There is a First Time for Everything!

Given our people’s track record in professional sports in the United States (virtually nonexistent outside a small handful), I was pretty surprised to see the following story on the Pittsburgh Pirates signing two Indians, yes Indians, from India — Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel — as pitchers. From the article:

The two 20-year-old pitchers, neither of whom had picked up a baseball until earlier this year, signed free-agent contracts Monday with the Pirates. They are believed to be the first athletes from India to sign professional baseball contracts outside their country. Singh and Patel are believed to be first athletes from India to sign professional baseball contracts outside their country.

Patel (L) Singh (R)

I think these are probably the first Indians to sign professional baseball contracts period. I could be mistaken, but I don’t think there are even any Indian-American or South Asian American professional baseball players. The way this happened is pretty interesting. Singh and Patel came to the United States six months ago after being the top finishers in an Indian reality TV show called the “Million Dollar Arm. ” The show drew about 30,000 contestants and was trying to find athletes who could throw strikes at 85 miles per hour or faster. One would think this would be possible in a country of over a billion. Hmm, not exaclty. But while neither pitcher threw hard enough to earn the $1 million prize, Singh made $100,000 from the contest and Patel made $2,500, plus his trip to the United States.

And now, after working extensively with a Southern California pitching coach the two 20-year-olds staged a tryout in Tempe, Ariz., on Nov. 6 that was attended by 30 major league scouts. The two certainly have come a long way.

When they first came to the United States and began playing catch, the pitchers were mystified by the concept of gloves and had to taught not to try to catch the ball with their bare hands.

Of course this would happen in a country seized with cricket, a sport where only the wicketkeeper uses a glove. But the Pirates were pretty impressed.

“The Pirates are committed to creatively adding talent to our organization,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Monday. “By adding these two young men, the Pirates are pleased to not only add two prospects to our system but also hope to open a pathway to an untapped market. We are intrigued by Patel’s arm strength and Singh’s frame and potential.”

If these two guys actually make the team, I bet the Indian tv channels will be clamoring to get exclusive rights to air the Pirates games in India. And I think the Pirates might have a new fan base in the Hindi belt of India.

60 thoughts on “There is a First Time for Everything!

  1. Any auntie-jis want to be MyStick Masseur? I promise you will love the smell of naipaul in the morning.

  2. I knew some desi kids who were good at football (not NFL material by any means but could have been pretty decent high school players), but their parents simply would not let them play in high school. Too afraid they would get hurt. Other desi parents don’t approve of the time needed (3 hours of practice after school most days, and then of course games and travelling).

    Myron isn’t desi but he sets a new standard – major college football player, Rhodes scholar and philanthropist.

    i was known to play stickball inside too

    I’m sure of it ; )

  3. “Any auntie-jis want to be MyStick Masseur? I promise you will love the smell of naipaul in the morning.”

    and the award for the dirtiest uncleji goes to……uncleji!

  4. 1 · Suki Dillon said

    Do western desi’s like baseball? From my experience, baseball has never caught on the way basketball has for the yound desi’s males in the west.

    I LOVE baseball! And, I’m Desi. And, female. ;)

  5. 47 · Suki Dillon said

    even some females who think Kobe and Allen Iverson are all that.

    Every Indian female under age 30 that I know who is a basketball fan loves either Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, Carmelo Anthony, or LeBron James. I swear some of them probably watch basketball just to drool over those guys.

  6. 29 · CondeKedar said

    My brother was a starting-pitcher for his school teams in high school and college but ended up becoming and engineer and getting an MBA (sad, I know). He knew one other Indian-American who played baseball in high school and college (but this was in Illinois, with a huge Indian population, so a grand total of 2 is not impressive). A player named Manny Patel played at Yale and was drafted by the Mariners in 1993. He had a respectable 5 years in the minor leagues; his numbers seem to indicate that he had trouble making it in AA. Baseball fans may find interesting the list of the 1st round picks in 1993.
  7. Aww, man, check out Rinku’s awesome blog:

    One very, very bad thing about the news is that they say I on the BABEWATCH. This not true. i not watching girls. i only pitching, training, eat, watch baseball/Movies and sleep. American women very dangerous and very crazy. I like only Indian woman. Dinesh and JB, Sir have been harrassing me about this BABEWATCH. I do not like the BABEWATCH.