This story is right out from the grist of the fairytale mill from bucolic India, it is about Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh, who won an India-wide pitching contest, “The Million-Dollar Arm”.
They were javelin throwers and hadn’t even heard of baseball before the competition in 2008, after that they received a year-long training stint in Los Angeles.
The boys, from poor families, used their natural shoulder strength to take the top two spots from among 8,000 participants. The winners began their stay in Los Angeles with trips to watch their first live baseball games.
They continued to learn the game from House and Bernstein, as well as learning English and, now they have an unintentionally funny Blog called the Million Dollar Arm.
The pair tried out in front of scouts from 20 Major League Baseball teams in November 2008, and Singh’s pitches reached 92 miles per hour (148 km/h). Reports from Pittsburgh Pirates scouts Joe Ferrone and Sean Campbell led to general manager Neal Huntington signing both to contracts with the organization. With the deal, the pair became the first Indians to sign American major league baseball contracts. After training, the two returned to visit their families in India before entering Pirates training camp in Bradenton, Florida.
Singh, along with Patel, began the 2009 baseball season with the Pirates’ Gulf Coast League Affiliate.
On July 13, 2009, Singh became the first Indian-born pitcher to win a professional baseball game in America, striking out the only batter he faced. He finished the season with a 1-2 record and a 5.84 ERA in 11 games, allowing just one run on three hits in his final six appearances.
On Sunday, Rinku and Dinesh got an invitation from Obama and landed up at the White House where they met a host of dignitaries, including US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the AC Milan football team and its star forward Ronaldinho and Hollywood actor Kal Penn Modi among others.
“President Obama came to us and shook our hands and said it’s nice to meet you. This is a very big honour. We still cannot believe that we met President Obama,” the duo wrote in their blog
Sony Entertainment Pictures is believed to have bought the rights to the story of Singh and Patel in 2009, last year to make a Hollywood movie based on their remarkable journey.
So, as the adage goes, dreams do come true.