October 2022


October 31:

Seems like despite what he might think, the endorsement of a former US president under federal investigation doesn’t actually count for much after all, as Brazil elected its leftist former leader, Lula, over Jair Bolsonaro. The question now seems to be whether Bolsonaro and his supporters will accept defeat. Sound familiar?

Game Three of the World Series was rained out in Philadelphia, with the make-up set for tomorrow. The off-day could benefit the home team by giving their rotation an enexpected day off. The Phillies have won 21 of 28 playoff games at home.


October 30:

Joe Biden persuaded his his old boss to go back out on the campaign trail.

Of course, the thing about team allegiances – whether from a lifetime of support or just for a current series because the alternative might just be too awful – is that you have to tolerate people wearing the same colours that you just wouldn’t tolerate in day-to-day life.


October 29:

If tonight’s Game Two is anything like last night’s Game One, this is going to be one hell of a World Series. The Phillies came from 5-0 down – scoring five runs off Justin Verlander – to win 6-5 in 10 innings. The Astros, meanwhile, are the first team to lose a World Series game when leading by five or more runs since the 2002 San Francisco Giants, also managed by Dusty Baker.


October 28:

The husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was undergoing brain surgery after what sounds like a shockingly violent attack by an intruder armed with a hammer at the couple’s home in San Francisco. Police said the attacker “targeted” the Speaker’s home and had “espoused extreme right wing views on social media.”

Oh, and there’s a ball game tonight, as Rome burns…


October 27:

Another day of protests in Iran, as demonstrations against the Iranian government continue to grow into one of the biggest challenges to its leadership in four decades.

Oh. That’s a relief…

In other authoritarian news…


October 25:

The single Pennsylvania Senate debate between John Fetterman and Dr Mehmet Oz was inevitably dominated by what the Democrat called “the elephant in the room”.

Fetterman declined to pledge to release his medical records, saying only that his doctor believes he is fit to serve. Meanwhile, independent candidiate Everett Stern withdrew from the race, endorsing Fetterman.

As the midterms get nearer tight races across the country appear to be getting even tighter, while campaign “tactics” show more signs of desperation as various walls close in.

In Britain, the new Premier is assembling his Cabinet.


October 24:

Appropriately enough on Diwali, Rishi Sunak is set to become leader of the Conservative Party and the first Hindu Prime Minister of Britain. At 42, he will be the youngest person to hold the position in modern times. He’s likely to take office on Tuesday with the nation facing “profound” economic challenges.

Within an hour of the announcement, #RishiOut was trending in the UK, while among opposition parties, calls grew for a general election.

In news of other troubled democracies… a VERY deliberate message from the DOJ of precisely how meticulous their investigations are.

and… oh!


October 23:

For the fourth time in six years, the Houston Astros are American League champions after an unbeaten post-season run that culminated in them sweeping the New York Yankees in The Bronx accompanied by someone who – of course – sat where the TV camera would always be on him.

And of course there was plenty of video of Cruz being insulted by those horrible NYC “elites”…

Starting next Friday, Houston will go up against the Philadelphia Phillies, who came back to beat San Diego behind a key Bryce Harper home run and take their first National League championship since 2009.

In June, the Phils became the first team this season to sack their manager during what the AP described as a “lackluster season”.


October 22:

With one empire moving to consolidate its power for years to come, another is on the brink of being humiliated in its own backyard. A former empire, meanwhile, continues its spiral into chaos.

The New York Yankees are one game away from elimination in the ALCS after being blanked by Houston in The Bronx.

In the NLCS the Phillies – who don’t forget, fired their manager earlier in the season – are also one win away from a World Series after overcoming a potentially disastrous first inning to pummel San Diego into submission.

As the Conservative Party hurtles toward a Monday deadline for declarations in its leadership “contest”, literally anything could happen.

(Update: Sadly, photoshopped, although the real question is how did they get the late Terry Pratchett to hold up the sign?)


October 21:

As President Biden touted the “biggest one-year deficit reduction in history” and said it’s his “intention” to run again in 2024; that view isn’t universally shared among his party’s potential voters this year.

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump finally received a subpoena from the Jan 6th Committee – on the same day that his former adviser Steve Bannon was sentenced to four months in prison on Contempt of Congress charges. He remains free – and broadcasting – pending appeal. Another former Trump acolyte, Sen Lindsey Graham, continues to resist testifying in the Fulton County, Georgia case on electoral interference.

After the Iranian-made drone attack on Kyiv this week, more details appear to be emerging of the extent of Iran’s involvement in Russia’s war.

Meanwhile, with talk of a winter spike amid concern over the number of Americans getting the latest booster shot

In Britain, the contest to succeed Liz Truss is gearing up for a fevered sprint next week. Meanwhile debt rating agency Moody’s warned over the country’s economic stability in the midst of policy uncertainty.

In the NLCS, the Phillies took a 2-1 lead over the Padres after a tense finish that saw Seranthony Dominguez record a six-out save, the franchise’s first since Tug McGraw in Game 6 of the 1980 World Series, when Philadelphia clinched the first championship in their history.

Finally, this is exactly the headline Astros fans wanted to wake up to.


October 20:

And indeed, hours rather than days it was.

Liz Truss will be the shortest-serving British prime minister, a record previously held by George Canning, who took on the job on April 10, 1827, but died from pneumonia in August that year.

There will now be a truncated internal Tory leadership contest to be concluded by the end of next week.

Elsewhere in Britaly..

The new, totally non-cheating Houston Astros took a 2-0 lead in the ALCS. The Yankees have now struck out 30 times in the two games, as the series moves to The Bronx. No team has won the first 2 games at home and lost the ALCS since the 2004 Yankees.


October 19:

Another day of unprecedented chaos for the British government further intensified pressure on PM Liz Truss, with some observers believing she could have “hours, rather than days” remaining in office.

Meanwhile, there are three weeks to go until the midterms, with early voting under way in elections that will have huge implications, not just for the US but also for the war in Ukraine. So, of course features abound about young voters and NFL fans.

In the League Championship series, the Astros behind Justin Verlander took the first game against the Yankees, while San Diego evened their series with Philadelphia. The Nola brothers became the first siblings to face each other in the post-season.


October 17:

Russia launched a wave of drone attacks on the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, in an attempt to terrorise the civilian population and disrupt infrastructure and energy supplies ahead of winter. The so-called “kamikaze” drones are thought to be Iranian in origin. Some were shot down by Ukraine’s air defences but four people in the city were killed.

In Britain, the surreal pantomime of the governing Conservative party and their soon-to-be-former leader Liz Truss continues, as new Chancellor Jeremy Hunt moved to undo most of her disastrous recent economic policy.

The final remaining winner-take-all game in the Divisional Series matchups, between the Yankees and Cleveland was in a lengthy rain delay in The Bronx before being postponed until tomorrow. With each minute that passed, the conspiracy theories as to exactly why grew more entertaining…

Earlier, Tim Ryan and JD Vance faced off again in Ohio and debated the concept of “ass-kissing” while Herschel Walker appeared on a Fox “News” telethon in Georgia.


October 16:

The Chinese Communist Party gathered for its 20th five-yearly Congress, with President Xi Jinpeng set to be reappointed for a third term

Meanwhile, as China’s foreign ministry instructed its citizens to leave Ukraine immediately due to a “serious security situation”, the US said China and other nuclear powers should urge Russia not to move to the use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

As pressure grows on Prime Minister Liz Truss over her recent economic policy, the Conservatives turn to the man who lost the previous leadership contest to Boris Johnson, former Foreign Secretary – and of course Health Secretary – Jeremy Hunt.

As baseball’s playoffs continue, the much-fancied Los Angeles Dodgers fell to the San Diego Padres while the Philadelphia Phillies clinched a place in the NLCS over the defending champion Atlanta Braves. Three 100-game-winning teams have now failed to advance.

In the American League, meanwhile…


October 14:

The lone debate in Georgia’s Senate race between Sen Raphael Warnock and his Trump-endorsed challenger, former football star Herschel Walker was pretty much what you might have been expecting.

Heading into Saturday’s games, The Phillies and the Astros could clinch their Divisional playoffs. Check the latest at mlb.com.


October 13:

It what might be largely a symbolic – but fundamentally necessary – move, the Jan 6th Committee voted unanimously to subpoena former president Donald Trump over his role in that day’s attempted insurrection. In its ‘closing argument’ hearing the Committee presented dramatic new information and footage outlining how Trump was instrumental to the day’s events. It was only part of an all-round bad day for the former president.



October 12:

Words have consequences. Truth matters.

With the Oath Keepers trial continuing, the January 6th Committee resumes with a public hearing expected to offer “closing arguments” on Thursday.

Meanwhile, there’s more potential legal jeopardy for the former president.

Day Two of the Divisional Series. Follow the action at MLB.com.


October 11:

As anxiety continues over next steps after Russia’s escalated missile strikes on Ukrainian cities, President Biden described Vladimir Putin as “a rational actor who has miscalculated significantly.”

Meanwhile Elon Musk may – or may not – have been trying out his diplomatic skills.

Last night saw the single debate in the Ohio Senate race between Tim Ryan and JD Vance, a contest that continues to poll neck-and-neck with the midterms a month away. Writing in The Atlantic, Tom Nichols wrote:

“Today, we no longer expect or even want our politicians to be better than we are. The new American right, however, has blown past the relatively innocuous populism of the past 40 years and added a fetid cynicism about almost everything related to public life. Not only are the MAGA Republicans seemingly repelled by the idea of voting for someone better than they are; they support candidates who are often manifestly worse people than the average citizen, so that they may slather their fears about their own shortcomings and prejudices under a sludgy and undifferentiated hatred about almost everyone in public office.

“These populists not only look past the sins of their candidates but also defend and even celebrate them.”

In Georgia, GOP Senators Tom Cotton and Rick Scott drew the short straw and had to stump for embattled Senate candidate Herschel Walker, largely talking about football and trying to keep a straight face at much of what Walker told the crowd.

In a Fox News audition move, former presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard apparently left the Democratic Party, likely shocking no-one, but at least surprising plenty of people who thought she had already left.


October 10:

Missile attacks were under way on Monday morning against Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and other cities in apparent retaliation for Friday’s attack on the bridge linking Russia to Crimea, which Vladimir Putin had called a “terrorist act”.

(Read a conversation I had with Michael Avila, who had recently returned from visiting Moldova – Not All Who Wander Are Lost )

At a rally in Arizona last night, former president Donald Trump yet again probably said more than his lawyers would like. And yet again, nothing happened.

Meanwhile, Trump’s chosen candidate in the Georgia Senate race, former football player Herschel Walker continues to try to fend off stories about his character – a process made easier by senior GOP figures who are rallying round him. Walker is – for now – set to debate incumbent Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock this coming Friday.

The San Diego Padres eliminated the 101-win New York Mets (and because of the new wild card format, the Mets became the first team to win a hundred games and not make the division series), despite a challenge involving Joe Musgrove’s ears, to complete the line-up for the next stage of the post-season, where they’ll meet the LA Dodgers.


October 8:

The longest bridge in Europe, and the only crossing over the Kerch Strait linking Russia to Crimea – an important supply line for Russian troops – was attacked and severely damaged. Russia said three people had been killed. Ukrainians celebrated the attack, which came the day after Vladimir Putin’s 70th birthday, while hard-liners in Moscow demanded retaliation.


October 7:

The 2022 Post-Season is under way. Here’s what we can expect in terms of schedules and broadcasts.

The new format for the additional Wild Card playoffs comes with a home field advantage through all of the best-of-three series games, with no off-days.

In short, calendar-wise, the best-of-five League Division Series start on October 11; The best-of-seven League Championship Series start one week later, then the best-of-seven World Series starts on Friday October 28, with Game Seven if necessary on Saturday November 5, three days before election day.

As Joe Posnanski writes in his excellent post-season preview, there’s really not much point at this stage writing that “anything can happen” since, well, anything can.


October 6:

The web of potential Jan 6th conspiracies around the current Oath Keepers trial as it continues to ramp up just gets more and more intricate, pulling in even more peripheral players who happen to be in Trump’s orbit.

Meanwhile, as it was announced that the postponed Jan 6th hearing will be held on October 13, the ongoing investigations involving the former president inevitably become increasingly intertwined…

And talking of peripheral; this could be some kind of balancing act, but it’s probably not helping get to the truth or calm people down…

Oh and hey, in case you missed it, for whatever reason…


October 5:

President Biden was in Florida to survey damage from the recent hurricane and met with local politicians and officials to discuss federal aid and recovery measures.

If you were looking for an economic “October Surprise” maybe this is it..

In the Georgia Senate race, the Herschel Walker story just gets worse, but no-one’s really sure for who. The GOP establishment is circling the wagons, the power of Trump’s endorsement still holds sway, the candidate is raising money off the lurid details and of course, Raphael Warnock never scored an NFL touchdown.

It looks like Elon Musk is buying Twitter after all. Or, errr, not. Of course…

Today is the final day of the regular baseball season. It’s been a good one for sure. Now it’s time for the playoffs, which start on Friday.


October 4:

Donald Trump’s lawyers turned to the Supreme Court – and specifically Justice Clarence Thomas, days after his wife testified to the Jan 6th Committee – in an attempt to further delay the Mar-a-Lago documents case. But their move might turn out to be a step too far.

In a potential “October Surprise” in the Georgia Senate election, The Daily Beast turned up the heat on Trump-endorsed GOP candidate Herschel Walker, whose campaign seems unsure how to respond – or even whether they need to.

In what was already a remarkable personal season, Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run to break Roger Maris’s American League record. Perhaps predictably, the debate over the legitimacy of the records over 62 has only intensified.


October 3:

A new, historic, Supreme Court session opened, as debate continues over the application of the actual rule of law to all of America’s citizens.

Keeping his lawyers busy, as always, the former president also sued CNN for $475m, claiming defamation. Meanwhile, Washington waited for GOP pushback against Trump’s perceived threat towards Mitch McConnell.

Elsewhere, as cleanup continues after Hurricane Ian, the death toll in Florida passed 100 and debate began about the logistics, and cost, of rebuilding; accompanied by some inconsistencies among the state’s own representatives.

The Phillies clinched a NL Wild Card spot behind a gem of a pitching performance in Houston by Aaron Nola. It’s the team’s first post-season appearance since 2011.

On this day in 1951 was the “shot heard round the world.” If you’ve never read the opening chapter of Don DeLillo’s weighty masterpiece Underworld, today would be the perfect day for it.

DeLillo once said in an interview: “The significance of baseball, more than other sports, lies in the very nature of the game – slow and spread out and rambling. It’s a game of history and memory, a kind of living archive.”

That it is.


October 2:

Just hours after Donald Trump recorded a message endorsing Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro, early indications didn’t look good for the incumbent, but it’s still only the first round.



October 1:

As uncertainty reigns over Vladimir Putin’s next move, Ukrainian forces continue to press their counter-offensive.

The only scheduled gubernatorial debate in the Texas contest between incumbent Greg Abbott and Beto O’Rourke took place without an audience.

As the regular season winds down, the Seattle Mariners clinched a post-season berth for the first time in 21 years – the longest play-off drought in sports – with a walk-off home run; the NL East is going down to the wire between the Mets and Jimmy Carter’s Braves, while the Phillies still have a shot at the Wild Card and will apparently play in DC tomorrow despite an awful weather forecast (and awful opponents), even if they have to wait “until darkness.”

Shohei Ohtani signed a one-year $30m deal with the Angels to avoid arbitration, renewing speculation on where he might end up as a free agent after the 2023 season. Anthony Rizzo became the ninth player in MLB history to be hit by a pitch 200 times.

That was then, this is now…