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Column: My can’t-miss predictions for L.A. and California in 2022

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts
Will Dodgers manager Dave Roberts leave behind sabermetrics and go with his gut in 2022? Only time will tell.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Around this time last year, I offered y’all gentle readers a list of predictions I, well, predicted would come true and change California forever.

None of them came true. Not one. My batting average was worse than the Dodgers’ with runners in scoring position in the playoffs.

There was no break from wildfires. Eric Garcetti didn’t finish his term as a competent mayor. Donald Trump didn’t chill out and leave public life for good. Huntington Beach didn’t erect a monument to Gavin Newsom’s hair, although there’s now a Black council member in town, which was such an outlandish idea before 2021 that I would’ve never dared imagine it.

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You’re better off going to that psychic right off the 5 Freeway South’s Ditman Avenue exit in East L.A. — you know, the house with the neon palm you’ve always wondered about — than to rely on Gustradamus for your yearly forecasts.

But I’m nothing if not persistent.

Part of my job as a columnist is to touch not just on what’s happening now, but what’s up ahead. So as 2021 draws to a close, let me flex my clairvoyance abilities anew. OK, correction: Let’s see if I can get at least one prediction right this time.

Behold what’s going to happen in 2022 — I’m so certain every one of these will happen that I’m placing a 50-peso bet on each at the Hustler Casino in Gardena. Only the most high-roller spots for me, you know?

  • Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts will exorcise the sabermetrics spirits that take over his soul during the sixth inning of every game and allow Julio Urias to throw into the seventh before pulling him from a no-hitter with the Blue Crew leading 13-0. The Dodgers will summarily lose, and Roberts will blame the ghost of Tommy Lasorda for letting him pitch Urias for so long.
  • Everyone in California gets fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — I mean, fully vaccinated. All cycles for Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, including boosters. Full doses of AstraZeneca too. Even Cuba’s COVID-19 shot, for diversity and inclusion purposes. We don’t just get vaccinated; we get super-duper-trooper vaccinated. COVID-19 turns tail and heads back to Texas and Florida.
  • Gavin Newsom decides not to run for reelection and endorses Larry Elder to replace him as California’s governor in a move to end the state’s bipartisan rancor once and for all. Elder accepts the endorsement, but the Snore from South Central doesn’t garner a single vote. Voters instead write in Newsom to replace Elder… and then 100% of Californians recall Newsom as punishment for trying to make nice with Republicans. Newsom and Elder spend the rest of 2022 investing in cryptocurrency — a far more stable bet than democracy nowadays.
  • Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva determines cowboy hats aren’t a macho enough look for his deputies. He orders them to wear “Star Wars” stormtrooper helmets with big manly mustaches taped on. Villanueva also provides all LASD employees with spurs, spittoons, big cigars and window decals for their squad cars that show Calvin from “Calvin and Hobbes” fame peeing on a crowd of protesters.
  • USC goes an entire year without a single scandal. The school... who am I kidding? Even I’m not taking that bet. Go Bruins!
  • Scientists realize that they can harvest House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy’s speeches as a source of natural gas. Oil and fracking disappear across the American West as the Bakersfield congressman becomes a renewable energy icon with every speech. He emits so much hot air that the Central Valley becomes the wealthiest region in the United States, and California replaces its statue of Junípero Serra at the U.S. Capitol with one of McCarthy in eternal gratitude.
  • Hollywood apologizes for over 100 years of stereotyping Latinos and promises a new, enlightened era. Studios order a new season of “Narcos,” a remake of “American Me,” a Huntington Park version of “Scarface,” a reimagining of the Frito Bandito (he drops the thin mustache in favor of a classier Van Dyke beard), a spinoff for the Jennifer Lopez hand character from “South Park,” and the launching of the “Blood In, Blood Out” Cinematic Universe.
  • Latinx” becomes the de facto word used to describe the largest ethnic group in California. Progressive activists, who had long pushed everyone to drop “Latino” because it’s a gendered term and derided those who don’t embrace it as Chicanosauruses, ditch Latinx in protest. They embrace an even more controversial, non-gendered label: “American.”
  • Karen Bass beats Kevin de León in a runoff election to become L.A.’s next mayor. De León, having lost his second election to a powerful woman politician for a high-profile race — the former leader of the California Senate unsuccessfully ran in 2018 against Dianne Feinstein for her U.S. Senate seat — announces he’ll never reach for the big time again and just stick to being merely a council member in the second-largest city in the United States.
  • Right-wing media take a break from obsessing over smash-and-grab robberies at luxury boutiques in San Francisco and Los Angeles and instead do multi-part specials on how wage theft in California totals nearly $2 billion annually. You know, actual journalism.
  • Watch out Rams and, yes, Las Vegas Raiders. The Chargers continue to pick up more football fans, for a grand total of 37 in L.A. by the end of 2022.
  • Finally, lizard people turn out to be real. And those scaly scamps figure out how to solve our supply-chain and inflation problems.

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