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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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.

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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King James Curse or Just Coincidence

Posted in The Quick Hook on September 29th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Could the epic collapse of the 2011 Boston Red Sox be yet another manifestation of the “King James Curse” as conjectured by The Bench Jockeys back in April and May ?

It wasn’t the “shot heard ’round the world” or Kirk Gibson’s remarkable one-handed home run off of the Eck in the 1988 World Series, but last night was most definitely one of the most memorable nights in baseball history as the fate of four teams trudging through the marathon of a 162-game season weathered the perfect storm of rain delays, improbable comebacks, momentum shifting plays and managerial “stick it to yas.”   The Rays down a hockey stick in the 8th comeback to force extra innings and beat the Yanks who opted not to trot out their closer Mo Rivera, while Red Sox in control of their game against the O’s with the taste of victory one out away give up three consecutive base hits in the bottom of the 9th and lose 4-3.  The Cards pound the hapless Astros 8-0 and wait through extra innings for the results in Atlanta where the Braves jump to a 2-0 lead only to lose at home in 13 against Philly.  The Divisional races long settled, baseball needed last night’s drama to kick start the Playoffs.

Boston, which held a 9 game lead in the wild card race on September 3rd, limped to a 7 -19 record over the ensuing 26 days, losing to the AL East doormat, Baltimore Orioles, 5 times in 7 games.  The “2011 Fold” as it will come to be known by the Red Sox sets the new standard for “failing to close” as Boston became the first MLB team to miss the postseason after leading by as many as nine games for a playoff spot entering September.  In the yin/yang of baseball, Atlanta proceeded to cough up the second largest September lead – 8.5 games – as the Cardinals passed them for the NL Wild Card.   Is it also possible that the unholy alliance between LeBron James and the Fenway Sports Group has so skewed the balance of Boston lore that karmic forces also impacted the 2011 Atlanta Braves (formerly of Boston)?  Could be….

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Arctic Build-up is Chilling

Posted in International Political Scene, The Quick Hook on September 24th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

In mid-July, The Bench Jockeys wrote about the Northern countries “no-limits” race for the Arctic’s prize resources as climate-induced accessibility to the polar ice cap takes shape.  That provocative piece was entitled, “The Artic Melt Heats Tensions.”  Click here to read the article:

More than two months after we published our findings, The Huffington Post is now starting to report on the growing military build-up in Russia, Canada and Norway that the Bench Jockeys told you was developing into a flashpoint.  We may not be able to cover every newsworthy event on the planet, but we do strive to bring our readers valuable content about the issues that the mainstream media may assume the general population is too unsophisticated to grasp.  If you are interested in why military conflict in the Arctic Circle is a stone-cold lock, read The World in 2050:  Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s North Future by Laurence Smith.  I picked up that gem after researching the material for the piece on the Arctic Melt as I became more and more convinced that the Middle East is not the world’s only tinderbox.  Folks, it may be cold in the Arctic Circle, but sparks are going to fly. 

The link for the Huffington Post story follows:

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Lost Treasure

Posted in The Quick Hook, US Politics on September 7th, 2011 by Craig Zuckerman

Growing up, what little boy didn’t want to be a pirate?  Life on the high seas, wearing whatever you wanted, pillaging, and doing as you pleased.  And the best part, hunting for lost treasure.

In today’s ever-perilous economic times, fortunes are spent every day, some for good cause, some for fun, and some a complete waste of money.  Take for example the Gang of 12 “Super Committee”. In theory, a solid idea. With Washington being more dysfunctional than ever before (is that even possible?) 6 Blues and 6 Reds hashing out a plan to get us out of the Grand Canyon of debt and deficit spending sounds like a good idea, right?  But wait, I know my memory is a tad weak, but didn’t we just undertake the very same process with the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction Committee last November?  Hmmm – 3 Donkeys, 3 Elephants reaching consensus on how to get us out of debt and deficit spending?  Sound familar?  Now where could that confounded report be?  I picture it in the same secret giant warehouse where the Ark of the Lost Covenant was stored in Raiders of the Lost Ark.  I bet we could also find the Knights of Templar Treasure there, a few Roswell alien bodies, maybe the real Dead Sea Scrolls.

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Status Quo wins 2011 Bench Ryder Cup

Posted in The Quick Hook on August 15th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Courtesy of a monster year from David Toms, Team Status Quo has won the Bench Ryder Cup Championship, besting second place finisher Club Gophers by $430K.  Status Quo took control at the TPC in May and did not relinquish the top spot.  The 21 week tournament ran from the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill in March and concluded this weekend with the fourth Major – the PGA Championship.  Memorializing this momentous inaugural victory, Craig Johnson, owner of Status Quo, will receive a handsome t-shirt fr his efforts.  Photos of the trophy to come.

To view the final tallies for each team and running weekly updates, click below:

Thanksto those who participated on short notice.  Start doing your prep work now for the 2012 tourney.

Powers Shift in Iowa; Gophers Make News in Hawkeye State

Posted in The Quick Hook, US Politics on August 14th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Although we need to get back to blogging about some sports here at The Bench Jockeys, baseball has not started its pennant run, the NFL is still in pre-season mode and tennis’ US Open is not for two weeks.  What has heated up, however, is the race for GOP Presidential Nomination.  The first measuring stick for the candidates, the Ames Iowa Straw Poll, concluded voting last nite.  Michele Bachmann snakes a win in the poll, with Ron Paul finishing second and T-Paw taking show.  But just like kissing your sister, 3rd place is not what Pawlenty was setting his sights on.   Apparently with Tim Pawlenty’s coffers beginning to run dry and his loss to fellow Minnesotian Bachmann, coupled with the entry of Rick Perry into the fray, Tim is pulling up stakes and calling it a campaign.  As a result of this stunner, we have adjusted our top two tiers.  Paul’s second place finish in Iowa, does not move his dial, but Bachmann gets a big uptick and Perry becomes the new #2 to Romney.  For those of you asking, “Where is Mitt?” Ronmey did not compete.

Tier 1

Candidate Background Status Open Current
Mitt Romney Former Gov – MA A 7:2 3:1
Rick Perry Current Gov – TX A 50:1 7:1
Michele Bachmann Current US Rep – MN  A 25:1 14:1
Ron Paul Current US Rep – TX  A 9:1 15:1

Tier 2

Candidate Background Status Open Current
Jim DeMint Current US Sen – SC 14:1 25:1
Herman Cain Former Fed Reserve A 25:1 25:1
Chris Christie Current Gov – NJ 18:1 25:1
Marco Rubio Current US Sen – FL 20:1 25:1
Bobby Jindal Current Gov – LA 30:1 30:1
Sarah Palin Former Gov – AK 25:1 35:1
Jon Huntsman Former Gov – UT A 40:1 35:1

To view Tiers 3 and 4 click here:

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Title Town?

Posted in Chazerai, Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on June 17th, 2011 by Craig Zuckerman

After watching the Bruins make mincemeat out of the heavily favored Canucks on Wednesday, my neighbor Brad mentioned that within the last 10 years, 7 Boston teams have won Championships (2002, 2003, 2005 Pats; 2008 Celtics; 2004, 2007 Red Sox; and now 2011 Bruins).  Pree-tee, Pree-tee good.  That of course, threw me into research mode.  New York, from 1991-2000 won 8 ( 1994 Rangers; 1995, 2000  Devils (New York annexed exit 16 W), 1991 Football New York Giants; and 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000 New York Yankees).

On the golf course today, though, Burg pointed out that all four Boston teams won championships within 7 years.  New York’s best would be 11 (J-E-T-S 1969; Knickerbockers 1973; Yanks 1977; and Islanders 1980).

Gotta say, my hat is off to Bah-stan.

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Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on June 14th, 2011 by Craig Zuckerman

What’s better than Game 7?  There are 7 days in a week, 7 chakras, 7 days of Passover, 7 wonders of the world, 7 deadly sins, 7 musical notes in a scale, 7 brides for 7 brothers, 7 continents, 7 colors in the rainbow.  In the NHL, there have been 15 Game 7’s in the Finals.  The NBA has had 17 Game 7’s in the Finals, and Baseball has had 35.  The Mick wore number 7, as did John Elway, George Halas, Joe Theisman (ouch), Pistol Pete Marivich, and of course Phil Esposito and Ray Borque.  Currently, Danica Patrick, Joe Mauer, Jose Reyes, Ben Rothlesberger and Michael Vick all don 7.

In a best of 7 series, Game 7 is IT.  Do or die, win or lose.   There is no tomorrow.  Lots of clichés.  The level of intensity in a Game 7 is unparalleled.  The Curse of the Billy Goat for the Cubbies originated in Game 7 of the 1945 World Series.  The Brooklyn Dodgers won their only Championship in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series.  Bill Mazeroski hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 in the 1960 World Series to propel the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Yankees.  Aaron “bleeping” Boone hit a home run in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS to complete the Yanks come from behind victory.  The Red Sox returned the favor in 2004 in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS to complete one of the greatest comebacks ever.

In golf parlance, scoring a 7 is also known as the dreaded Hockey Stick.  Let’s hope this Game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins is an oxymoronic Instant Classic.

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Bryce Harper Can Kiss My….

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on June 8th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

June 8, 2011 – On Monday June 6th, the Chosen One, Bryce Harper, who was selected #1 overall in the 2010 Major League Baseball draft by the Washington Nationals showed the Greensboro Grasshoppers and the rest of baseball fandom why he will be staying at Class A Hagerstown for the 2011 season. Although The Can’t Miss Kid is feasting on low Class A pitching, hitting .342 with 14 dingers and 42 RBI, he has struck out in over 20% of his at bats. But the Ks are not the reason he is being coddled; he is being held back because Read more »

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Final Turn of Events

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on May 30th, 2011 by Brittany Lynn
Two big races take place on Memorial Day Weekend – The Indy 500 and The Coca Cola 600.  Generally, open-wheel racing and stock car racing are very different sports, but Sunday, both races ended in similar fashion: the leader was well ahead of the competition – could all but taste victory – but couldn’t cross the finish line first.  In the Indy 500, the leader rookie driver JR Hildebrand crashed into the wall right on the final turn just before the finish line, allowing Dan Wheldon to pass him and cross the finish line first.  Wheldon lead the Indy 500 for only 825 feet, but it was the last 825 feet.  And that’s what counts.

Down in Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600, after four time champion Jimmie Johnson blew his engine with four laps to go, a few extra laps were added to the race.  Avid race fans will tell you that adding laps adds excitement and a lot of fuel saving frustration.  On the restart, Dale Earnhardt Jr. – who hasn’t won a race in 105 starts – was poised to finally break his losing streak.  With two laps to go, Junior pulled out to a comfortable lead, leaving the ten cars remaining on the lead lap in his dust.  On the Final Lap, it was Junior’s to win, through the first two turns he was on fire, uncatchable.  The crowd was on their feet, even people who don’t normally cheer for him were shouting his name.  In the final turn of the last lap, with the finish line in his view, his car RAN OUT OF GAS…. he coasted across the line in 7th position, losing the victory to Kevin Harvick.

And that’s racing.  You spend four hours watching a race and it all comes down to the last turn.

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Playing Trump Too Soon?

Posted in The Quick Hook, US Politics on May 16th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Never one to shy away from the media, Donald Trump, has turned off the Klieg light on his potential run for the Republican nomination.  With his usual bluster, The Donald stated, “I will not be running for president as much as I’d like to,” but then opined, “I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and, ultimately, the general election.”  So if he wanted to run and he thought he would win:  a) why not run, and b) why end the speculation before the 2012 race is even off the ground?  He surely could have milked the political pronouncement to throw his toupee into the ring into a made-for-tv event like LeBron’s axis-altering decision to move to South Beach.

Although we only considered him a fringe player in terms of actual candidacy for the Republican nomination, we did fear Read more »

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Huckabee Passes on 2012

Posted in The Horseshoe, The Quick Hook, US Politics on May 14th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Mike Huckabee – a Bench Jockeys top five contender for the 2012 GOP nomination – has stated that his heart is not in a Presidential run, and for now, he is out.  The Former Arkansas Governor, Southern Baptist minister and Fox News host opened at 9:1 to win the Republican nomination.  This surprising turn of events shakes up an already convoluted field and allows some of the second tier candidates an opportunity to make a move.   As a result, fellow social conservative Michele Bachmann gets Read more »

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Be Careful What You Wish, Commish

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on May 14th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Gary Bettman cannot be too thrilled about the looming pairings for the Stanley Cup finals. In the East, Gary better be wearing his Bruins underoos as the puck drops on Boston-Tampa Bay series on Saturday, May 14th. Boston is the only team from the original six and the only large market team left in the Conference Finals. Although the Lightning have a couple players with some fire-power in Steven Stamkos and Marty St. Louis, the Florida market for hockey is one of the leagues weakest – the Lightning and the Panthers round out two of the NHL’s five lowest rated fan bases. The fans in San Jose seem to care about the Sharks, but  Read more »

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20 Horse Field w/ Post Positions for Kentucky Derby

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on May 5th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

The field for this Saturday’s Run for the Roses – the 137th Kentucky Derby – with post position, horse’s name and Read more »

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Goaltending: The Cup’s Net Asset

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on April 25th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Two heavy favorites move on to the second round, the upstart Preds surprise the Ducks, 3 lower seeded teams must win at home to stay alive and 2 series (so far) await a deciding 7th game.

Stanley Cup Playoff hockey is in full swing.   The Flyers have cycled through all three of their goalies (Bobrovsky, Boucher and Leighton) in the 6 games with the Sabres thus far.  In the other 3-3 series, Roberto Luongo, who helped lead the Canucks to the President’s Trophy and is finalist for the Vezina Trophy has twice been pulled in favor of Cory Schneider.  Loungo’s .750 save percentage over the last 40 Blackhawk shots is causing some panic in the mean streets of Vancouver.

If you look at the last 20 years of Stanley Cup history, winning the Cup is about Read more »

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The Bench Jockeys scoop Washington Post.

Posted in Chazerai, The Quick Hook, US Politics on April 22nd, 2011 by Ian Paregol

Courtesy of a find by a faithful reader, The Bench Jockeys article on the 2012 Election was 10 days ahead of Charles Krauthammer’s – and we gave you more candidates. Here’s Kraut’s:

Maybe he will link to ours….not bloody likely.

Gary Johnson Makes it Official

Posted in The Horseshoe, The Quick Hook, US Politics on April 21st, 2011 by Ian Paregol

April 21 – Former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson, officially threw his hat into the ring today in New Hampshire but remains a Republican darkhorse.  Because The Bench Jockeys saw this one coming and determined that Johnson has barely a prayer of securing the nomination, Johnson’s opening odds – 500:1 – remain unchanged.  The skinny on Johnson is that as Governor, he rarely came across a piece of legislation he liked – setting national records for his utilization of the gubernatorial veto, he opposed the war in Iraq from the get-go, he favors putting the educational system entirely in the hands of parents & local authorities and he supports legalizing marijuana as a means to combat the drug-related violence.

Check to our contenders and pretenders Page at

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Hirsute Up

Posted in Professional Sports, The Quick Hook on April 15th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

It’s Spring and it’s warming up (even in Boston) and that’s the logical time to grow a nice itchy beard,… more specifically, a “Playoff Beard.”  Denis Potvin and the members of the New York Isles – who owned the Stanley Cup from 1980 to 1983 – take credit for the development of the playoff beard.  But when Gretzky’s Oilers wrestled the Cup away from the Islanders stronghold, the beard took a hiatus until the Devils made it a mainstay in hockey post-season culture.  So from Vancouver to DC…. hockey fans,…. this is the week that shaving becomes optional (for up to 7weeks), employers consider revising their standards for staff appearance and men sleep alone as hockey fans grow their facial hair in support of their clubs.

There are many rules for the playoff beard but Rule #1 is: Read more »

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Barbour’s Odds Take an Immediate Downgrade

Posted in The Horseshoe, The Quick Hook, US Politics on April 13th, 2011 by Ian Paregol

14 hours after establishing odds for the 2012 Republican nomination, The Bench Jockeys have their first modification.  Haley Barbour has been downgraded to 15:1 from his opening 10:1 odds.  AP’s recent analysis of Haley Barbour’s work during his years as a lobbyist Read more »

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