Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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Re(4): Strike flyer

Posted on March 28, 2005 at 05:35:17 PM by TommyK

IJAPA 1988, thanks for coming on to try to explain the other side of the story. I would like to ask you to supply more specifics, however, if you be so kind.

First, you list as one of your grievances that as a professional jai-alai player, your contract prohibited you from riding motorcycles or playing other sports. However, Major League Baseball contracts contain the same prohibitions, and they have the strongest union in the United States negotiating their contracts. This is why Jeff Kent said he broke his hand washing his truck a couple years ago when he actually broke it in a motorcycle accident. And the Yankees were able to void Aaron Boone's contract last year because he tore up his ACL playing a pick up basketball game. It seems fair that a professional athelete should not engage in risky activities.

Second, you cite the constant threat of losing your contract from year to year. I can only base my conclusions on watching the players at the CT frontons from year-to-year, but it seemed there was very little turnover in those rosters except due to retirements. In fact, the greatest change was when 17 of the best players in Bridgeport, including Bolivar and Cachin and Lasa, decided to leave Bridgeport in 1983 to go play in a fronton in Madrid that never opened. Can you give us examples of players who got the shaft and were sent home to Spain or fired? How many of the 500 players did this happen to?

The Players Managers at each and every one of the frontons were Basque. Were they the ones responsible for imposing 'unfair labor conditions' on their fellow countrymen and American players as well? Up until the strike, only a very small minority of American players were ever offered a contract.

As for players having to go home after leaving the fronton if they played in the early or middle games, I know for a fact that there were state gaming rules that required just that. In order to protect the integrity of the game, this rule was in force so that players could not come into contact with the public while wagering was still going on during that performance. This rule was changed in later years, but it was not a fronton rule, but a state law.

This is very interesting, and your input is appreciated.


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