In 2008, an American named J.B. Bernstein had an idea. He worked in baseball. He wanted to find new pitchers. His idea was look for a talented cricket player. Then he would teach him to play baseball. Cricket and baseball are both very popular sports. But they are popular in different countries. Baseball is most popular in the United States. Cricket is the most popular sport in India. So J.B. began his search in India.
Cricket and baseball are different sports. But both use balls and bats. One player throws a ball to another player, who is holding a bat. In baseball, the thrower is called a pitcher. In cricket, the thrower is called a bowler. You need special skills and practice to be a good pitcher (or bowler).
J.B. created a reality TV show. It was called The Million Dollar Arm. His show filmed all over India. Each contestant got to throw a baseball at a target. To win, you had to hit the target by throwing the ball faster than anyone else. The reward was $100,000. The winner could try to win $1 million in a bonus round.
Rinku Singh won the grand prize. Dinesh Patel came in second place. J.B. helped them move to the U.S. He trained them as pitchers. J.B. hoped they would find spots on a Major League Baseball (MLB) team.
The idea of training bowlers to be pitchers was a new one. Baseball experts wondered if J.B.’s experiment would work. Soon, everybody was talking about the new Indian pitchers.
Rinku and Dinesh trained for many months. They got very good. Soon it was time to put their skills to the test. They called in the scouts. Scouts find new players for their baseball teams. In 2008, Rinku and Dinesh tried out in front of 20 baseball scouts.
J.B.’s experiment was a success. Rinku and Dinesh were hired to play on a MLB team.
When Rinku and Dinesh joined the Pittsburgh Pirates, it was big news. Suddenly, they were famous. They played in their first game on July 4, 2009.
Today, Rinku continues to play baseball. He plays in the U.S. and around the world. Dinesh returned to India. He teaches baseball to children. Both thank J.B. and The Million Dollar Arm contest for changing their lives.
In 2014, Rinku and Dinesh became even more famous! Hollywood made a movie about them. It’s called Million Dollar Arm.