Chapter 24


May 15 – China Premier Li Jiabao will be traveling to Iran to meet with their leaders to explore expanding trade opportunities between the two countries. China is the number one producer of manufactured goods in the world. To continue at their current manufacturing capacity they need an increased supply of energy resources. Iran has the energy resources but little labor to produce manufactured goods. This appears a perfect fit for the two countries to take advantage of their strengths to improve ties. The visit will also give the two governments an opportunity to discuss steps Iran can take to reduce the perception they are a sponsor of terrorism. Premier Li Jiabao is concerned about the United States allegations the bombing of the China embassy in the United States was orchestrated by Iran. If this is true it would have dire consequences for any relations with Iran in the future. Iran insists they were not involved in the bombing. They claim this is typical rhetoric emanating from Washington, D.C. to impugn the names of countries that do not bend to the wishes of the United States.

Larvell felt fortunate the trio found the opportunity to be in his office by 1 PM. His biggest concern was with Pablo, who he thought may be traveling to some Latin American country in search of prospects to prepare for the July International draft. He was at home preparing for a trip to Panama in a couple days. After Panama he planned to swing by the new Dominican facility to check the progress there. A couple inspection delays had prevented them from opening the facility on time. According to Pablo, it is almost ready to schedule a date for the ribbon cutting ceremony. They had tentatively scheduled the ceremony for some time in June, but it was now looking more like July. “Do you think Mr. Pendergrass or yourself might have interest in cutting the ribbon?”

“Do you really want Ruben in light of what’s happening?”

“If I had a choice - no.”

Larvell had no interest and Ruben did not travel to countries he felt were third world. He had already opined to Larvell his feeling about the Dominican Republic when he was told they wanted to build a facility there. “In that dump?” was his response. “Why would we want to throw money away there?” Countries were considered third world if they had temperatures year round that did not dip below 70 degrees.

“Because the best players come from the Dominican Republic,” Larvell informed Ruben.

“You feel free to do the honors,” Larvell informed Pablo. “I don’t think Ruben wants to be seen in public and my calendar is pretty tight.” It wasn’t really. Larvell just had no interest in travelling to the Dominican when baseball season was in full swing here even though it was right before the July international draft and he would have an opportunity to watch a couple of key Dominican prospects while there.

Moose was the farthest away. He was at Norfolk watching the AAA team play. He had also planned on watching a high school team play in the area in preparation for the June domestic draft. He told Larvell he could always do that next week. Norfolk is not that long a drive when compared to his other travels.

The first to walk into his office was Rigo in his usual geek apparel, a white dress shirt a little too wrinkled for public display and grey dress pants screaming of polyester. It was no wonder he had to marry a girl through an arranged marriage. It would be very tough for him to attract one after they got a look at him and his out of style apparel taste shopping at the thrift store. At least, he would not be able to attract a girl to his liking. His hair was also a little ragged, flying in a number of directions as if he had just gotten off a roller coaster ride. It was definitely time to visit a barber for a trim of the nest.

Rigo was the one person Larvell could count on to be in the area. He didn’t like to travel, preferring the comfort of his lap top and the internet to take him places. The trip to China had been a reward for him but all Rigo did was complain about the length of the flight. It was okay once he got there, but Rigo had other priorities. “If I’m going to take long flights I’ll save them for India where at least I have some friends.” He also complained about the food. It was not like the Chinese food here. It felt rubbery with all the taste of the pencil erasers he chewed on while going to college.

Pablo was the next to arrive dressed sharply in his polo shirt and corduroy pants. He looked tan as usual with his dark hair, peppered with gray combed back in a wave. He could have just walked out of a GQ magazine spread. Pablo always had a smile on his face and didn’t seem to let anything worry him. He looked like he had just returned from a vacation in the Caribbean, not like he was preparing to take a trip there.

The last to walk in about a minute before the 1 PM meeting was Moose with his colorful Hawaiian shirt, chest puffed out, and his jeans tucked into his pointy cowboy boots. Larvell could hear him 200 yards from the office with his booming voice as he greeted each person he passed. He wore an Oriole hat to hide or protect his shaved head. It wasn’t doing much protection now that he was indoors and it didn’t quite fit with his cowboy boot attire so Larvell wondered why he still wore it.

As Moose settled into his chair Rigo was the first to speak. He was looking at an email from his cell phone. “I got an email from the director of the Wuxi baseball complex in China. Things have picked up again now that Jason Woo is back pitching. He wants to know who this Kevin Beamer is. He’s not familiar with the name. It seems that he has two groups of people signing up for their school now, those who want to be pitchers like Jason Woo and those who want to be catchers like Kevin Beamer. So he says we’re making progress here with the diversity of positions. He’d still like a shortstop. He’s a little fuzzy on the name Kevin Beamer. He knows he’s been away from the game for awhile but that name isn’t familiar to him.”

“He never impressed me as a man with a whole set of marbles upstairs.” That seemed too clever coming from Rigo. He must have heard that statement recently to repeat it.

“Does he know Kevin Beamer was once an instructor at his school there a couple years ago?” Larvell was glad Rigo was dealing with this director at Wuxi. It was one less thing for him to worry about.

“He’s new. Last year was his first year so he probably never met Kevin. His Chinese is not very good. The previous couple years he was in Thailand trying to set up a baseball program there. That didn’t have a lot of success, so now he’s in China. Don’t know how long he will last there. He hates Chinese food too. Speaking of China, guess who has the number one selling poster there? It’s selling like pancakes.”

Larvell knew he meant hotcakes, but he let the phrase slide. He was surprised Moose let it pass. “The obvious answer would be Jason Woo, but since you are asking the question I’ll assume that is not correct,” was the comment from Moose.

“Jason Woo is not the answer. Anyone else with a guess?”

The room was silent. “Farah Fawcett?” Pablo deadpanned sarcastically knowing this wasn’t the correct answer either. Farah Fawcett had passed away a number of years ago.

“Nope. He’s far surpassed her sales in just two weeks. According to my contact at the embassy it is Kevin Beamer.”

Comments are closed.