This is a current awareness blog that links to the latest sources of information on Basque Pelota matches and Tournaments. It covers both North and South Basque modalities: Mano, Main Nue, Pala, Paleta, Remonte, Cesta Punta, Jai Alai, and minor modalites. We link to match articles, statistics and video highlights and/or full match videos.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Jai Alai/Cesta Punta--A Glimpse of Aritz

If you have been following this blog, you know that on the right side of the blog, at the top, is a list of "10 + winning streaks". At present, and for every day but one (March 8, 2017) since February 8, Aritz Erkiaga, who plays the front court on the "A" roster at Miami Jai Alai, has been on that list. He had a streak of 24 performances (sessions of 12 games in which a player has a minimum workload of 5 games) with at least 1 win that was broken on March 8. The next day he started another streak that, as of this posting (April 6) has reached 24. He  has had at least 1 win in 48 of his last 49 performances (He did not play on March 3). Within each streak he had a streak of multiple wins (16, also stopped on March 8, and 11, stopped on March 24). In January he had a performance streak (at least 1 victory) of  14.

Miami Jai Alai plays Quiniela Jai Alai in two 6 month seasons per year. They play 6 performances a week, one each day except Tuesday. Because the context of this sport is wagering, each player plays a combination of singles and doubles games against seven other players (or teams). Players commonly play more than their minimum workload. They often play 6 to 8 games a day. 9 games is not unheard of. Humans scratch, just like horses do, and must be replaced for the games to go on. Doubles partners constantly change, as do post positions (order of matchups, 1-8). Both of these variables complicate wagering and make it more difficult for players to win consistently. The nature of Quiniela Jai Alai also makes it difficult to win. One team plays another. The winner scores a point (or two) and keeps playing. The loser goes to the back of the line and has to wait 7 matchups to play again. There is no time to get into a rhythm and no margin for error. It is a very different sport from the partido Jai Alai now being played at Fronton Mexico or the Jai Alai that was played in last summers' partido season in the North and South Basque Country.

I say all this as a way of contextualizing Aritz' streaks. No one else this season at Miami (or Dania Beach for that matter) has come close to one of these streaks, much less two.

Unfortunately, we cannot watch Aritz play via free live streaming.. We can only go by the spartan result sheets and statistics pages Miami Jai Alai releases every day.

That situation was remedied for a few games last week, by a fan who took some video of Aritz during the April 2, 2017 performance. Available on the video is a condensed video of Aritz-Ubilla's 3rd game "perfect game" (a game where one team wins between 4 and 9 points in a row, depending on the length of the game and the post position of the players).  There is also selected video of some of Aritz' other games that day. The 3rd game win was his only win of the day. He played in 4 other games with two other partners (one singles game) and had 1 second and 1 third place finish in those matches. Watch the player with the number 36 on his back. You will see him in a different color shirt in different games. Colors are coordinated with post positions.Watch and marvel at a player who is playing this game about as well as it is possible to play.

Aritz (36)--Maimi Jai Alai--April 2, 2017

For a statistical and "win chart" breakdown of Aritz' last 8 weeks, going back to the week ending February 13, all of which he led or tied for the lead for most wins for the week, see the Miami Jai Alai weekly leaders page on the right side of the blog.