During one of those interminable New Year's Eve television programs, one of the newscasters made a tongue-in-cheek prediction that no one would make any predictions for 1987.
He was bemused by his moment of incongruity, and I was chagrined.
"Easy for him to say," I grumbled to my wife. "He doesn't have to go into the office and write a column the Friday after the New Year."
She understood, because I already had been testing the credibility of a few things I thought might happen hereabouts in 1987. She had been listening carefully, occasionally awakening to ask me if it was getting close to midnight.
Undaunted by the flippancy of the chap on television, I determined to forge forward with a look at the upcoming year. After all, it is a public service.
Onward . . .
--Steve Garvey will buy the Padres and restore beer in the clubhouse. However, he will ban first basemen under the age of 38.
--Fred Miller will discover that San Diego State has a basketball team. That won't necessarily be good news for the SDSU basketball team . . . or its coach.
--Brigham Young University will return to the Holiday Bowl. There will be controversy, however, because the quarterback will be Steve Young. BYU will claim he was only on a mission to professional football.
--Bob Bell will throw a Valentine's Day party for the Sockers. It will be held at 20 restaurants, one for each player and coach and one for Bell himself.
--LaMarr Hoyt will pitch in Japan, where he cannot get into trouble trying to walk across the border.
--The Clippers will try to return to San Diego, but hastily organized roadblocks will keep them out. Instead, the community will seriously pursue a National Basketball Assn. team.
--An intrepid photographer will catch Al Saunders with his tie loosened and four hairs out of place. This was the same photographer who once shot a picture of Don Coryell smiling on the day of a game.
--Dennis Conner will bring the America's Cup to San Diego and display it in the window of his drapery shop.
--Larry Bowa will be ejected so often from Padre games that a cable television and intercom will be installed in his shower.
--Willie Nelson will buy the Padres and ban shaving cream, razors, hair spray and blow-dryers from the locker room. The players will ask that he ban beer instead.
--San Diego State will graduate a basketball player, presumably one who exhausted his eligibility in 1982.
--Branko Segota and Steve Zungul will retire from indoor soccer, saying they can make more money as a two-person team barnstorming against high school faculties. They will change their minds when they realize that one of them will have to play defense.
--Citing lack of support in San Diego, United States International University will move its basketball team to its London campus.
--Don Coryell will be ignored by the San Diego Hall of Champions. Instead, this year's Hall of Fame inductees will be a bocci ball champion from 1936 and former Hoover High School linebacker who was a team captain at Otterbein in 1955.
--USD's basketball team will play in the NCAA Tournament, but Brent Musberger will call the school San Diego State, Billy Packer will call it UC San Diego and Dick Vitale will wonder when South Dakota became a Division I team.
--Denny Stolz will reorganize SDSU football practices after reviewing Holiday Bowl films. Henceforth, the Aztecs will devote 10 minutes to offense, 10 minutes to defense and 90 minutes to protecting against kickoff returns.
--Kevin Rahill will not be back as the Aztecs' kicker. Noting that Rahill made three touchdown-saving tackles on Iowa kickoff returns in the Holiday Bowl, Stolz will shrewdly move him to free safety.
--Draftniks will boo the Chargers when they take a linebacker in the first round. They will complain that they are tiring of all the emphasis on defense when the offense needs so much help.
--Uvaldo Martinez will try to buy the Padres with his credit card.
--The Shearson Lehman Brothers Andy Williams Moon River San Diego Open will be won by . . . never mind, you've never heard of him.
--UC San Diego's crew team will win the San Diego Thunderboat Regatta when all the hydroplanes choke on saltwater.
--The Major Indoor Soccer League and the NBA will sign a network television agreement to play their championship games as a Fourth of July doubleheader.
--The Chargers will miss an opportunity to trade an eighth-round draft choice for Lawrence Taylor because the New York Giants did not know who to call. Would they contact the assistant to the president or the other assistant to the president or maybe the special assistant to the president? Or would they call the head coach, the director of scouting or maybe the director of video operations?
--Kevin McReynolds will buy the Padres and announce he is moving them to Locust Bayou, Ark.
Yes, folks, these are things to expect in 1987. The crystal ball may be just a little bloodshot, but that's to be expected this time of year. The only confusion seemed to be about exactly who might buy the Padres. About the only thing I know for sure is that it won't be Rich Gossage, who would not want to be in the position of having to suspend himself for bad-mouthing his mirror.