Press Conference (cont - 10)

Because they arrived early they finished early, bouncing around each station with little wait, giving Kevin plenty of time to walk Jason over to the auditorium to wait for the afternoon lectures. Alexis would be there to keep him company. He would not have been Kevin’s first choice. He just hoped the two would have sense enough to stay away from the parking lot until he got back. He gave Jason a time for when he would come back to pick him up and a place where Jason was to meet him.

The first challenge for Kevin was sneaking through the parking lot without being noticed. Since they were looking for a tall Asian kid he walked through the parking lot and to his car without any problem. A few of the Asian press who were sitting on their beach chairs in front of their white vans smoking cigarettes and playing mahjong stopped their game to stare at him as if they had seen him from somewhere. He felt like Clint Eastwood in a spaghetti western as he returned their stares, ready to bolt for his car in case someone recognized him, but none of them stopped him. When he got in his car they continued their laughter, smoking their cigarettes and playing mahjong.

He felt a jolt of freedom as he turned on the ignition. It didn’t make him feel any less nervous about acting as an interpreter as he drove to the major league facilities, but he felt like he had dodged his first obstacle of spring training without any negative repercussions. He had really not spent a lot of time doing press interviews. He had done a few minor league ones, but this would be the big time. He had no experience acting as an interpreter in front of a mass of people. Doing it with Jason was one thing, but in front of a crowd of people was another. He had more butterflies flapping their wings inside his stomach than he would for an opening day ballgame. He brought a notepad and pen because he had seen other interpreters use them to write phrases to help in their interpretation.

He met Moose in his office. The two of them walked over to the spring training office of Ruben Pendergrass. Kevin was struck by how dark the room was. All the curtains were closed shut and the room felt like a freezer. He should have brought his jacket.

Kevin guessed the person of Indian descent was Rigo. He had read a lot about him and his expertise in data collection. Larvell was reengineering the Orioles into a more statistical based organization. Rigo was the man in charge of putting that together. He also recognized Larvell Blanks from the newspaper pictures he had seen of him. He assumed the big blob sitting behind the desk eating a donut was the owner of the team Ruben Pendergrass. Kevin had read he was a large man, but he didn’t picture him being this large. Ruben was too involved licking the chocolate frosting from his fingers to notice Kevin enter the room. Kevin didn’t know who the Spanish looking guy was. It was only after they were all introduced he learned he was Pablo Vargas. Kevin remembered him as a good field, no hit shortstop who spent most all of his career in the minors. He remembered that because he had gotten a baseball card with his name on it. His face was much older now than the rookie smile he put on the baseball card.

Ruben had given Kevin a condescending look which he didn’t like when the introductions were done. When Kevin went over to shake his hand during the introduction Ruben didn’t even bother looking at Kevin. His mind was still focused on the two donuts on his desk, one of them half eaten. Kevin noticed the ill fitting, wrinkled suit he wore and the large roll of skin that was his belly trying to escape from his shirt. “Where’s Jason?” Ruben asked as he turned to Larvell, ignoring the outstretched hand given by Kevin.

“At the minor league facilities,” Larvell responded. “We don’t need him here.”

“What’s he doing here?” Ruben grunted in his haughty tone as his head motioned towards Kevin.

“If you remember, you didn’t want to pay for an interpreter. You asked we use Kevin. Kevin is here to interpret for us. Most of the people here do not speak English.”

“Oh.” The way he said it still did not convince Kevin he felt his attendance was important. At least he could put on a face of civility to make Kevin feel welcome. Instead, he attacked the rest of the half eaten chocolate donut that was of greater importance to him, one of many piled along a table in the middle of the room. Ruben was the only one devouring the donuts that were piled high on a tray. “They are in the United States. They should know English,” he mumbled between bites of donut. “It is not our obligation to be so accommodating.”

They all ignored him. Ruben was difficult to understand with so much donut crumbs in his mouth. Kevin now felt even more nervous.

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