March Madness has nothing on an October Surprise

Published 4:54 pm Saturday, October 6, 2018

Look up October Surprise and you will find it is a real thing.

According to online sources, it can be a political ploy to sway an election.

Let’s say a candidate gets a juicy bit of gossip on their opponent a few months before the election and they conduct a thorough investigation.  They can’t find any facts to support the gossip but they are losing in the polls.  So they find a way to release the juicy bit of gossip just before the election.  All they need is enough time to cast doubt on their opponent’s integrity and hopefully sway voters before the truth can be known.

The sports world can also provide the October surprise.

One of the best came in October 2002 when the Anaheim Angels beat the New York Yankees three games to one in their American League division series.

According to a report posted online by Tyler Kepner of The New York Times, it would be the first October since 1997 the Yankees DID NOT advance to the World Series.

Kepner titled his report, ‘Baseball; An October Surprise.’

The Houston Astros are the reigning World Series Champions.

Margie Stephens at Harry’s Appliance will no doubt be tuned in enthusiastically supporting her Astros.

It will be no surprise with her.  If they win, she will be ecstatic.  If they lose, it will be a different story.

The Longhorns have been a no-show for several years in the college football quest for glory.  This October could their resurrection opportunity.

As of this writing, according to some poll somewhere, they are ranked number 19.  On the day this writing is published they will play the Sooners from Oklahoma, ranked number seven presumably by the same poll.

You could safely assume, based on the rankings and their recent winning trend, it will be a surprise if the Longhorns prevail.

Of course, there is also the Aggies from Texas A&M.

(Insert a ‘whoop’ here because somebody will audibly speak it as they read the prior sentence.)

They have a new coach and, so far, they have not really surprised anyone.

The Crimson Tide are riding high, as usual, in college football.  It will truly be a surprise if they lose one game in October.  If they lose two, some sports fans will be ecstatic.

It is too early to tell where a surprise may unfold in the National Football League or the National Basketball Association.  They just started their marathon 2018-2019 seasons.

October is ripe for surprises in the world of sports when you have baseball, football, basketball, volleyball, track, golf and probably half a dozen other sports being played on fields spanning the pee-wee leagues to the professional.

Of course, if you see a surprise before it happens it wouldn’t be a surprise.  Until a surprise happens we are stuck with the routine and predictable.

Which is why we like surprises.

So, what are our chances of an October surprise in the political world?

Probably pretty good.

We have a mid-term election coming in November.

Historically in a mid-term election, the party of the president generally loses.  On Election Day, the Republican Party will be the party in power in the executive and legislative branches.

If the polls tighten and it looks like voters may buck the historical trend could Democrats come out swinging?

Maybe the best we can hope for is a surprise on the last day of the month.

Halloween provides an opportunity for surprises as wide-eyed children of all ages venture through haunted houses.

Let’s hope all your surprises are good ones.

But keep your eyes and ear open for an October Surprise because March Madness is still a few months away.


Bobby Tingle is the publisher of The Orange Leader.  You can reach him at