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Million Dollar Arm


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First I've ever heard of this. Pretty cool story:


Rinku Singh can throw a ball at 140 kilometres an hour. And that's about how quickly his life has changed.


The son of a truck driver, he now has a chance to cross the seven seas and play a game he's probably never seen - the American national pastime, baseball.


One month ago Rinku was just another athlete who was preparing to qualify for the javelin team. But then, life took a different spin.


Rinku threw the javelin away and started pitching baseballs. One month down the line, he participated in a Million Dollar Arm competition. He won himself Rs 40 lakh and a ticket to professional American baseball.


"One month ago, my coach asked me to start practice," Rinku says. "I didn't even know what kind of a game baseball is. It is my coach who told me about the game and prepared me for it."


For Rinku this is just the beginning. A trip to San Francisco means one year of grooming by a professional coach. Later on he will be auctioned to a league team and who knows - he might just be a desi Babe Ruth in the making.


"I also hope that I will play even better and then there will be a baseball card after me," Rinku says. "And when I return I will take more talented players from India."


So he wins this contest and is invited to Tempe to show his stuff to every MLB team, which he and another winner did this week:


Squinting into the desert sun, the scouts huddled behind a screen, their radar guns cocked.


The catcher went into his crouch as the lanky lefty pawed at the mound, then rocked and fired. The only sounds were a grunt and the pop of the ball in the mitt.


At first glance, it looked like any other big league tryout. This one had a twist: the pitcher, Rinku Singh, had never picked up a baseball before May. And he's from India, better known for producing world class cricketers than pitching aces - although Singh hopes that will soon change.


"Baseball," Singh said later in halting English. "Love it."


Here are a couple of links that go into more detail:


http://in.news.yahoo.com/indianexpress/ ... 58794.html


http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Baseball/MLB/ ... 11-ap.html



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  • 3 weeks later...

And both of them are on their way to Bradenton!


Novice pitchers from India sign with Pirates

By Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY


Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, cricket players who had not picked up a baseball until April, on Monday became the first athletes from India to sign professional baseball contracts, agreeing to deals with the Pittsburgh Pirates.


"This is very intriguing for us," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "We are trying to broaden our horizons internationally and to get into some non-traditional markets. I've always been curious about India, knowing they have a cultural passion for cricket, which involves throwing, hitting and running. We want to see how that translates to baseball.


"This organization benefited in Latin America when we signed Roberto Clemente, and hopefully with their success, we'll see more athletes coming from India."


Patel, 19, and Singh, 20, said Monday they never heard of Clemente, let alone Pittsburgh, when the Pirates called last week. They went to the Internet, found the city on the map, and then spent hours exploring the Pirates' website.


"It's a dream come true," said Patel, whose fastball was clocked at 93 mph in a second workout last week, according to Huntington.


Jeff Bernstein, a promoter who discovered the pitchers in a Million Dollar Arm contest in India, said he took Patel and Singh to a nearby sporting goods store where they bought Pirates hats and shirts. They even went to a jeweler and purchased black and yellow watches, colors of the Pirates.


"We're very happy that we get to stay together," Singh said. "This will make it easier for both of us."


Their agent, Jeff Borris, said he told teams it wasn't a requirement that the pitchers be signed by the same team.


"Pittsburgh showed the most vision of any club I spoke with," said Borris, who declined to divulge their signing bonus. "These guys are raw. Who knows where they'll be when they're 23.


"But ultimately, what I would like to see happen is they pave the way for other athletes to come from India to the United States."


Huntington said Patel and Singh are scheduled to report in mid-January to Bradenton, Fla., where they will work out with the Pirates' instructional league team. They realize they are years away from contending for a big-league job but refuse to let their lack of baseball acumen deter them.


"We will work every hard to make this happen," Patel said. "We want to make our country proud."





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We'll expect a first hand report. :)


You can get just that from their blog




Hard to do anything but root for these guys:


Monday our greatest dream is coming to us. We both get contract to play pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We are so happy and excited it is unreal.


We are thanking the Pittsburgh Pirates and will work very hard to make them proud of our results.


We right away went to the internet to locate Pittsburgh on map. It is in north east part of USA and looks like very good city. First we go Florida which is the south east part of USA. We train there with all other Pittsburgh Pirates teammates and live there too.


We hope this day gives all Indian boys and girls the thought for them to reach their dreams. If you work hard your dream can be true and we feel there are many more in India like us who if they get chance can also do.


And here's their post on the latest in Mumbai:


Our thoughts and prayers go out to all our countrymen during these dreadful attacks.


We are just watching on the news here in USA and realize that it is a bad situation.


Thanks to God that our families are very far from where the killings are, but still as indian men we feel very bad. If not for contest we would be in india, and maybe in Army right now fighting terrorist in Mumbai.


please join us in praying for this situation to end now and for peace to return to Mumbai streets.





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