I led off a year ago with what I thought was a no-brainer:
1. Sports: Pirates observers (few people today hold themselves out as fans any longer) will endure yet another losing season in 2010, but the team will fall short of 100 losses. This is hardly a prediction, of course; it’s all but a guarantee. The Pirates are well on their way to becoming this generation’s Washington Senators. (The team has a couple of options: Make a deal with the devil, and lure Tab Hunter out of retirement. Or execute a move similar to one made famous at the trial of Al Capone: Take the entire major league roster, coaches, managers, and all, and ship them to the Pirates’ Class AA affiliate, the Altoona Curve. Bring the entire Curve roster and staff to Pittsburgh. Put them in Pirates uniforms. A AA-grade franchise deserves AA-grade players. Play ball!)
I struck out. Picking the Pirates to have a losing season hardly counts as gazing correctly into a crystal ball; my dog could have made that prediction, and my dog doesn't watch baseball. But a guarantee that the Pirates would lose fewer than 100 games in 2010? The word "guarantee" was the kiss of death. The Pirates lost 105 games in what was not their worst season ever, but perhaps the most demoralizing of the last 18. It's the sheer indifference of the organization, off the field as much as on it, that kills the fans.
Tomorrow: the Arts.