Will link to directly below for those of you who don't want to read my blather below. Sorry, but I really do love these Basque games and sometimes must wax, if not eloquent, then at least...wax.
I have changed the structure of the blog reports I do regarding Dania's weeks. There are now some items that look at the week's play in a slightly different way. Hopefully you will find them, if not useful, at least entertaining. I am still doing the weekly winner breakdown and game by game, but am a bit behind in that area because of the changes. As you know, I am a partido guy, but there is something almost addictive about Quiniela Jai Alai, its intricate nature and complexity. I try to imagine going to work each day, changing my shirt 5 times, playing with the same people but in almost infinite permutations. I imagine that a single mistake will send me to the end of the bench, and I might not get another chance in the game. So I won't make a mistake. Hah! The thing that I love about partidos is that you can watch players get into a rhythm, put together a strategy, lose 15 to 20 points and still win a match.
None of that in Quiniela. Eric Irastorza once famously said that the Quinielas prepared him for the Partidos in the old country. They focused his concentration on every ball. The penalties for mistakes are harsh in quiniela. You are banned from the game. And might not get in it again. And he appreciated what the "pooles"did for his game.
For that reason, I have taken to concentrating on what is happening day to day. Not for wagering purposes, but rather to watch the length of one team's baseball season unfold in two weeks. There is literally an 84 game pennant race in one week. Tiger tells you who wins the pennant every week. I'm trying more to look at who wins the day, and how. I have learned that winning a quinela game, when you have 7 opponents, is a very special thing. Most days nobody wins more than two. 3 is excellent. 4 is fantastic. The results are pretty much the same as the ones Tiger gives you. There are no real surprises. When you realize that winning more than 3 games in a day has only happened 10 times this season, and only one player (Bailo) has done that more than once (Aritz did it at Miami 19 times in 8 weeks a couple of years ago, when the words Miami Jai Alai sitll meant something), you realize how difficult it is, and how fine tuned the competition at Dania is. Remember when you are angrily berating players that the Dania lates consist of at least 4 world class partido players (Diego, Ibon, Zulaika, and Leke) and, in my opinion, one of the best two quiniella players in the world (Erik--Aritz is still the other, despite the ruins around him). And appreciate what we are priviledged to watch 84 times a week.
And also appreciate the Manager, Benny, who walks up a mountain every day to try and keep things going, who is always looking for ways top spice things up (partido competitions, team Jai Alai, etc.).
Anyway, I love watching the stuff, and love reading the conversations of people who also love it and know so much about it. The blog is my way of trying to give something back. Also of learning that this is just one of 14 sports, all endlessly fascinating, a cultural monument to an amazing people.