The week in Los Angeles sports (5/20/16-5/26/16)

Before recapping a week that was weak from my old stomping grounds, I want to address the idea of the Oakland Raiders moving to either Las Vegas or Los Angeles.

If the Raiders can’t make it work in Oakland, the Rams should tell them to move to Vegas.

The cold truth is the Rams could lose the city they fought so hard to move to, because the Raiders are a damn entertaining football team right now and on the cusp of being a playoff threat.

The Rams? I’m not sure what the hell they are right now. I know they want to run the football, but they let a lot of their defensive depth go in order to make room for a quarterback. They’re likely a couple of years away.

The return of the LA Raiders could damage the LA Rams. Why would team owner Stan Kroenke allow that?

Now…

Dodgers: A national outlet’s power rankings asked if it was time to write off the Dodgers. Depending on what you’re writing them off for, it’s a fair question. Playoff berth? I wouldn’t write them off. World title? Grab your pen and start scribbling, because this team is currently very poorly designed and poorly led.

Consider they just finished a string of 10 consecutive games against last place teams and finished a painfully mediocre 5-5.

I have plenty of time to deconstruct the team, though. Instead, I want to take the analytics-enslaved management to task over how it treated Ross Stripling. You might remember how manager Dave Roberts ruined Stripling’s push for a no-hitter in his major league debut. Roberts, beholden to the spreadsheet the alleged “smartest front office in baseball” forced him to abide by instead of common sense, pulled Stripling, and the Dodgers lost.

Had Stripling — a journeyman minor-leaguer — finished the no-hitter, he would have had a better shot at landing a job with another team because he wasn’t in the Dodgers future plans. Or at least, he would have been known as “the guy who threw the no-hitter” everywhere he went afterward.

Stripling was demoted in the last week. It’s unlikely you’ll see him in Dodger blue again.

Good going, “smart guys.”

Lakers: Brian Shaw was hired as Luke Walton’s lead assistant coach, and sportswriters from sea to shining sea got the story totally wrong.

Shaw is not there to bring the Warriors “small ball” style to the Lakers. We don’t even know if Walton is going to try to replicate that.

Shaw was an assistant under Phil Jackson. Walton played for Jackson. And Jackson ran the triangle.

You’re jumping to a conclusion that the facts don’t support. Idiots. You don’t know what Walton will do yet.

By the way, if “small ball” is so great, why are the Warriors down 3-1 to Oklahoma City and its three seven-footers?

Galaxy: Rivarly Week for Major League Soccer ended with a thud when San Jose picked up a 1-1 tie with less than 10 minutes to go in the game. That sucked. It really did, especially since LA got its goal when a San Jose player accidentally kicked the ball into his own net.

Kings: The NHL draft is in late June. The Kings don’t have a first-round pick and even if they did, I couldn’t tell you if the dude could play.

Clippers: Just a gut feeling. Despite all the talk about blowing up the team, I think they simply focus on finding J.J, Reddick’s replacement at shooting guard. Dude is 31.

When was the last time an NBA franchise blew up, by the way? The last I can think of … the Chicago Bulls when Pippen and Jordan left?

Looking for “the stars homes” takes on a different meaning here

If you’ve known me for a while, you knew that I lived on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood for a spell. Yes, there were tour buses to the homes of celebrities and people who asked me if I knew where the cast of “Saved by the Bell” lived. Truth be told, I know Mr. Belding. Great guy. Not tellin’ you where he lives.

Now that I live in Florida, something I didn’t expect happened. People in LA ask me if I know Florida’s “celebrities.”

“Dude, have you met George Zimmerman?”

No, but I have been to Sanford. I just don’t wear a hoodie when I’m there.

Now people want to know if I’ve met Casey Anthony. I haven’t, and if I had, I probably be stupid enough to ask for the digits.

Here’s why:

True, the girl was on trial for killing her daughter. And she apparently beat the rap because she was able to get the best legal defense her body could buy.

Considering it costs at least $25,000 to retain a lawyer in a serious felony case, such as murder — and no, I do not know from first-hand experience — Casey Anthony must have some serious game in the Motel 6 to pay that off.

I know it’s repugnant, but it’s not exactly easy finding Miss Right out in these here swamps.

The way I figure it, you might think after having a fight with your girlfriend, that make-up sex is good. Well, make-up sex may be good … But “thank you for keeping me out of jail sex” has to be freaking incredible.

And yes, I’m thinking horrible thoughts because I had a horrible day. Could you tell?

Quick howdy to my political buddies

Those who know me, feel free to advise those who don’t on my behalf: I’m not about to tell you who to vote for. You think I’m going to tell Democrats that they’re about to nominate a son of a bitch? Or the daughter of one? Who am I to talk? I’m fully aware my party already did nominate a son of a bitch.

You ain’t seeing me getting all defensive about your posts about you-know-who.

But I would like you to think twice about your memes, your links to a hot “news” item on conservativesuberalles.com or ifyouaintliberalyoureaworthlesspieceofshit.com. You know the posts. The ones that claim, for example, that Hillary Clinton is off to jail or the hand of God graced Bernie Sanders, and his supporters glowed the holiest of glows despite the fact that they were avowed atheists.

Because every election year — and this is a defined portion of the political calendar, I might add — pundits, pollsters and the permanently aggrieved shriek the shrillest of shrillness to keep you engaged in the electoral process. Put another way, to keep the fat cats’ checks coming and to keep you posting outright falsehoods that your candidate’s opponent is a cockroach in a tie or a pantsuit.

The political “silly season” is defined as such (italics from me): In US politics and lifestyle, the silly season is a period from early summer until the first week of October of election years. Primary elections are over at this time, but formal debates have not started and the general election is still many weeks away. Issues raised during this period are likely to be forgotten by the election, so candidates may rely on frivolous political posturing and hyperbole to get media attention and raise money.

In other words, your patriotism is being cynically used by politicians during a gorgeous time of year.

So why raise your blood pressure or mine? You can’t tell me something about any of the candidates right now that I don’t already know.

If OccupyDemocrats or Right Wing News sends you an alert that — for the good of the country — is an absolute must for your Facebook feed, know this: It isn’t. It’s childish name calling.

You know what would be more mature? To be a child again. Go outside and play. It’s summer, for Pete’s sake.

Laugh at my pain? It’s a pain trying to laugh, at Kevin Hart

For openers, I want to thank Hollywood for waiting two entire months before releasing another steaming pile of dreck starring Kevin Hart. We don’t know why there was a delay for the movie. TMZ has not been able to verify the rumor that “Central Intelligence” was originally titled “Ride Along 3,” only Ice Cube had a prior commitment with his sneer coaches.

Still, I think the better decision would have been to give us all a break from this one-note wundermunchkin and let another black comic have a chance. A friend has asked me why I hate the guy so much. It’s not that I hate him so much as it is that I hate the idea that Hollywood only sees one type of black man — the loud, over-acting facemaker — as “funny.” And then, because studios are loathe to take risks, they will rechurn that same spew until the public finally has enough and revolts like a Bernie Sanders rally.

But it also goes beyond race. Hollywood has deemed one type of white guy as funny. How many times do we need to see Seth Rogan or Will Ferrell in their tighty whiteys?

I have no idea why the powers-that-be selected Kevin Hart to fill the role as Hollywood’s pre-eminent black comedic actor. My best guess is that they had a few dozen spare scripts for Chris Tucker lying around and thought, why let them go to waste?

Because a quick check of the filmography of Hacky McNeckroll and it becomes obvious there’s no attempt at being creative. He shot five movies in 2014, a few more last year and as many as six could come out this year, depending on how fast Universal Studios needs to recover from the losses incurred by “R.I.P.D.” and “47 Ronin.”

How can a quality comedic actor create six uniquely funny characters in the span of a year?

The answer is, you can’t. It’s all the same character. It’s the same joke. It’s a director looking at Will Farrell saying, “The writers can’t think of anything. Drop your pants and start running.”

Again?

Yeah, again.

It was only a matter of time before some sleazeball in a European suit saw the screenplay for “Get Hard” and asked the obvious, “Why not have Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell in the same movie? It’ll be the ‘Batman V Superman’ of awful comedy!”

What galls me about Kevin Hart, aside from overexposure, is the vast number of incredibly talented black comics that will never get a chance because Hollywood is so focused on force-feeding you one guy. Black comedy is not just volume plus facemaking. Comedy can speak of social ills, be absurd, use clever wordplay, speak in metaphor.

Comedy can be a confessional. Richard Pryor didn’t create dozens of movies around one joke. He lived a life, found what was funny about that life, and became a legend. Nobody will ever forget Richard Pryor.

But we have to be told the obvious: Kevin Hart is loud and short. Pay $12. Point and laugh. Repeat.

Naw, I heard that joke years ago. Give another man a chance. There has to be the next Richard Pryor out there somewhere.

Monty Python ain’t got nothin’ on me when it comes to spam

This isn’t my first blog. I had one I enjoyed which clowned athletes who got arrested. The problem with that blog was athletes get arrested at such an alarming clip I was posting up to 11 times per day. After three years and more than 3,500 posts, I was running out of cheap shots.

There were two things I remember most about that blog. One was the threats from athletes who were out on bail. The other was the spam. My tablet “dings” whenever I got an email, such as a message to this site. One night, thanks to citizens of Ghana wanting to sell us all boner pills for cheaper than the Canadians, being near my tablet was like sleeping next to a ringing phone.

The lesson being: If you run a blog, you’ll eventually need to invest in a spam blocker or you’ll hear from the entire royal family of Skidmarkistan asking for a loan to reclaim their rightful place, leading a nation of turd farmers.

I’ve had this blog for less than a week. I don’t have an internet presence yet that would lead to a flurry of spam.

img_1369-1.jpg

Or do I?

Welp, maybe I need some erection pills.

Watching Orlando City soccer, the lion’s share is in rule-breaking

I’m an unusual person. I not only like soccer. I really like Major League Soccer.

It’s not as good as the Premiere League, Bundesliga or Serie A. Hell, Liga MX is a superior product, but MLS is the only thing we’ve got going without getting up insanely early for televised games or moving to Europe.

So I’ve sung with the Angel City Brigade in support of the Los Angeles Galaxy. In my travels, I’ve seen games in Portland (an amazing atmosphere) and Dallas (an inspiring collection of alcoholics) and now that I live in central Florida, I’ve seen a lot of Orlando City SC.

I don’t want to mince words. Watching a 90-minute Orlando City soccer game is comprised of about 75 minutes of pointless mind-numbing brutality and 15 minutes of excellence.

The excellence comes from Brazilian legend Kaka, the onetime best player to walk the planet. Tonight in a 2-1 victory over the Montreal Impact, it was Kaka who left the imprint on the Canadian team with two assists to Orlando’s second-best player, Cyle Larin.

Larin might not be long for the team. When you excel in MLS, foreign leagues come calling. Kaka might not be long, either. He’s in his 30s.

Which leaves Orlando City in a bit of a pickle because the rest of the roster isn’t nearly as good as its swelling fan base thinks it is. The Lions play with no discipline whatsoever, and the result is that they have allowed the most goals in MLS since they debuted last season. They also collect yellow and red cards at an alarming rate — including five yellows Saturday.

But that is not an accident. One could even say it appears to be part of the plan under coach Adrian Heath.

An expansion team in any sport lacks the talent level of established franchises. In soccer, as in the NHL, expansion teams lack defensive talent and usually make up for it by playing a physical brand of defense — tugging on the jersey, extra contact, and so on.

When you are constantly making contact, you will be called for more fouls. It becomes important that — if you lack the speed to keep up with superior opponents — you make up for it with good positioning so that you can disrupt their flow without drawing fouls. Soccer television analysts call it “keeping their shape,” when the defense keeps good positioning.

Orlando City’s positioning is poor. They let so many opponents slip past them, particularly the vastly overrated Breck Shea, that its shape may as well be an amoeba. The consequence is that the Lions are constantly chasing down their opponents to foul from behind, which will draw not only the ref’s whistle, but his yellow and red cards as well.

When you foul somebody that is facing you, it doesn’t look as bad as tackling somebody from behind. That’s just logic.

But good luck trying to find common sense on the Orlando City back line. Of the five yellow cards OCSC earned Saturday, one player picked up a yellow card in his first game back from a suspension. Not exactly a lesson learned from time off.

Yet when Larin was interviewed at halftime about the game’s growing foul count, he said he didn’t have a problem with it. Instead, he urged the team to play with even more aggression, more physicality.

That’s foolish. If you keep getting fouls and cards, a thin roster will be further hollowed out with suspensions. Instead of playing with more aggression, Orlando has to play with more discipline.

So where does discipline come from? The coach? Perhaps, only Heath was suspended by MLS earlier this year. The game he missed out on due to suspension, Orlando lost a winnable game against a struggling Sporting Kansas City.

How can you expect the defense to play with composure when the coach is getting suspended?

If Orlando City played with discipline, look out.

But you can’t tell that to an Orlando City supporter, because when I’ve gone to games they’re too busy complaining about the referees. Look guys, those were fouls. They really were.

For a few moments in Saturday’s game, Lions fans were throwing objects on the pitch.

On the plus side, at least that means those fans have something in common with the players and coach — lack of self-control.

Wave the white flag for “Food Truck Wars”

I drove to work yesterday in Sanford, Fla., just a humble city where a fat kid with a gun and a dream can become an international villain. And there’s always a flashing sign on the highway. Sometimes, the sign urges us to go to Gospelfest. Other times, it suggests we don’t drink and drive. Far better to drink alone at home. In the dark. Peeking at your ex’s Instagrams.

Anyway, Friday the sign flashed “Food Truck Wars!” for this weekend.

I think I’m going to be skeptical the next time somebody tells me I eat too much Burger King.

I moved here from Los Angeles — the Mecca of these DiseaseBurgers on Wheels — last year. You see food trucks “at war” all over the place, hawking authentic international cuisine even from nations that don’t have cars. Aye, Giuseppe! I remember when my beloved Mama heated her famous lasagna bolognese by placing the plate on top of the engine. You haven’t lived until you taste how carbon dioxide brings out the zesty spices.

But they are popular, for reasons I’ve never understood. And they will continue to be popular, even if you understand that these death traps are run by people who apparently wipe their butts with their bare hands just before handing you your Philly cheesesteak.

What really impresses me about this article are the rodents. How the hell do you get rodents in your vehicle while you’re driving? Did you leave the doors open overnight or were you driving so slow that the mice catch up?

Look, I don’t have this eternal life fantasy that some health nuts have. You become a vegan? More power to you, but despite your lifestyle change you still look as sickly as if you ate from a food truck. And on top of that, at least the guy getting sick at the food truck isn’t going to browbeat you with his “meat is murder” political agenda for hours.

At least I’m somewhat confident that the girl behind the counter at Burger King washes her hands.

And I know damn well it’s gonna kill me anyway.

But at least I’m delaying my suffering until the very end of my life. My intestines won’t battle “Dysentery Wars!” every day of my life beforehand.

I am the Highlander… There can be only one

I have a friend who wants to walk the earth with a machete and murder everybody else who shares his name.

Drink that statement in, because it’s true. He is a megalomaniac who also was a big fan of the 1986 cult classic “Highlander,” starring Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery about a guy who has to kill other immortal beings in a worldwide blood sport.

When he told me that, I laughed the statement off and then consulted a genealogist, lest I be a pawn leading him to his next victim.

But now I see his point, because when I tried to see if this blog was registered on Google, I ran across this abomination: “James the Mormon” Curran.

James the Mormon needs to die.

Not because he’s Mormon. I’ve read the Book of Mormon and while I don’t buy it, I have also met many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and they’re swell people.

But when you add to his resume that he is a rapper from Utah … You know, the same mean streets that forged Eminem…

Who spits rhymes about BYU football …

And he got publicity for that atrocity. …

And he shares my name?

Where’s the machete?

Homeboy has to meet his maker, whether he’s wearing that white collared shirt with a name badge or not.

My blood runs cold when I think of the other dingleturds smearing the Earth with my name. Take “James the Well-Mannered Sex Trafficker” Curran, or noted record-breaking drug mule “Keestering James” Curran.

I am The Highlander of James Currans. There can be only one.

Aside from my dad, that is. He could whoop my ass.

This week in Los Angeles sports (5/12/16-5/19/16)

There are blogs that are far more dedicated to the Dodgers, Lakers, Kings, etc. But those are run by fans who won’t put their beer bong full of estrogen to the side so they can level with you. I’m a fan of those teams, too, but I will level with you. Maybe even have some fun at our own expense. Maybe even bring out some concepts you haven’t considered.

For the uninitiated, covering sports is my wheelhouse. Perhaps for a #tbt, instead of ruining the Internet with my face, I’ll post some old press passes. Ooooh, hat boy sat on press row at Staples Center! Pinch me!

Anyway, here goes, in order of most newsworthy to least, with one caveat. I know nothing about the WNBA inner workings other than it was a bad idea. I don’t cover the Sparks.

Lakers: The purple and gold darlings of the city are heading toward the light, presumably at the end of the tunnel instead of falling into the abyss of a hellish afterlife. They managed to secure the No.2 overall pick for the upcoming NBA draft in June. The top two players from college are presumably can’t-miss, but at one point, so was Ryan Leaf for the San Diego Chargers.

Actually, I think the pick — and some fans really think that’s a problem — is a great problem to have. I go to bed at night dreaming of having that problem. Sorry, James, but Blake Lively isn’t interested in you. Would you like to hook up with Selena Gomez?

As a matter of fact, God, yes, I would.

The bigger conundrum facing the Lakers has nothing to do with the draft. We still don’t know what type of a coach Luke Walton will be. He’s still helping coach the Golden State Warriors. Will he utilize their offense? The triangle offense of his former coach, Phil Jackson?

For that matter, with the retirement of Kobe Bryant the glamour franchise of the NBA has $60 million in salary cap room. That gets you past a lot of velvet ropes and poppin’ bottles. But where does that money go?

They still don’t have a center. Detroit has the chance to match any offer the best center available, Andre Drummond, gets. Miami is flooding Hasan Whiteside’s place with all the bikini babes Pitbull can find to keep him. That leaves Al Horford of Atlanta and — I apologize for bringing him up — Dwight Howard.

So yeah, the No.2 pick is good news. Stop overanalyzing it.

Kings: The bullies on skates re-signed coach Darryl Sutter and his many nuanced dour expressions to a new contract. I understand it. I actually like the guy.

I’m just not sure it’s a good idea. Here’s why:

Coaches wear out their welcome in the locker room. You can only play certain roles so many times before the players reflexively tune you out. Don’t blame the players for it. We do that in the workplace, too.

Pat Riley of the Showtime-era Lakers knew he had to leave Los Angeles not because he forgot how to coach. Of course, he could coach. But in a playoff series against Houston in his final year, he was trying to motivate his players and they didn’t even look at him.

It was nothing personal and he knew it. They had simply heard it all before.

Sutter has been said to have a personality that wears people out. He’s been in Los Angeles for five years. Yes, the two Stanley Cups are an achievement.

I don’t see them achieving that again. I could be wrong.

Dodgers: The so-called smartest front office in the history of sports itself continues to genuflect at the altar of Our Lady of Blessed Mediocrity. They are 2 1/2 games behind the Giants in a weakened National League West, a division that was weakened by the Dodgers own doing, I might add.

They are currently in a stretch of 10 games against teams currently in last place in their respective divisions. LA started that run — when it should be killing teams — at 1-2.

Look, it’s not that analytics aren’t useful, but the problem I see with this alleged brain trust is that they are focused entirely on the process that they haven’t noticed the results on the field, which is a .500 team.

Analytics masterminds prefer to hire inexperienced managers, who are so happy to be pulling a paycheck they’ll alter their strategy to whatever the spreadsheet mandates. So new manager Dave Roberts sits at 21-20. He replaced Don Mattingly, who turned perennial doormat Miami into a slightly better 21-19.

The other thing about analytics? It’s predicated on value, doing more with less. The Dodgers have surely embraced less. They cut their payroll by more than $50 million.

So, smart guys, where’s the “more with” part?

Rams: Uh, they started selling season tickets, which is nice. Those tickets get you into a stadium in South Central, which is not nice.

God help you if ESPN insists on night games being scheduled there.

Also, some fans are submitting redesigned uniforms for the franchise to consider. Yo, playa. On behalf of my rolling eyeballs, stop. Just because you can print Tupac’s image on a T-shirt doesn’t give you artistic license to stencil Todd Gurley’s name in Old English font on the back of a jersey.

Clippers: No truth to the rumor that Blake Griffin and Chris Paul are splitting the medical bills.

Galaxy: The team hasn’t taken the pitch in a little more than a week. I hate that. I like watching the world’s game. What I can tell you is that forward Giovani Dos Santos has turned down a request to play for the Mexican national team for the upcoming Copa America tournament. I have no idea why. I have no jokes about it, but the dude is in his mid-20s and has the talent to make an international impact. Disrespecting coaches is no way to secure playing in the World Cup.

Greetings from your bitter correspondent

Most of the time, I blog to be an asshole.

I admit I don’t want to run a blog at this time because I no longer want to be an asshole. Or said better, I have better things to do at the moment than be an asshole. And that’s a lot to do, because I enjoyed being an asshole.

But I write books now — murder mysteries, to be precise. I enjoy the creative process. It beats covering news, which I did for too long. I’m not sure it beats stand-up comedy, which I also did for too long.

For a spell, I combined the two — writing and comedy — with blogs. There’s no need to mention those blogs now, because I don’t run them anymore. But man, it was fun making enemies coast to coast.

Novels, though, are a grueling creative process. Martin Cruz Smith spent eight years writing “Gorky Park,” a groundbreaking tome. I haven’t taken that long for my novels, of course. I have a short attention s… Hey, boobies over there!

Anyway, I had no desire to blog. I have a desire to sell novels.

Only every agent I’ve spoken with has told me the same thing. “You need to increase your social media presence.” And then they said, “Nice hat.”

Social media presence means Facebook, Twitter, maybe even MySpace, and yes, blogging.

So I’m here to pitch books in between random rants.

Soon, I’ll be including samples of books I will have available for purchase on your iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc. They’ll probably sell for $5. I don’t want to bankrupt any of you guys.

Anyway, thanks for checking out my blog. I promise to do my best to avoid talking about Donald Trump. And in conclusion, boobies.

Boobies.