO, assumed he would “be around.” Dick even had a one-year consulting agreement. But, even with Dick’s political ties to Tallahassee and his delusions that Bennett and Benny needed him, he became invisible. They wanted nothing more to do with him after the purchase.
Now, Steve Snyder was a completely different individual. World Jai-Alai’s sale had many issues leading up to the actual closing of the deal. Donovan definitely was not a favorite of the new owners. However, Steve and the Boyd people seemed to have had a good relationship. You would have thought Boyd Gaming would have taken advantage of Steve’s contacts and experience.
One thing I have learned from being around these two transactions. New owners are basically arrogant. They have enormous egos. I remember Gibase’s words, “it’s not our first rodeo.” I’ve done this before, it’s now mine, and I don’t need you anymore. That is the thought process. Steve Snyder was around less and less, until very shortly he was not around at all.
The dinner that night turned out to be great for me. I sat right between Bill Boyd, the founding patriarch of the company, and his daughter Maryanne, who was an executive VP. They could not have been friendlier or nicer. They both appeared interested in everything I had to say. I was, of course, just trying to be charming, hoping they would remember who I was the next day.
Chris Gibase sat across from me, and it quickly became apparent he was the “operations guy.” Chris seemed to appreciate my background and experience. I was starting to feel a little better about the acquisition.
While I was hoping to hear more specifics about their plan, I found out they were eagerly awaiting the key legislation outlining the rules and the tax structure for the slots. This could determine the profitability and success of their venture.
My guess was that they were playing the odds that Governor Bush and the legislature would come around and decide on a tax structure that was fair to the state and the operators. Their $152 million was quite a gamble, not knowing in advance the tax structure. Adding another $200 million for constructing a new casino/fronton was an even bigger gamble. Would Bush and our politicians come through? Does Vegas ever lose? Only in Florida!
Berlin Connecticut will once again be the jai-alai capital of the world, with Matt DiDomizio staging a huge 3 day – all separate events of their own – tournament. The event will take place April 14-16, 2023, just as the weather starts to warm up in the Nutmeg state.
Each tournament will play to its completion the same day. Here is how it will work:
Extravaganza Jai-alai Tournament April 14-16, 2023
Friday, April 14th – 6:30pm
Spec 9 version of jai-alai – all played in Singles Games – Special Edition
$10 Spectator Fee for non-players
Saturday, April 15th – 10am
Doubles Day tournament
Partido’s to 9 points to determine playoff brackets
Sunday, April 16th – 10am
Partido Challenge Day
Sign up your team. Matt will match them up – OR –
Sign up 2 teams to make your own partido match
You only have to be there for your game
25-point Partido unless both teams agree to go to 21-point game
Kill shots allowed unless both teams agree to “no shots”
Play 1 Day – $25
Play 2 or 3 Days – $50
There will be a $100 insurance fee paid by April 1st to Register. The money is reimbursed when you play.
Deadline to Register is April Fools Day. No Late entries allowed.
Contact Matt for full information regarding that matter and all other details.
Dania jai-alai will conclude its successful “return” season this week. It will also feature the final partido’s to determine the winners of some nice prize money.
The crowds and handle have been decent, and the quality of play has been phenomenal. If you get a chance to get over there, do so, as it is must better live and in person than watching on a TV or phone screen. The season ends this Sunday with a 1pm matinee.
This season, Dania was able to be pulled off without the 16 or so young Basque players from Spain and France requiring expensive and time confusing visas or the necessary legal requirements to stay in the United States for two months because they are competing in a tournament and not actually receiving a salary. Their pay is based on a per diem allowance (a specific amount of money to cover living expenses when traveling) and prize money. It’s a once in a lifetime experience for these young men (some are 18 years old) to be able to come to America and play a sport professionally that they have been playing back home since little kids. On their off time (Sunday evening to Wednesday evening), some of the players have been able to sneak off to NYC or the Florida Keys for a visit.
There has been some more good news – Benny announced during a broadcast that there will be a “season” next year – likely the same format as this years – for 2022-2023 to run again in December and January. Those dates are now registered with the State. There is talk of adding the month of February and another spring tournament like last year, but nothing is finalized yet. Extending the season at least a month makes total sense – there’s far more tourists in town in February (even more in March) and breaking even or coming close to or making a small profit is certainly doable. At least its bringing people into the building. As I have said before, the owners like jai-alai, and they like Benny, and would love to keep it going.
Statistical charts complied by Straymar and his staff. You can visit his site at Sayhili.com.
Final qualifying statistics for the Dania Beach Invitational are shown in the charts below. Qualifying period was from December 1 through December 31 for the 2022-2023 Invitational. Points were awarded for Wins (5-pts), Place (3-pts) and Show (1-pt). The top (8) FC players and top (8) BC players qualified for the Doubles Partido Tournament in January 2023. The #1 point FC player is teamed with the #1 point BC player (Zulaika & Manci)……all the way down to 8th FC player paired with the 8th BC player (Etcheberry & Portet). See the brackets for the Doubles Partido Tournament on the SayHiLi homepage, which includes up-to-date match scores and the schedule for the remainder of the matches. Partido matches are after game 9 on Thursday & Friday nights and YOU CAN WAGER ON THEM (Game 10 Win Bets)!! If you can’t attend the live matches or watch from a simulcast site, you may be able to wager on them through watchandwager.com or mywinners.com if your state is approved for Jai-Alai wagering. Contact customer support for these on-line wagering services for latest info on state Jai-Alai wagering approvals.
Yesterday on the Dania Jai-alai broadcast, Benny and Big Dave Lemmon discussed the St. Petersburg Cancha during their broadcast.
You can check I out here.
Special thanks to George Quinn for sending it over to the Pelota Press. I was watching the NFL playoffs on TV all day Sunday and missed it. I also could have sworn I heard the announcer (who I had no idea was) close out Saturday nights performance as saying the next performance was this Wednesday. Oh well, we all have bad nights, like Dave LaMott did on Friday night! I’ll see you guy again this Thursday and Friday nights. Been a real treat to watch the past 6 weeks and its almost coming to an end. Benny has already mentioned about next year on the broadcasts, so one can assume it’s been a success like we predicted. How ‘bout some marketing next year Dania? Couple of billboards perhaps? Even send out some email updates to your own data base on jai-alai would help. too.
“Boyd Gaming will be issuing a public statement later this morning announcing the acquisition of Dania Jai-Alai,” Steve Snyder told us as we sat across from him in his 4th floor executive office, John Knox (GM) and Clint Morris (CFO) probably knew this already. John and Clint, having been with Snyder much longer than I had, were privy to some of Steve’s negotiations. Clint had to provide financial statements. John was Steve’s right-hand man in fronton operations. I was kept in the dark, only knowing there could be a sale… or maybe not.
Now, I was concerned with the first and obvious question that would pop into anyone’s mind with his announcement. What is going to happen to us? I knew that many companies, when sold, have an agreement to retain top management. This is not only to have a smooth transition, but, also, for the previous owner to protect his/her people, especially top management.
When I broached the subject with Steve, he said we had nothing to worry about. Boyd knew nothing about running a Jai-Alai operation and needed us. Jai-Alai was necessary to obtain the slots license from the state. They were still bound together in the statutes. “But there is no written agreement to retain anyone,” he said. So, we really had no safety net. This is not what I wanted to hear.
“I felt Boyd Gaming was the best fit for us,” Steve said. “It is a public company still run like a family business. I liked the top people, and they have an eye on expansion.” He, also, liked the price. When the financial press release came out, Boyd had agreed to pay $152 million for Dania Jai-Alai.
I was truly happy for Steve. He was a self-made man. He didn’t inherit money. He had risked it all on his purchase of the Dania and Milford frontons. When the pari-mutuel business in Florida started waning due to the lottery and other gaming choices, Steve hung in there, trying to revive the industry. Now, it was time to cash in. Out of all the casino companies in Vegas, he chose Boyd Gaming.
I had visions of us being bought by Steve Wynn, owner of Bellagio and The Mirage. Perhaps, MGM Grand, having had Jai-Alai as one of their attractions in the 1970s, would make the purchase. The Venetian, Circus Circus, Hilton, Caesars, Harrah’s… I could picture working for any of them. These were well known Vegas hotels. But Boyd Gaming? Never, ever thought of them. I never even heard of them.
I left Steve’s office, nervous, and somewhat disappointed. I quickly did some research on Boyd Gaming on my computer. I had about an hour before a meeting scheduled by the visiting Boyd executives and our top staff. They wanted to meet and brief us on the upcoming acquisition. Another meeting with all the employees and players was scheduled later that afternoon. The announcement was about to hit the wires any minute.
I quickly found out Boyd Gaming Corporation did begin as a family company with original founder Sam Boyd. Sam Boyd was a legendary figure in Las Vegas. He had worked his way up from pit boss to owning a small interest in the Sahara Hotel. He and his son Bill Boyd acquired their first casino, The Eldorado in Henderson, just outside Las Vegas, in 1962. The family expanded buying other casinos mainly in downtown Las Vegas.
One thing I noticed in my research was that the Boyd operations were known to be squeaky clean. They were very respected operators and were even asked to run the Stardust casino by the Nevada regulators after the current owners were being investigated for “skimming.”
Sam Boyd died in 1993 and was succeeded as CEO by his son Bill Boyd. That same year, the company joined the New York Stock Exchange and became a public company, offering stock to fund expansion. That was their history. I wanted to know what they had now, besides their sights on Dania Jai-Alai.
I quickly found out that they not only owned many of the downtown Vegas’s casinos but operated The Orleans Hotel on The Strip. Also, they owned casinos in Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas City, Illinois, Indiana, and Delta Downs Racetrack Casino. They, indeed, were big, yet I had never heard of them.
One of their prize properties was The Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. They were partners with MGM Grand. Borgata was known to be the nicest casino/hotel in Atlantic City. That got my attention, as did the final thing I read. Boyd had begun construction on a huge, $4.8 billion project in Las Vegas, touting four hotel/casinos with world-class restaurants, called Echelon Place. This would put Boyd Gaming at the top of the Vegas market.
Now, I was getting excited.
John stopped by my door and said it was time. Time to meet our prospective buyers. Our private meeting for the Dania staff was about to begin. I wondered who would be there, what they would be like.
Sitting behind tables set up in a large, almost rectangular shape, were a bunch of very friendly, smiling faces. And there were a lot of them. The CEO of Boyd Gaming, Keith Smith, welcomed us and began introducing people. First was the legendary Bill Boyd, now Chairman of the Board. Then, Executive VP, Chris Gibase, Mary Ann Boyd, Mr. Boyd’s daughter who was another VP. Then, the CFO, the VP of Acquisitions, and on and on. Lots of VPs. I realized all the top Boyd executives had made the trip to meet us and address the employees.
As I now look back on this first meeting and being a huge fan of the past television show, “The Office,” I realize the parallels of one particular episode. Dunder-Mifflin (the paper company in The Office) had been acquired by a printer company called Sabre. Employees were nervous.
Michael Scott, the boss, thought he would continue to run the office the way he had in the past. They sent a Sabre executive to Dunder-Mifflin with a slick corporate promotional film, narrated by actor Christian Slater, highlighting the wonderful attributes of Sabre. But, in the show, Sabre, also, brought with it a corporate handbook and its own, new corporate rules. Frustrated, Michael Scott asked to talk to Christian Slater. Of course, Slater was just an actor. And Dunder-Mifflin would never be the same. Would Boyd Gaming do to us what Sabre did to Dunder Mifflin? I was about to find out.
Rumors were flying around everywhere about who was buying whom. South Florida was finally in play for casino operators everywhere. From Vegas to Biloxi, the gaming industry saw Florida as the new Mecca for gambling. And Dania Jai-Alai had to be viewed as one of the most lucrative properties of them all.
Remember, we had over 50 acres of land, located five minutes from the beach, less than five minutes from the ever-growing Ft. Lauderdale airport, and 30 minutes from South Beach. Plus, we had Jai-Alai. Marketed right, Jai-Alai could make a resurgence with slots as the draw.
Dania Beach was this quaint, village-like town, which was known for its antique shops. Dania and Hollywood beaches had yet to be developed beyond small motels and shops. All that could change with Dania becoming another Monte Carlo. Who had the vision to make that happen?
What I did know, and I certainly wasn’t a genius to think of this, was the huge advantage of being first to open their casino. I remember Resorts International being the first to open in Atlantic City. Their casino made a fortune, the stock skyrocketed, and they established their brand first. Bally’s finally opened their casino, but it took years before anyone caught up with Resorts. I was hoping we would do the same.
Meanwhile, a couple of months had passed since the voters approved Amendment 4 and the local commissions had given their okay. But, neither the Governor, nor the Florida Legislature, had passed any statutes laying out the framework for the slots at the pari-mutuels. Remember, the people had spoken. The amendment said the legislature “shall establish the framework…” to permit slots, as laid out in the amendment. The opponents, like Jeb Bush and the other conservatives in Tallahassee had no choice.
I soon found out how our democracy really works. Since the amendment didn’t spell out an actual timetable, the politicians delayed taking action. Thus, we were helpless and had to just sit on our thumbs.
The press began calling us, asking when we were beginning construction, were we selling to a Las Vegas company, how many slot machines would we have. I could not answer any of their questions. I kept telling the reporters to please call Tallahassee and ask them why they were not following the Constitution. After all, this amendment was now part of the Florida Constitution.
Then, one morning, Nick Sortal, a journalist for the Sun Sentinel, made his routine phone call to me. Nick would call almost monthly to get updates on Dania Jai-Alai. He was really their pari-mutuel writer and a very nice guy. He usually asked, “How’s business?” Nick had always done his homework and knew business was still in an awful decline. But we had some unusually cold weather during our busier Christmas/ New Year’s period and our numbers were even worse than expected.
Nick had our records since attendance and mutuel handle are reported publicly every performance. So, I was honest with him and told him that due to the weather we were down about 20% from the previous year. We spoke about player stats, upcoming promotions, the usual. I hung up thinking we were fortunate to have Nick giving us free publicity.
Steve Snyder, the owner and my boss, is a very calm, reserved man. I had now worked for him for more than seven years. I played racquetball with him a couple times a week and lunch almost every day, Steve had never expressed anything but praise for my efforts. He treated me with the utmost respect and friendship. He had a very measured temperament. Until that morning.
“What in the hell did you say to Nick Sortal?” he yelled at me across his desk, angrier than I had ever seen him. I was stunned, hardly knew how to respond. I had read Sortal’s article and truthfully did not know what upset him.
“Steve, what was wrong with Nick’s article?” I replied. “He asked me his normal questions.” I have dealt with reporters for over 30 years and always tried to answer their questions. I had never lied to them. So, what was it that upset Snyder?
“You talked about how bad business is,” he went on. “This is not the time to do that. I don’t want you to speak to anyone about our numbers unless you clear it with me.” Again, I was shocked. I had not been restricted from talking to the media since my first year at Tampa Jai-Alai when Ernie Larsen wanted everything to go through him. Now, Steve was treating me like a rookie PR guy. Why?
I looked at him and apologized. I was just hoping to defuse the situation and get the heck out of his office. He quickly calmed down and finally said, “Just watch yourself, I am dealing with some delicate situations and can’t afford any bad press.” That was my first hint on what was going on.
When I went downstairs to the 2nd floor, I stopped by John Knox’s office, the GM and told him what had just transpired. He confided in me that Steve was involved in some serious negotiations, but he could not say any more. John was great and told me not to worry about it.
Later that week, John, Clint Morris (the CFO), Steve, and I went to lunch. Steve was his normal self and finally said that he was negotiating with a company exploring a possible sale. He would not reveal who it was. He said he was still undecided about keeping Dania or selling it.
After that, I began my own forensic investigation into possible buyers. Was it Steve Wynn of the famous Mirage? Rumors were where he wanted to be in South Florida. MGM Grand had shown interest as well as Donald Trump, who already tried and failed miserably in Atlantic City. It could be almost any company.
Then, researching more in Google, I saw a casino company I had never heard of but was expanding like crazy. It was called Boyd Gaming Corporation out of Las Vegas. Boyd Gaming owned The Orleans on the strip, many casinos downtown, and Borgata in Atlantic City. But, they also owned Delta Downs, a race track in Louisiana. That caught my eye. Casinos and pari-mutuels, a perfect combination.
I went up to Clint Morris, hoping he would give it away, and said, “Clint, I know who Steve is talking to about a sale.” “It is Boyd Gaming!” Clint looked at me with a straight face, giving no hint whatsoever and said, “I can’t discuss it, Marty.” If Clint was a poker player, he sure didn’t tip his hand. I guess I was wrong. Or was I?
Weeks went by, months went by. No announcements from Steve. Isle of Capri Casino in Biloxi announced they were buying Pompano Harness Track as part of their company’s expansion plans. Hollywood Dog Track was going to be Mardi Gras Casino. I could feel being “first” may be slipping away.
Steve still silent, no announcements… until one day when he called John, Clint, and I to his office. “I wanted to tell you first. They are arriving later this afternoon to address the employees. I’ve reached an agreement to sell Dania Jai-Alai to…. BOYD GAMING.” Vegas, Baby!
Benny Bueno Selections for 1st Round of Partido Tournament and Straymar Selections
Benny Bueno gave his picks for the first round of the Dania Partido Tournament which starts Thursday night, January 5 at the Dania fronton after the 9th pari-mutuel singles game. Anyone can hear the complete discussion on the tourney picks scoop by going to Dania’s YouTube Channel for the Sunday, January 1st games for the between games banter between Benny and announcer Dave LaMont. Note that Benny claims he’s really bad at picking winners and has given up on making predictions, however, here’s the summary of Benny’s first round partido picks along with supporting info.
Match 1, Thursday January 5, #1 Zulaika-Manci vs #8 Etcheberry-Portet
Benny’s Pick: Zulaika-Manci
Why: Zulaika is positive, optimistic and has kill-shots, when Jai-Alai takes the next step Zulaika will be part of the solution
Match 2: Friday January 6, #4 Iturbide-Oyhenard vs #5 Aaron-Laborde
Benny’s Pick: Iturbide-Oyhenard
Why: Iturbide is very positive, good on the court and aggressive, Benny doesn’t see Aaron as an aggressive kill-shot guy, players from Aaron’s hometown are “volley players”
Match 3: Thursday January 12, #3 Laduche-Atain II vs #6 Benetrix-Urbieta
Benny’s Pick: Laduche-Atain II
Why: Laduche is the hottest of the 4-players and Attain II is a perfect partido partner, Benny says that Benetrix is a bit outmatched by Laduche
Match 4: Friday January 13, #2 Bixente-Bailo vs #7 Urrutia-Mandiola
Benny’s Pick: Bixente-Bailo
Why: Bailo gives it everything he has, also notes that Bixente is a quiet guy off and on the court (guessing this means he won’t let his emotions get the best of him)
SayHiLi Team Assessments
Here are the team records by post position for the (8) partido tourney teams from the start of the meet (Dec 1) through January 1.
Now, here’s the money chart, showing the Post-Position Adjusted (PPA) Weighted Factor for each of the double’s teams. This special Straymar Player/Team assessment tool evaluated the limited team statistical data for how teams should have done based on the posts they had compared to how they performed from those posts and also has a weighting for WPS finishes which is similar to the 5-3-1 tourney points, but not exactly, however it’s an optimized weighting based on experience. You need a special security clearance for any more details on how Straymar’s exact PPA method is calculated, and those are harder to get than a government security clearance these days….ha-ha.
So, based on the above actual team data Team PPA Factors (last column), here are Straymar’s predictions:
Match 1: Seed 1 vs 8, Zulaika-Manci the clear advantage 24.2 to 11.6
Match 2: Seed 4 vs 5, Iturbide-Oyenhard the clear advantage 23.1 to 15.4
Match 3: Seed 3 vs 6, Laduche-Atain II the clear advantage 13.8 to 3.4
Match 4: Seed 2 vs 7, Bixente-Bailo the clear advantage 25.9 to 13.7
Note these selections are the top-seeded selections in each partido match as were Benny Bueno’s picks for these four first-round partido matches. Note however, with only 1-month of team data available, there are some issues here with limited data ranging from only 6-13 team pairings for pari-mutuel doubles games. Low data samples can result in flawed team assessments, and one would wonder about the Benetrix-Urbieta team rating of 3.4, which appears to be suspect.
There is another Straymar team evaluation technique which is based on the use of more available data. This involves the Individual Doubles PPA Weighted Method for the Front Court and Back Court player and averages their individual assessments/factors to get an Estimated Team Factor (ETF) or rating. Straymar performs this ETF (2) different ways; for ALL performances of doubles data to-date and for ONLY recent data (the last 12-performances of doubles data, the equivalent of 2-weeks of Dania performances).
Using only the last 12-performances of data for the team estimated assessment makes the Benetrix-Urbieta team a slight favorite over Laduche-Atain II so this could be a very interesting matchup and toss-up scenario for the wagering fans. This is mostly due to the much improved play by Benetrix in the last 12-performances compared to his season average performance in doubles games. Some additional notes of interest on Benetrix are two-fold. Benny mentioned in his between-game sessions on Dania’s YouTube Channel that Benetrix wanted really badly to play at Dania but the slots were filled, thus he was highly motivated. Johan was originally scheduled to play and backed-out from playing the Dania Invitational as he wanted to compete in a tourney in Guernica. Only minutes later after Benny hung up on the cancellation call from Johan, Benetrix called Benny to ask once more about possible openings and thus secured his position on the roster (it was like Benetrix was at Johan’s side when he called Benny to cancel from the Invitational). Also, the improved play by Benetrix in the second half of the meet is probably heavily related to breaking his cesta very early in the meet. Benny has given more details on the Benetrix cesta story several times during the YouTube banter with the announcers. Be sure you don’t miss out on the entertaining YouTube scoop from Benny twice a week (Fridays and Sundays) before the games start and in-between many of the games!
So, in conclusion, the FINAL SELECTIONS by Straymar are the top-seeded teams for Matches 1, 2 and 4 (based on 3-different methods), however Straymar is taking the Benetrix-Urbieta team in Match 3 on Thursday, January 12 based on recent last 12-performances.
Be sure to support both short-court and long-court Jai-Alai options in the USA to help keep this great sport alive and have a Happy New Year! Be sure to catch Magic City’s Battle Court Draft which is slated for Monday, January 9th (check jaialaiworld.com and social media for the draft start time, likely to be 7-pm like the last draft event).