PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel signed free-agent contracts with the Pirates on Monday despite the fact that neither prospect had ever thrown a baseball until earlier this year.
Singh and Patel arrived in the United States six months ago after finishing in an Indian reality TV show called the “Million Dollar Arm” at the top of their class. The show sought athletes who could throw strikes at 85 miles per hour or faster – requirements for a coveted spot among MLB batting practice pitchers.
Pittsburgh Pirate insider Christopher Crosby comments on the acquisition:
“Sure they’ve never played a professional baseball game, and yes, they learned how to throw this year, but that’s why they’ve meshed so well with the rest of the organization.”
The Pirates, who have not had a winning record since 1992 went 67-95 in 2008. And though their last place finish was dismal, Crosby fondly remembers the positive moments of the atrocious season.
“August was a great month for the club. We were playing great ball and I’ll never forget that hot August night — the night we won a game against the Reds. And even though they beat us handily the next day, that single win was our longest winning streak all year and it’s something we’re very proud of.”
The club has made several aggressive offseason moves in preparation for the 2009 season and they expect to be in top shape come spring.
“With two Indians and several more ‘Stars’ finalists in our bullpen, we’re confident we’ll avoid losing 100 games in 2009 like we were barely able to do in 2008. It’s a huge accomplishment.”
The Stars finalists he mentions are in reference to the club’s interest in seeking talent in unconventional ways.
“After finding a couple of Indians on a gameshow, we thought, ‘why not tap into the talent of our favorite gameshow, Dancing with the Stars?’ It’s been a big hit in the office and we’re already in talks with three of the top five pairs from 2008. The 2009 season is going to be a great season, and we feel the same way about the ’09 Pirates’ season as well.”
With tons of potential and limited room, make sure to tune in to 2009 Pirate baseball to see who prevails, and who gets voted off the island.