INT. ARIZONA CARDINALS PRESS ROOM — DRAFT CLASS INTRODUCTORY PRESS CONFERENCE
Josh Rosen: …so, while I was a little emotional at the time, at the end of the day the draft is behind me. I’m excited to be in Arizona, to be a part of this organization, to be surrounded by such professionals, and I’m just looking to the future now. Thank you and LET’S GO BIRDGANG!
The sound of camera shutters overtakes the called questions of unrecognized journalists. The new draftees look side to side, hoping to glean cues from the media relations department. When team owner MICHAEL BIDWILL and head coach STEVE WILKS stand up to exit the conference, the new draftees follow suit. WILKS waits by the doorway as the players pass through, finally grabbing ROSEN and pulling him to the side. He nods to general manager STEVE KEIM, still at the press table.
Steve Keim: Thank you everyone for coming. We’re excited to add these six young men from the 2018 draft class to our organization. But now that you’ve all got to meet them, we need to get them out to meet our fans, including some season ticket holders and other local movers and shakers here in the Grand Canyon State. We’ll send out an email about the next press conference but, in the mean time, tell your readers to give these fine young men a true Arizona Welcome!
KEIM joins WILKS and leads the coach and his top draft pick out a side door, rather than to the elevator the other draftees took. Awaiting them is BIDWILL’s limousine, which the group enters to join the owner.
Michael Bidwill: HI!
Rosen: Whoa! Great ride, Mr Bidwill. Is this the MKT-120? I love that they made the leather interior standard on the new editions. I remember taking our old MK-80 to my bar mitzvah and it had this blue upholstery that completely clashed with my tefillin. But you’ve got the wood grain with the electronics package and the expanded bar. How do you like the extra eight inches of ice bucket depth with this upgrade?
Keim: They’re heading upstairs to the fan fest gathering. With as much money as we drain out of those season ticket suckers, they demand little gatherings where they can show off their gear, take photos with the cheerleaders, and meet the new players. You’re the number one pick though so we’re taking you to a more exclusive affair. A lot of people in this community are very interested in meeting our quarterback of the future.
Rosen: Well I’m a team player so this is exciting and I look forward to making you all proud.
Keim: We think this is a good opportunity to show off your maturity and your true self to the real influencers in Arizona. So just be on your best behavior. Just brush off any drunk remarks or lame jokes — we’ve heard them all — and hold that ‘team player’ line and you’ll win ’em all over.
Rosen: Sure thing. I’m ready for anything you throw my way.
Bidwill: Throw YOUR way?! BUT YOU’RE THE QUARTERBACK! HA HA HAAAAA!
Keim [Swipes finger across his phone screen]: Uh hey, driver? Could you speed up through this last stretch here. Got a text that word’s out about our event and now the uh….public…is congregating at the park up here.
The vehicle accelerates as it approaches the final public space before reaching the rural road that will take the men to the event. In the glare of the late-afternoon sun, the size of the gathering is not visible but people are surely lined up on both side of the road. The noise of the crowd slowly grows until the decibels level off as the vehicle reaches the crowded stretch of road.
The fans’ words cut off as the limo raced by, causing ROSEN to strain to decipher between competing calls.
Crowd Members: We hate you, Rosen! Go back to California with the rest of your dirty Hollywood financier snowflake fuckin’ Je —
The noise of the crowd — unlike the buildup as they entered — abruptly stopped when the driver reached the barren stretch of roadway. ROSEN turned his attention from the rear window and ducked to view their destination.
Rosen: Wow. Passionate fans here in Arizona.
Keim: Uhhh, you didn’t see the guy burning the cross, right?
Rosen: Cross? No I just thought I heard that last couple yelling that —
Keim: Yeah! No! Yeah, no….I mean….look, we won’t be too far from you in there but, we’re here so just be yourself and be tough with these fucking animals.
Keim: Oh. Uh….no. I mean. Look, I’ll just level with ya, kid. You’re from L.A. You’re from money. From education. From talent. It’s not their fault or anything but, you know, when you show up here already having had more success than most any fan who has ever donned those red foam Hulk fists at our games….well, it’s just who these people are. They’re just like scared dogs and they feel backed in to a corner. But they’re dumb and harmless so, really, I know you’re gonna be you or whatever, I guess, but maybe for tonight, just pick your battles.
The limo parked at the entrance and the men made their way into the lobby unnoticed. Even when they entered the hall, while it was apparent to all the guests of this formal gathering that they had arrived, few conversations broke. ROSEN was relieved to not be immediately put on the spot in front of so many obviously well-established and quite-familiar people.
Keim: I’m going to grab a drink. I understand the Governor wants to greet you first — oh, I see him heading over — but then I’m sure everyone will want to make their way over. You’ll do great, kid.
Rosen: Good evening, Governor. It’s great to meet you.
Ducey: Betcha never met a Governor before, eh?
Rosen: Oh our family actually hosted Governors Davis and Schwarzenegger at our holiday parties. But it’s always an amazing opportunity to meet the leader of an entire state. I mean, to productively lead such an ethnically and geographically diverse state must take an enormous amount of ability that I doubt I could even understand.
Ducey: Yeah well, remember when my Sun Devils knocked you out for the season in 2016?
Rosen: How could I forget? That was an intense game but playing ASU was always a challenge because that’s a great school with a great program and —
Ducey: FEAR THE FORK! FEAR THE FUCKIN’ FORK! Ducey out, nerd.
Rosen: Oh. Uh, it was nice to meet you, sir. Uhh…
Kid Stallyn: HI!
Rosen: Well, good evening, sir. You’re the Cardinals superfan, right?
Stallyn: You’re god damn right. And don’t you forget who the real fucking star around here is.
Rosen: Hey, we’re nothing without the fans, right? And to come to a franchise with one of the strongest home field advantages in that nation — in a big part because of the fans on Sunday —
Stallyn: Yeah, and one more thing.
Rosen: I’m sorry. What’s that now?
Stallyn: This is MAGA country, you hear?! MAG! UH! Bam! Bawitdaba da bang a dang Ducey Ducey Ducey said the boogy said up jump the boogy! Kid Stallyn out.
Confused by his new fan base, ROSEN sees a familiar image on the bar television. But before he can focus on the broadcast, he feels a tap on his shoulder.
Rosen: Oh goodness.
Lesko: You Jewish?
Rosen: Well, yes I am. Also, I’m a quarterback. I’m Josh Rosen, actually. I was just drafted by the Cardinals and was asked to come here to meet some of the fans.
Lesko: Thought so. You kinda got a face like one. Don’t trust ya. Lesko out.
Rosen: What the hell is this place? Who are these —
Candidate Joe Arpaio (US Senate): Hey Jew!
Rosen: Oh jeez.
Arpaio: What are you doing talking to Rep Lesko? Trying to steal her gold?! You ain’t in liberal California no more, boy. You ain’t playing ball for Cal no more.
Arpaio: Yeah I know. U[ndo]C[umented]LA[tinos]. Where’s your caravan of chain migrants? Oh, look! Teevee!
The men turn to the television set above the bar. The ticker at the bottom of the news broadcast reads, “Local Hero Welcomes Cardinals Top Pick”.
Crowd Member: We just told him what was up! You know, I thought it was messed up we didn’t draft kid from Liberty University! But now that Rosen wants to come here to Arizona and, you know what, we didn’t vote for that guy! We voted to lock her up! Now we expect two things from this Cardinals team! We want to win games and we want to build the wall. Build the wall! Build the wall!
Arpaio: Build the wall! Build the wall!
Lesko: Build that wall! Build that wall!
Bidwill: Big football! Big football!
A tap is felt on Rosen’s shoulder.
Keim: Think we’re good to skip out of here now. Come meet Coach Wilks, Mr Bidwill, and me in the limo so we can get out of here.
Rosen: I think this is the perfect place for me to just focus on my game. All I want to do is workout, study film, get my reps, and sleep.
Keim: Not gonna be enjoying all this fine state has to offer?
Rosen: No sir. You’ve got a player who will devote myself to the game 24/7. Just don’t ever make me deal with these people again.
Keim: You got yourself a deal.