"This is my first managing job," said Bo Porter, Houston's new skipper. "So I think I offer a kind of outsider's view, but one thing I do know about baseball is that home runs are good. It's my goal to have this team do a lot of them. But that takes practice and execution."
Porter is taking over a 55-107 team that is faced with moving to the AL West from the NL Central this season.
"I'm not looking for slightly improvement," said Porter. "I want to compete for the playoffs right away. And this explosive home run play can get us there."
The Astros spent Day 1 in camp breaking down film of home runs.
"I noticed that they go over the fence!" exclaimed shortstop Jacob Elmore. "That's the key."
Day 2 of camp consisted of Porter running through the various home run plays he had conceived in the offseason, titled Home Run Left, Home Run Left-Center, Home Run Center, Home Run Right-Center and Home Run Right.
"The play names are confusing, but I hope to learn them by Opening Day," said an outfielder named Oscar Cespedes or something like that.
"I have been meeting with my staff for weeks, assessing where we have needs in preparation for the trade deadline," said Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers. "One thing we all eventually noticed is that we were looking for people with significant height. The kind of height where, you know, you're walking through the mall or an airport and see a tall guy and wonder: 'I bet he played basketball.' So right now I'm just calling around and seeing what tall people are on the market."
The Rockets made a big splash earlier this week when they acquired three tall people from the Sacramento Kings, a 6-foot-10 guy, a 6-foot-7 guy and a 6-foot-8 guy in exchange for a 6-foot-11 guy, a 6-foot-9 guy and a 6-foot-2 guy.
"I'm extremely happy with the deal," said Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. "I couldn't believe that they were going to offer that many tall guys. We added three total inches in height! And for what? We traded away a 6-2 person! I wouldn't even noticed someone 6-2 at the airport or necessarily pick him first in a pickup basketball game. I'm really excited about our team's potential now. We're way taller, which is pretty great in basketball."
"It was a long season. After the playoffs ended, the boys just hunkered down and never left the clubhouse," recalled Leyland. "As long as they emerge ready to play by the time the season starts, that's all that matters."
The issue of offseason hibernation is nothing new for Leyland, although this year represents the first time the entire team has participated. Previously, Miguel Cabrera spent his winter sleep in the equipment room.
"Oh yeah, we knew what we were getting with him. Every year the past four years, Miggy increases his fatty meat intake come October before nesting in the batting cages," whispered Leyland, carefully shining a flashlight into the clubhouse window to check on the players. "But this year with everyone together, it's special. It's a team bonding experience. We don't wanna ruin that."
"The Bathroom Burglar should not think that we have diverted our attention to Mr. Pistorius and away from him or her," said police spokesman Edward Grant. "The Bathroom Burglar has stolen far too many Q-Tips, tubes of toothpaste and decorative soaps. He will be brought to justice."
Pistorius maintains he felt a burglar had climbed into his house and locked himself in the bathroom early last Thursday morning, prompting him to fire repeatedly into the bathroom door. Police dismiss that account, but admit that climbing into homes and then effectively cornering himself in a locked bathroom is the trademark behavior of the Bathroom Burglar.
"It's amazing he keeps getting away with his robberies, considering his calling card is easily one of the dumber things we've ever seen from this sort of criminal," said the police spokesman.
News Everyone in court high-fives after South African prosecutor says Pistorius' case "doesn't have a leg to stand on"
Nel then stood with his arms out and palms raised and accepted high-five after high-five from those gathered in the cramped courtroom.
"Oh, man. Nailed him," said magistrate Desmond Nair. "Good one. Come up here and give me a fist bump. Ha! No leg to stand on. Where do you come up with this stuff?"
Nel admitted he had seen the "no legs to stand on line" in reference to Pistorius not having natural legs below the knee on several Internet comments boards in the days since the tragic incident at the runner's home. He also said he had been e-mailed several versions of the joke by his uncle Phil.
"So I can't claim to have been the one who invented the joke, but there's no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to say it into the public record," said Nel. "I'm like a legend now."
Magistrate Nair recessed proceedings until tomorrow after Nel's killer line.
"Damn, I say we stop until tomorrow," said Nair, wiping tears from his eyes. "Unless anyone has any better lines about ol' no-legs over there. Anyone?"
"It's hard to believe it now, but before 1996 we didn't have any basketball player scents on the market," said Thomas Despres, athlete cologne beat writer for the New York Times. "Michael Jordan's Michael Jordan was a game changer."
Jordan's cologne instantly became a bestseller among the 14 year-old boy demographic, who used the fragrance when awkwardly trying to talk to girls. Before 1996, boys of that age were forced to rub magazine ads with cologne samples on their armpits, spray air freshener on themselves or bathe.
"In many circles, Michael Jordan is thought of first as a cologne, and second as a basketball guy. That's how great his cologne is," said Despres. "Anyone with 20 bucks who lives near a Walmart can smell like Michael Jordan. It is the scent of America."
"I remember when we had Linsanity merchandise wall-to-wall," said Jeff Huntsman, owner of a New York City sports apparel shop. "Jerseys, keychains, mugs, bumper stickers you name it, we had it. Actually have it it's still here. It's just over there in that discount bin now."
The 24 year-old Lin hit New York by surprise after putting up record breaking numbers in his first seven starts last season, despite seemingly coming out of nowhere. Lin's play and affable nature led to a media frenzy, inciting the term "Linsanity."
Unexpectedly, the Knicks failed to re-sign Lin this year, instead losing him to the Houston Rockets, where his stats have dropped significantly since his start in New York, officially bringing an end to the Linsanity that really only seemed to last a couple months.
"It's still unclear what purchases led to Lin's $1.37 check, but you can be certain it was something that was 10 times the price 11 months ago," said sports marketing consultant Ian McGregor. "Perhaps a t-shirt? A jersey? Perhaps a game used jersey? It's hard to say. It could've been a lot of things with how fast his merchandise lost its value."
"I just hope his copyright proposal was approved in those first few months," continued McGregor, "otherwise I'm not sure he's made his money back. I know it costs around 40 bucks or so to file a copyright."
Widely considered the greatest player of all-time, Jordan said it would be a tough choice between the trio. However, Morrison's combination of rings and youth would tip the scales in his favor.
"Kobe has five titles and that's impressive, but he's getting a little long in the tooth," said Jordan. "LeBron is a lot younger, but he only has one. I don't really like either choice. What I like is Adam Morrison. He has two championship rings and is just as young as LeBron. Easy choice if you break it down. He's a good mix of Kobe and LeBron."
Jordan took Morrison with the 3rd overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, just one of the many disastrous player personnel moves he has made in his post-playing career and one which contributed to the state the Charlotte Bobcats are in today.
But Jordan scoffs at any suggestions that picking Morrison, who last played in the Turkish League in 2012 and left the team due to lack of playing time, was a mistake.
"I don't make mistakes. Never have, never will," said Jordan. "And you saying I did makes you look stupid. Adam has two championships rings. More than LeBron. More than Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley. More than John Stockton and Karl Malone. As many as Hakeem Olajuwon. I don't think I need to go on but I will. Adam has played for four different teams in three different countries. He's gotten tryouts with two other teams. If he's so terrible, why do so many teams consider him? Huh, dumbass?"
News Oscar Pistorius: "I wanted to prove that even so-called 'disabled' people can achieve terrible things"
"My whole life I have been told what I can't do because of my legs," said Pistorius. "They said I could never be a world class sprinter. They said I could never compete in the Olympics. They said I could never murder someone."
"Did someone really say that?" interjected a detective.
"Oh, it was said," continued Pistorius. "I was always taunted in school with: 'Ha-ha! You'll never murder anyone because you have no legs! Look, everyone! No legs over here can't kill people, what with his no legs!' It stung. But I vowed to prove them wrong. And today I have. I hope I can be an inspiration to everyone throughout the world who has been told their handicap prevents them from doing horrible and unspeakable things."
South African police officials said the confession was by far the most inspirational they have ever received.
"This guy has overcome so much to shoot his girlfriend four times," said Detective Robert Price. "Is this someone we can really lock up? It's delicate when it comes to issues like these. I'm not disabled so I can't speak to what is or is not inspirational to the disabled community."
News Kate Upton Refuses Repeated Requests to be Photographed for Swimsuit Feature on Steve's Sports Blog.net
"I'm just trying to give a young model some exposure, and she can't even respond to my tweets asking for a photo shoot," said Steve Mason, age 48, the editor, writer and owner of StevesSportsBlog.net. "I can't respect that. But I still think she is really hot and will totally do something with her if she would want to. Make sure you print that."
Mason, whose blog of four years "routinely gets more than 50 visitors a month" and focuses on "whatever I feel like writing when I have time to write things and have strong takes," says he has been sending photo shoot requests to @KateUpton for months. Not once did he receive a response.
"I know she has a lot of followers, but I sent a request every day. I know she had to have seen some of them," said Mason. "I'll tell you one thing: her career isn't going to get very far treating people this way."
The blogger says he was even blocked by Upton on Twitter after sending the model a tweet that read: "Want you to strip for my blog. Totally classy. Minimal touching. Get back to me. Love your boobs."