Shaquille O'neal invited to Dodgers camp

added 3/10/2001 by Astrodamus
Sunday, March 11th
VERO BEACH, FL--(AP)Shaq invited to Dodgers camp.

Shaquille O'neal, is arguably one of today's greatest NBA stars, but many wonder if his 7'3" 360lb frame is cut out for baseball. One thing is for sure though, the L.A. Dodgers are desperate enough to find out. Today was Shaq's first day at the Dodger's training facility and only minutes off the plane Shaq was running wind sprints and taking part in Tai Che exercises led by Chan Ho Park. "I think I can do it, don't you?." said Shaq with a big smile, as he swigged on a pepsi and consumed a Nestle's Crunch bar in three bites.

Manager Jim Tracy said "Anyone who can dunk a ball like him will obviously be able to hit a baseball." In his first 2 at bats the gentle giant went 0-2 fanning both times on three straight fastballs, but let me tell you brother, those were the most exciting swings I've seen since Garth Brooks. He looks like he's holding a toothpick up there, and if he ever makes contact, watch out!

O'neal fared a little better in the field, he was positioned at first base because of his 15 foot wing-span and his lack of mobility. Kevin Brown , who, if not for baseball, would most likely have been a dangerously disgruntled postal worker, said "It was kind of awkward, at one point I went to pick off the runner at first and when I turned to throw, well, he was so close that I just handed him the ball and he tagged the runner." Later in the day Shaquille was used as a pinch runner and stole 2nd by simply taking one step and diving for the bag. The pitch had barely made it into the catcher's mitt before Kazaam was dusting himself off. "He looked real goofy" said Chan Ho Park, speaking through an interpreter, "His pants only went down to his knees and his socks only came half way up his calf, I mean why the tube-style football socks with the three blue stripes at the top?"

We caught up with the Big fella just before he was boarding his private jet that was to fly him from Vero Beach to Kissimmee which is about a 30 minute car ride. "This game is too easy." said his bigness, "I hope it gets alot harder than this." When informed that whiffing on 6 straight pitches is bad, he replied "At bats are like free throws, it's only a small portion of the game, just wait till tomorrow(evil laugh)." And in a style that could only be exhibited by his Shaqness, he donned his headphones, started rapping in the middle of my next question, and he and his entourage of ' pimps and ho's' boarded the lear jet and slammed the door. Neither Michael Jordan, nor Garth Brooks could be reached for comment.
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[Disclaimer: For amusement only. (AP) stands for Astrodamus Productions]