Jai-Alai Chalk Talk Hall of Fame

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Re(1): Bolivar and World Jai Alai

Posted on September 3, 2009 at 03:53:36 PM by 4decadepro

Over the years this question has come up several times. As I have stated in the past the answer isn't really about competition nor was it about ego. Having played in Miami 10 years then moving to Tampa for 16 years, watched and played with all the names you mentioned, also played at Hartford 3 years with the mixed Miami/Tampa roster...the answer is really simple. Although WJA realized the popularity of Bolivar in Tampa, that alone would not have stopped them from bringing Boli to Miami with thoughts of adding millions to their revenue. But once I went to Tampa, not only spoke with Boli and other Tampa players also, what a difference I witnessed in the camaraderie of the atmosphere of the locker room, players managers and front office. They were like family there and it wasn't easy to break them away. Beitia hung on to his players with a fierce loyalty and the players loved him for that. In the 10 years I played at Miami only 6 players transferred between Miami and Tampa. Five players from Miami (Gorostola, Joaquin, Rufino, Arteta aka Pedro at Miami and myself) went to Tampa while only 1 player (Gerny aka Guerrica at Tampa) went to Miami. A couple of years after I arrived in Tampa, Elorrio was sent to Miami from Tampa.

After 10 years at Miami, Frank Duffin and Miami players manager Alfredo Garcia wanted to send me to Ocala/Ft. Pierce and Hartford. I lobbied hard to be sent to Tampa because of my experience playing at Hartford with Beitia and his laid back attitude with his players and after weeks of heated talks with Miami, Richard Donovan settled it and opened the door way for me to get to Tampa. Recently I ran into Alfredo at a players function in Miami. I thanked him for driving me out of Miami because fortunately for me I told him it extended my career another 16 years by getting out of the bad mix of inner politics going on at Miami. He wasn't quite sure how to handle my cynical remark. I'm sure he thought I was at the end after 10 years at Miami.

BTW, not only did the move do wonders for me, but Gorostola, Joaquin and Arteta went from early game players at Miami on the ropes with no confidence to become late game players at Tampa that were tough to beat.

I spoke with Mark Beiro on this subject. As head of PR and announcer he was very much involved with inner management meetings on this subject. He sat in on a WJA management meeting in 1978 about sending Remen and Juaristi to Tampa for Jesus and Echeva going to Miami. Beitia opposed it so not to break up his family and Alfredo opposed it because he felt Jesus and Echeva were a competitive threat to Joey, Asis, etc because they both had already demonstrated the ability to beat his Miami 'boys' in prior tournaments.

Whatever...the simple answer is Bolivar had no desire to leave Tampa to go to Miami. Life was so good right where he was.


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