Ranking the Top 10

Posted in US Politics on August 6th, 2015 by Ian Paregol

Rubio CPACAugust 6, 2015 – In the immortal words of Keith Jackson, “Whoa Nellie!”  Two hours flew by as the Top 10 Republican candidates (more like 9 plus 1 pretender) danced around a series of pointed questions about their respective positions.  As projected, there was a bit of carnage in the nightcap in Cleveland, but what I did not understand is why would Fox purposely phrase so many questions to make the candidates unlikeable.  They are still cleaning up blood from the wounds inflicted upon Rand Paul this evening courtesy of separate attacks from Trump and Christie.

Fox News Channel moderators Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace and Bret Baier provided an awkward, chatty opening unfitting for a national discussion.  However, once the rhetoric began to fly, it was clear that Fox was targeting Trump’s candidacy and using their inquiries to expose his weaknesses as a Republican candidate.  That, I can understand.  But as a Fox product, why not have the moderators ask a few questions over the course of the evening that might allow the GOP to gain some support from the undecideds.  In my opinion, the phrasing of the questions by the Fox commentators did not bolster the Republican messaging, but instead made each of them appear weaker.

Right off the bat, Trump’s reluctance to waive the possibility of a 3rd party run set the tone for the debate.  With the independent elephant in the room immediately in play, I would have liked to have seen follow-up questions directed to some of the other candidates about “party versus person” in an effort to further isolate Trump since that was the clearly Fox’s intention. Always playing a hunch, it is interesting to note that during the debate, The Donald was overtly supportive of Jeb Bush – which might be a wise hedge bet.

Not all of the candidates were asked the same questions, but each got a crack at a domestic issue and a foreign policy matter.  Using a +2 to -2 rating for each response given, here is how we scored the candidates.

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Close Total
Bush 1 1 -1 1 1 1 1 0 5
Carson -1 0 -2 0 0 0 0 -3
Christie 1 2 2 1 0 6
Cruz 1 1 2 2 1 0 7
Huckabee 1 2 0 1 2 1 7
Kasich 0 0 0 1 0 -1 0
Paul 0 0 1 0 0 1
Rubio 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 9
Trump -1 0 -1 -2 0 1 1 -2
Walker 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 1 5

All of the candidates were confronted with similar opening questions which addressed their perceived weaknesses.  Notably, the candidates did not all receive an equal number of questions: Rand Paul and Chris Christie were severely shortchanged.  Huckabee, Cruz and Christie made the most of their opportunities, while the good doctor Carson looked uneasy and did not shine among the top tier candidates.

We had Marco Rubio as the winner for the evening session, but evangelicals, Huckabee and Cruz were close behind and each of the 2nd place finishers were offered one fewer question.  Trump was surprisingly well-behaved but offered little content.  Jeb Bush did not seem excited about his messaging but he plodded along.  Kasich benefitted from the Ohio home cooking, but did not score many points with the Bench Jockeys.

We are now just over 15 months away from election night 2016.  Much can happen between now and the Iowa Caucus (2/1/16), New Hampshire Primary (2/9/16) and Super Tuesday (3/1/16).  We aim to stay on top of the 2016 election, and accordingly, our odds have been adjusted. Click here http://thebenchjockeys.com/updated-odds-for-2016-presidential-nominations/ for our updates which consider our perceptions from both the early show and the main event.

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A Few Thoughts on the GOP Debate Appetizer

Posted in US Politics on August 6th, 2015 by Ian Paregol

Santorum CPACAugust 6, 2015 – Against a seemingly empty Cleveland auditorium, the lowest polling Republicans were asked an array of questions by Fox News Channel moderators, Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum.  Appropriately, the first round of questions explored each of the candidates’ perceived respective weaknesses.  The moderators then offered targeted queries about the candidates’ opinions on Trump, ISIS, privacy rights, immigration, welfare, Iran, recent decisions of the Supreme Court and Executive power.  In a crafty Fox News spin, many of the questions that were asked considered the candidates’ platforms versus the perceived failures of Barack Obama’s policies.

The Bench Jockeys scored and graded all of the individual responses on a +2 to a -2 scale.  (We will use the same format and assessment tool for this evening’s main course.)  Carly Fiorina was the clear winner this afternoon with a total tally of +7.  On the other side of the spectrum, Rick Perry rambled and seemed disorganized; we deemed him the lowest performer with a total score of -4.  Rick Santorum’s love of country and passion were touching (+6) but he has is long way to go.  Gilmore (+2) and Pataki (+2) did not hurt themselves, but did nothing to help them push forward either.  Bobby Jindal (+5) had the best one liner, stating, “give Bernie Sanders credit, at least he is honest enough to call himself a socialist, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are no better.”  Although advocating a widely unpopular position, soft-spoken, Lindsey Graham’s honesty about committing troops to Iraq and Syria to confront ISIS was worth noting; however, the balance of his responsive content was bland (-1).

Bottom line:  Fiorina emerges from the Loser’s Bracket as the most polished, feisty and pointed of the bottom 7.  Depending on the sound bites offered, I would expect her support to surge, but given the early viewing time, she might not convert this impressive effort into votes.

In the meantime, get your popcorn and antacids ready for tonight….

Proposition betting: Odds of seeing someone in a head-lock – 5:2.  Donald Trump exceeding his allotted time on every question – 1:5.  Jeb Bush or Scott Walker closing the gap on Trump by this time next week – 3:2.  Daily double: Odds of either John Kasich or Ben Carson being perceived as the winner this evening – 8:1.


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Pre-game Analysis for August 6th GOP Debate

Posted in US Politics on August 3rd, 2015 by Ian Paregol

DSC_0789August 3, 2015 – This Thursday (August 6th) I suggest those of you who enjoy watching a nice, slow train wreck tune into Fox News Channel at 9pm in the east.  Cleveland will host what will be the most discussed (and possibly most disgusting) example of individual ego, hyperbole and GOP party cannibalism ever seen as the 10 highest polling 2016 Republican presidential candidates converge on one stage for the political equivalent of Opening Day.  Sure, just like we knew that some of the ball clubs this past April had zero chance of any post-season dreams (sorry, Rockies and Phillies fans), each of these 10 men (sorry, Carly Fiorina fans) somehow think they have a iron-clad path to the nomination.

Blinded by personal ambition while forsaking the end-game goal of the Grand Old Party, what most of the aspirants fail to recognize is that it will not be the populace who decides who will be the nominee, it will be the party.  Amos Tuck will rise from the dead before the GOP allows The Donald the honor of facing off against Hillary, Bernie or Uncle Joe.  Assuming RNC chair, Reince Priebus has learned anything from 2008 and 2012, the Republican Party will not let the intra-party backbiting continue, the field will be purposefully winnowed and the leadership will need to broker a deal with Trump so he does not give the GOP the Ross Perot 1992 skidoo.

And for those of you who love the underdog, the seven remaining Division 1-FCS candidates will also have their opportunity to shine in a lesser-viewed cage match undercard earlier on Thursday at 5PM.  This second tier candidate debate essentially becomes the de facto loser bracket in a double elimination contest.  Notably, each of the “less-than-magnificent 7″ enter this bracket saddled with one loss.  However, miracles do happen… like when 33-27 Fresno State beat Georgia in 2008 to win the College World Series or when Buster Douglas, a 42-1 long shot, KOed Iron Mike in 1990.  It happens, but PAC contributions will begin to wane without a tremendous showing on Thursday.

The Bench Jockeys will be lapping up both of the debates, hoping that there will be an automatic microphone kill switch utilized by the moderators when speaking time expires and updating our odds on Friday based upon what we see.  Click here http://thebenchjockeys.com/updated-odds-for-2016-presidential-nominations/ to see where things stand prior to Thursday’s scuffle.


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The Bench Jockeys offer their MLB Predictions for 2015

Posted in Professional Sports on March 26th, 2015 by Ian Paregol

MLB_Background_Logos[1]March 24, 2015 – The Cactus and Grapefruit League games are wrapping up and skipper’s are setting up their rotations. Thus, its time for The Bench Jockeys to offer our predictions for the upcoming MLB Season.

What we know:   Pretty much nothing.  We did not agree on anything.  The betting lines have Mike Trout as a 1:1 favorite to take home the AL Most Valuable Player hardware, but it is interesting that none of the Jockeys see the Angels in the World Series despite the potential output of Trout, Pujols and Calhoun.  As a group, we see Felix Hernandez dominating the AL.  (Spound is still waiting for Tanaka to produce for his 2014 fantasy team, and we are not quite sure what Brittany is seeing that the rest of don’t with respect to Joe Kelly of the Red Sox.)

Ian really wanted to take a flyer on the Mariners in the Series and likes Cano as a dark horse AL MVP pick, but he couldn’t pull the trigger.  Britt and Craig both go all-in with an old skool LA-NY series and Chris and Ian both projected the same unlikely AL Champ to lose versus the pitching depth of the Nats.  And of course, the ever-diabolical Spound is rooting for the Cubbies to find their way back to the Championship just so Billy Sianis’ curse can play-out yet again…106 years and counting.

  Britt Chris Craig Ian Spounder
World Series Dodgers over Yanks Nats over White Sox Yanks over Dodgers Nats over White Sox Red Sox over Cubs
AL Cy Young Joe Kelly King Felix King Felix King Felix Masahiro Tanaka
NL Cy Young Clayton Kershaw Max Scherzer Madison Bumgarner Stephen Strasburg Clayton Kershaw
AL MVP Mike Trout Mike Trout Miguel Cabrera Mike Trout Edwin Encarnacion
NL MVP Bryce Harper Giancarlo Stanton Andrew McCutchen Andrew McCutchen Giancarlo Stanton

Send us your thoughts in the comment section.

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Kevin Harvick Chases “The King”

Posted in The Quick Hook on March 21st, 2015 by Ian Paregol

KH 4March 21, 2015 – Believe it or not, even though 4 of the 5 Bench Jockeys have limited gearhead knowledge, we all took notice of Kevin Harvick’s sensational Win/Place streak.  Not since Richard Petty’s 11 in 1975 has a driver rattled off so many consecutive Top 2 finishes in NASCAR.  Prior to the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, California this weekend, the “Freaky Fast” No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevy has earned its stripes as Harvick currently stands at 7 consecutive Top 2 finishes, dating back to the end of 2014 when Harvick captured the Sprint Cup Series title.  Harvick has qualified at the number 2 start position for the Auto Club, and is primed for another strong performance in Fontana where he has won before in 2011. As a result of his recent successes, he is the NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader for 2015.

We assume that the fact that Harvick’s run has surfaced on The Bench Jockeys (as well as a few other more mainstream news sites) will be the kiss of death for his streak, so we wanted to weigh-in before it was over.  Sorry Kevin : (

March 22, 2015 Update – Kevin Harvick did secure 2nd place at the Auto Club 400 to make it 8 straight Top 2 finishes in a row.  The pressure continues to mount for Harvick in a sport that greatly depends on the intentions and competence of others.

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The Madness Does Not Disappoint

Posted in College Sports on March 21st, 2015 by Ian Paregol

bracket-torn[1] March 21, 2015 – The most exciting 36 hours in college sports ended with a bang as the first round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament concluded late last night with the 11th seed, Dayton knocking out Providence in a final coup d’ grace bracket buster.  The flurry of upsets that began on Thursday afternoon with with 3 one-point victories by UAB, Georgia State and UCLA served notice yet again to both fans and bettors that on any given day the prohibitive favorites can fall to an ambitious buzzsaw and dreams of playing on a Sweet 16 weekend can end early.  Hope you enjoyed your stay, ISU, VCU and SMU; please pick up the play-at-home game on your way out of the arena.

On Friday, higher seeds prevailed in 15 of the 16 matchups but even in a tournament where only 5 lower seeds emerged victorious in the 32 first round games, there is only 1 entry out the 11.57 million entries on ESPN’s Tournament Challenge that picked all 32 contests correctly.  1!  There are 38 entries that had 31 of the 32 teams picked correctly;  that’s .000328% of all ESPN’s brackets.   So when Iowa State and Baylor fell before you left the office on Thursday and you tore your office pool bracket sheet to shreds, feel some solace that you were not alone.  In fact, you might want to pull that baby out of the trashcan and tape that it back together.  As long as you didn’t have the Cyclones or Bears advancing too far, you may be still in line for a payday, because on the whole, favorites did much better than they have in recent years.  The chalk still talks going into the weekend games.

And speaking of a payout, I will leave you with this report from Vegas… Kentucky was 1:500 to beat Hampton and some schlub bet $600 on Kentucky.  The spoils of his wager… $1.20.

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Ma Nishtana 1: NFL Free Agency Period Raises a Few Questions

Posted in Ma Nishtana on March 11th, 2015 by Spounder

Ma Nish logoMarch 11, 2015 – Opening Day for NFL’s Free Agency period has already raised a few questions.  The day was more about trades than FA pick-ups.  Therefore its seems like a perfect time to launch my new addition to The Bench Jockeys called, Ma Nishtana.


Q1  – Why, Father, why is this trade worse than all other trades?

One this night (or some night recently), the Jets acquired Brandon Marshall to bolster its passing game without an NFL QB. Talk about a waste of resources.  That’s like putting a Porsche engine in your Dodge Dart.  Marshall became frustrated with Cutler slinging the ball all over the field in Chicago.  Can you imagine Marshall on a fly pattern looking back to see Geno try and side-arm the rock out to Chris Ivory on 70% of his routes?  Marshall (who is also an NFL Network commentator) will certainly be able to cover a game and play in it at the same time.  64 Catches/709 yards….

Q2 – Why is the Jimmy Graham trade worse than the previous trade?

One this night, the second best team in football acquired the league’s second best tight end in Jimmy Graham.  Something is very wrong when a team is allowed to trade one of the best offensive players in the game for back-end draft picks.  The NFL cap is forcing teams to make idiotic trades and drop fan favorites; it is both ugly and insulting to the fan base.  At least Pete Carroll will have a reasonable excuse to throw it from the 1 yard line next year.

Q3 – Why is the deflate-gate investigation worse than all other cheating investigations?   

Does one get the feeling the NFL is holding the release of any written report on the deflated footballs until a time that nobody cares.  I fully expected an indecisive report to surface with 8 minutes left on the clock before Tampa’s first pick.  The report will only be leaked prior to that time if the NFL has anything on the Patriots other than a ball boy relieving air from 11 footballs in under 90 seconds instead of his bladder.

Q4 – Why on this night are you allowed to tamper but on all other nights you cannot?  

Because, my child, on this night, it’s called legal tampering.  Is this the tamperer’s reward for finding the afikomen?  Has this particular NFL period existed before?  Apparently, now you can talk to a free agent but you can’t make any monetary overtures.  What exactly did Dolphins owner Steven Ross and Ndamukong Suh talk about?  Unless you were living under a rock, you certainly knew the Dolphins were going to throw an obscene amount of money at Suh… Glad that the entire NFL universe was able to work out the particulars of the deal prior to the end of the legal tampering period, because if they followed the NFL’s rules, Ross and Suh were likely discussing the Real Housewives of Miami…356 pounds of girth changes hands and teams – clearly against the rules – without any backlash, but 1 pound of air leaves a football on a cold night and it makes international news… Roger’s Salary should be lowered to $30 Million tops next year.

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Brothers in Arms: How Do the Harrisons of UK Rank Against Other Sibling Successes

Posted in Professional Sports on March 8th, 2015 by Ian Paregol

HarisonsMarch 8, 2015 – As the Harrison brothers (Aaron & Andrew) and the University of Kentucky’s men’s basketball team continue their pursuit of perfection with the SEC Championship and NCAA Tourney looming, The Bench Jockeys started thinking about how other siblings have performed over the years in the sportsworld and how we would rank them as a sub-group of athletes.

What we discovered was the Harrisons have a long way to go to crack the Top 100, let alone the Top 20 that we have digested and analyzed for your consideration herein.  This was way more difficult to quantify than one would think.  There were  many siblings that did not sniff our list but were remarkable for their achievements.  A few of the particularly noteworthy are highlighted below.

For example, we all know that Jackie Robinson was arguably the best second baseman of all time, but did you know that Jackie’s older brother, Matthew “Mack” Robinson, earned a Silver Medal in the 1936 Olympics in Munich.  He finished 2nd by 0.4 seconds to none other than Jessie Owens.

We knew that we could not ignore the most popular sport on earth – soccer – but the Charlton brothers finished on the outside looking in. Who were they you ask?  Sir Bobby and twin brother, Jack, won the 1966 World Cup for England.  Jack was FWA Footballer of the year in 1967; won 2 Fairs Cups; a league title and FA Cup.  Sir Bobby survived a tragic air crash in Munich in 1958 that killed many of his Manchester United teammates. He went onto play over 600 games for ManU, with a goals per game average of an incredible .328 while hauling in an array of individual honors.

Here’s a fact that might win a few bar bets for you:  Both Marat Safin and his sister, Dinara, are the only brother-sister tandem to achieve a world number 1 pro tennis ranking – Matt in 2000, Dinara in 2009.  We suspect that you might have an inkling about the tennis sibs who did make our Top 20, however.

Lastly, before we move onto our rankings, we considered the array of brothers who played cricket.  The Aussies tout the Chappells of the 1970s, the Zimbabweans love the Flower twins of the 1990s and currently, the Pakistanis queue up to see the Akmals, but none of us are actually smart enough to really understand which are the best sibs – so we left them all off of the list.

And now without further adieu….let the outrage and second-guessing begin.

Sibs Sport
20 Dominique & Gerald Wilkins Basketball
19 Al Joyner & Jackie Joyner-Kersee Track & Field
18 Ronde & Tiki Barber Football
17 Joe & Phil Niekro Baseball
16 Bruce & Clay Matthews Football
15 Michael & Ralf Schumacher F1 racing
14 Dr. Ironfist & Dr. Steelhammer Klitschko Boxing
13 Bobby & Terry Labonte Racing
12 Felipe, Matty & Jesus Rojas (Alou) Baseball
11 Bob & Michael Bryan Tennis
10 Michael & Brian Laudrup Soccer
9 Brent, Brian, Darryl, Duane, Rich & Ron Sutter Hockey
8 Phil & Steve Mahre Skiing
7 Phil & Tony Esposito Hockey
6 Reggie & Cheryl Miller Basketball
5 Michael & Leon Spinks Boxing
4 Joe, Dom & Vince DiMaggio Baseball
3 Peyton & Eli Manning Football
2 Serena & Venus Williams Tennis
1 Rocket & Henri Richard Hockey

Why the Richards?  Over the 100 year history of the Stanley Cup and professional ice hockey, both Henri and Maurice “Rocket” Richard still both rank within the Top 25 of their sport; with The Rocket securing a spot within the Top 5 all time.  Although one could argue that Serena Williams may be one the five best women’s tennis players in history, and Venus did earn a number 1 ranking in 2002, the fact is, second-fiddle Venus is not as dominant in her sport as the lesser (just slightly lesser) Henri was in his.

We welcome your thoughts…but it won’t change our minds.


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New Bench Jockeys Feature: Ma Nishtana

Posted in Ma Nishtana on March 8th, 2015 by Ian Paregol

images[3]The Bench Jockeys are giving Spounder his own continuing feature which will be found under the category, Ma Nishtana.  “Why Bench Jockeys, why?  Why is the content in Ma Nishtana different from all other categories?” you ask.  Because the analysis found in Ma Nishtana seeks to ask and answer questions much like Di Fir Kashes (The Four Questions) from the celebration of Passover.  The Q&A format will be easy to understand for even the simple-minded son.

Interestingly, the term “Ma Nishtana” has taken on a new meaning as well – which also suits the snark scale at The Bench Jockeys.  According to the urban dictionary, “Ma Nishtana” now also connotes the “utter lack of surprise” to some bit of news.  For example, Dan Synder overpaid another aging retread in free agency. Ma Nishtana.  Or ESPN is reporting something about Tiger. Ma Nishtana.  Or the over-under on the NBA All-star game is 280. Ma Nishtana.  Get it?

So when the mood hits him, Spound will drop some righteous Ma Nishtana.  Enjoy this new featurette which we hope will heighten your reading pleasure.

– The Bench Jockeys

Dr. Ben Tries to Control The Bleeding

Posted in US Politics on March 7th, 2015 by Ian Paregol

imagesTP94M9UXMarch 7, 2015 – Not one week after The Bench Jockeys released their odds on prospective candidates winning their respective party’s nominations, we already have some changes to make.  Marco Rubio’s poor support at CPAC costs him a bit in our eyes and Scott Walker’s strong showing gives him a boost as we see it.  We expected Ted Cruz to best Walker (which did not happen) and Walker almost toppled Rand Paul in the CPAC straw poll.  As a result, Cruz also slides a smidgen.

However the big story on the Republican side of the aisle was the scuttle-butt from Dr. Carson’s assertions that doing time can  change a man’s sexual orientation.  Are they teaching that now in med school?  I think they might be bringing the leeches back too.

Although quick to apologize, the content of Carson’s mea culpa was not the prescription he needed.  Consequently, we are dropping him down quite a few pegs to the third tier of possible nominees.  Reluctant to announce in the first place, the good doctor may now be rethinking the whole thing, especially as every word he utters will now be parsed by the media.

The beneficiary to Carson’s slip-up may actually be Rubio since the Carson and Rubio camps are not too far apart on many issues.  As a result, we only slightly decreased Marco’s odds in spite of the CPAC straw poll numbers.  Check out this link for the most current odds at  http://thebenchjockeys.com/?p=1556


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Hillary Opens Dem Polls on Top

Posted in US Politics on March 1st, 2015 by Ian Paregol

Hillary IowaMarch 1, 2015 – Quinnipiac University conducted a telephone survey in Iowa during the week of February 16th seeking opinions about the projected field of Democratic candidates for 2016.  The survey involved 619 likely Democratic Caucus participants. The predictable results were released on February 26th.

Democratic Party Iowans overwhelmingly backed Hillary Clinton (61%), with Elizabeth Warren earning runner-up honors at 19%.  Biden placed third with 7%, Sanders was fourth at 5% and Jim Webb finished in fifth at 2%.  Hillary maintains a stronghold on her path to the Democratic Party’s nomination and the odds that The Bench Jockeys have offered (1:7) seem in line with these results.  [For those of you who read The Bench Jockeys and do not gamble, a 1:7 line means that you would have to bet $7 to win just $1.]

Right now, Hillary is just that sure of a lock. What was remarkable is that not one of the 619 Iowans who participated, voted for former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.  Not one.  With only six potential candidates, Quinnipiac extended its inquiry to include a question about who the voters would support if their first choice opted not to run.  Even with Hillary out of the picture, O’Malley only secured 3% of the votes.  18 of 619 votes.  Biden (30%) and Warren (23%) were the leading pretenders.  Look for Marty to take a page out of the Bill Clinton playbook and have his Celtic rock band – O’Malley’s March – booked on a few late night talk shows this summer if he cannot gain traction in this incomplete field.

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Initial CPAC GOP Straw Poll Results

Posted in US Politics on February 28th, 2015 by Ian Paregol

February 28, 2015  - The black smoke has cleared in the Potomac Ballroom of the Gaylord National Convention Center in Oxon Hill, Maryland.  The straw poll of thousands of conservative zealots who attended CPAC this week, has yielded a worthy candidate to go forth and attempt to wrest control of the White House from the Dems.  There was much fire and brimstone cast upon ISIS, common core, Obama’s pending nuclear development deal with Iran, US immigration policy, unbridled government spending and of course, Hillary. However, unlike the selection of a Pope, the results of the CPAC straw poll will not serve to unite a Republican party which – for the most part – does have a common voice.   

I find it ironic that CPAC– a conference which has become the Right’s annual homage to Ronald Reagan and everything he stood for – does not embrace one of the central tenets that ol’ Number 40 championed:  the 11th Commandment – Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican. 

Whether a Tea bagger, an establishment Republican, a Main Streeter, or a RINO, there is one thing that all Republicans seek…. Read more »

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The Bench Jockeys Offer Opening Odds for 2106 Nomination

Posted in Sport/Pol Crossover, US Politics on February 27th, 2015 by Ian Paregol

February 27, 2015 – The 2015 sports scene is off and running.  It began with a collective “What the Heck?” as Pete Carroll gift wrapped the Lombardi Trophy for the Pats with the most incomprehensible play call in Superbowl history.  Next, Novak and Serena  gave notice at the Aussie Open that favorites still rule the day in the ATP and WTA.  Last week, the NASCAR season fired-up its real season which began with Joey Logano’s win in Daytona.  This week, the MLB returns to Florida and Arizona as spring games begin.  And just as teams in the NBA and NHL are jockeying for seeding in their respective leagues, and college hoops teams make their final push to be included in the 2015 March Madness bracket, The Bench Jockeys political Hot Stove is heating up for a humdinger of a 2015 in anticipation of general election in 2016 that will chart the future of the United States into the next decade.

In a field as diverse as…. well,… as diverse as a Republican field can be, the Bench Jockeys have released odds for the 2016 nomination.  We will keep this tracker up to date as entrants declare and drop out and as political fortunes rise and fall in the GOP.

This year we have the added pleasure of offering the odds (albeit a bookmaker’s dream) for those vying for the nomination on the Democrat ticket.  Hint:  Hillary Clinton is a presently at 1:7 which will only drift away from a “sure thing” if something surfaces from the investigations involving Benghazi or the foreign government money accepted by the Clinton Foundation. 

We have established the odds for every candidate who has either formed an “exploration committee” or may be jumping (or being pushed) into the Democrat and Republican races for the White House. 

And now,… ladies and gentlemen,… the nation’s first comprehensive oddsmaker lines for the 2016 nomination.





Opening Odds

Current Odds♤

Joseph Biden 72 VP US; Fmr Sen DE 35:1 35:1
Hillary Clinton 67 Fmr. US Sen NY; Fmr. US Sec of State 1:7 1:7
Jim Webb 69 Fmr US Sen VA 30:1 30:1
Martin O’Malley 52 Fmr Gov MD; Fmr. Mayor Baltimore 25:1 25:1
Bernie Sanders* 73 US Sen VT; Fmr Rep US House VT 35:1 35:1
Mark Warner 60 US Sen VA; Fmr Gov VA 50:1 50:1
Elizabeth Warren 65 US Sen MA 48:1 48:1

* Registered Ind. may run as a Dem.    

♤ Odds updated 3/7/15


Marco CPACPerry CPACSantorum CPAC







Opening Odds

Current Odds♢

John Bolton 66 Fmr US Ambassador UN 75:1 75:1
Jeb Bush 62 Fmr Gov FL 7:2 7:2
Ben Carson 63 No political offices held; neurosurgeon 22:1 30:1
Chris Christie 52 Gov NJ 12:1 12:1
Ted Cruz 44 US Sen TX 8:1 10:1
Carly Fiorina 60 No political offices held, Fmr CEO HP 50:1 50:1
Lindsey Graham 59 US Sen SC; Fmr US House Rep SC 45:1 45:1
Mike Huckabee 59 Fmr Gov AR 17:1 17:1
Bobby Jindal 43 Gov LA; Fmr US House Rep LA 50:1 50:1
John Kasich 62 Gov OH; Fmr US House Rep OH 70:1 70:1
Rand Paul 52 US Sen KY 6:1 6:1
Mike Pence 55 Gov IN, US House Rep IN 40:1 40:1
Rick Perry 64 Fmr Gov TX 18:1 18:1
Marco Rubio 43 US Sen FL; US  House Rep FL 10:1 12:1
Rick Santorum 56 Fmr US Sen PA; Fmr US House Rep PA 45:1 45:1
Donald Trump 68 No political offices held; CEO Trump 100:1 100:1
Scott Walker 47 Gov WI 9:1 9:1

 ♢ Odds updated 3/7/15

Follow us on Twitter @benchjockeys.

We welcome your comments and feedback and let the posturing begin.

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Klitschko Throws His Hat into the Ring

Posted in International Political Scene, Sport/Pol Crossover, The Quick Hook on August 21st, 2013 by Ian Paregol

scoop[1]On August 9th, The Bench Jockeys wrote about the intriguing connection between professional athletes and their pursuit of political office at the conclusion of their professional careers. http://thebenchjockeys.com/?p=1321

As if on cue, on August 14th, boxing’s reigning world heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko announced his plans to run for the presidency of the Ukraine in 2015.  Klitschko, nicknamed “Doctor Ironfist,” makes a formidable foe in any ring and his entre into the political scene in the Ukraine will make for a fascinating sideline once the election heats up.  Malaysian news source The Star followed the good doctor’s announcement by offering an article for its readership on …wait for it…. the connection between professional athletes and political office.  That’s another Pat Riley on the back for The Bench Jockeys who again offer our loyalists insights before the larger media outlets can catch up.

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C’mon PGA Tour, release Tiger from this Major Prison

Posted in Professional Sports on August 16th, 2013 by Chris Drayton

flood14[1]You can say what you want, but I just won’t believe it!!   You canNOT tell me that the PGA doesn’t have the “fix” in when it comes to Eldrick “Tiger” Woods and his ability to win Major tournaments!  Why would they do such a thing, you ask?  Simple, to keep the name Jack Nicklaus as the permanent standard bearer for professional golf!  Oh sure, Jack will always be on “Mt. Rushmore “ –  along with Palmer, Player and Trevino – of golf’s modern greats, but Tiger Woods was on pace of obliterating The Golden Bear’s legacy.

Put the stats in perspective.  Let’s start at his ability to just win golf matches.   He will pass the great Sam Snead for most career wins (82) sometime next year because Woods – who is only 37 – is sitting at 79 of them, besting Jack Nicklaus’ career total of 73.  The nearest active player is Read more »

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Magglio Ordonez for Mayor? Not so Fast

Posted in Professional Sports, Sport/Pol Crossover, US Politics on August 9th, 2013 by Ian Paregol

ChavezordonezConsistent with our core mission of bringing together Sports and Politics, The Bench Jockeys noted with keen interest the candidacy of former Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox outfielder Magglio Ordonez’s who is presently running for Mayor of the Venezuelan city of Puerto La Cruz.  Like the late Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez (pictured on the left), Magglio Ordonez (pictured on the right) is an avowed socialist… maybe Ordonez’s political slant was cultivated while he was playing in Chicago.  Puerto La Cruz boasts a population of almost half a million people and hosts one of the largest refineries in oil-rich Venezuela so this position carries with it quite a bit of responsibility.  Is it really a major league baseball player’s place to be providing leadership to a city like Puerto La Cruz? So that got us wondering about 2 things:

  • 1) Who are the most accomplished political leaders who also played a professional sport? 
  • 2) Should the citizens of Puerto La Cruz decide to elect Ordonez, how have professional athletes performed as political leaders?

First we turn to Issue 1.  For starters, there have been no US Presidents who have also played a professional sport, but Read more »

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Of Chinese Walls and Hahvuhd Yahds

Posted in Professional Sports on August 7th, 2013 by Craig Zuckerman

Screen-Shot-2013-08-02-at-5_29_40-PMWhat on earth is a Chinese Wall?  Yes, it could be the Great Wall of China. But it’s not.  It is a business term, which is defined as an “ethical barrier between divisions of a financial (or other) institution to avoid conflict of interest.” (Investorpedia)

The typical example would be an investment banking firm with multiple lines of business. Perhaps one division is helping a company sell its bonds to the public, and perhaps another division is analyzing its client’s assets, etc.  One division might realize its assets are worth about 20 cents on the dollar, while the other is trying to ream the public by selling the bonds for 97 cents on the dollar. (Any bells going off yet? Think Mortgage Crisis).

Anywho, imagine what would happen if Read more »

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Trischman versus Tuchmann I

Posted in Chazerai on August 5th, 2013 by Ian Paregol

20130424_142522_resizedIn what was hailed by some as “The Goons at the Dunes” – the grudge match-play event of this past spring – was Trischman versus Tuchmann, mano-a-mano.  Playing alongside this epic pairing, I was fortunate to witness this beat down duel on the links at Grand Dunes firsthand in Myrtle Beach, SC.  And let me just say, it was not pretty.

The Stakes:  As is standard practice in all legitimate non-monetary match-play formats that originate on the Zuckerman Tour, both combatants agreed that the losing player would purchase a high-end golf shirt for the victor at the conclusion of the battle on the links.

The Odds:  Harold “Butch” Trischman – being the more accomplished player – agreed to yield nine strokes to Alan Tuchman, strokes to be allocated via standard handicapping procedure in advance of play.  Those present at the negotiation urged Tuchmann to Read more »

Starting 9

Posted in Professional Sports on August 4th, 2013 by Ian Paregol


These days everyone is writing a Bucket List.  I wrote my list back in 1999 and one of the items I included was a autographed baseball from the 9 baseball players who I thought were the best n their respective positions.  As with everything I do, I had rules: 1) The signatures have to be on a official major league baseball – no commemoratives, autosigned, HOF or gimmicky balls; 2) all balls have to present with only the player’s autograph, no multisigned balls; and 3) the signature has to be authentic and 4) it has to be a clean and visible signature.

My list of players was developed by Read more »

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And Then There Were 3

Posted in US Politics on January 24th, 2012 by Ian Paregol

Besides being a great album by Genesis, only two primaries into the nomination process, all the fun is almost over.  Yes, I know that Rick Santorum is still technically in the GOP race, but let’s face facts; he is not going to emerge as the GOP’s 2012 nominee.  That is unless, of course, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney damage each other so badly with assertions and accusations that neither candidate is deemed electable by the party.  Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment is now a distant memory which is surprising since Gingrich uses every opportunity he gets to align his philosophies with those of The Great Communicator.  Gingrich’s goading forced Mitt to take the gloves off in Florida, and I will not be shocked if someone finds himself in a headlock during Florida Part Deux.  Mitt and Newt are making the President’s re-election campaign far too easy.  Painting each other as Read more »

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