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.
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.