In 2008, an American named J.B. Bernstein had an idea. What if he could find a talented cricket player and teach him to play baseball? Cricket and baseball are both very popular, but 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.
While cricket and baseball are different, both use balls and bats. One player throws a ball to another player holding a bat. In baseball, this is the pitcher. In cricket, this player is called a bowler. Pitching and bowling both require special skills and practice.
J.B. set up an Indian reality TV contest called The Million Dollar Arm. His show traveled all over India. Each contestant got a chance to hit a target with a baseball. The winner was the one who hit the target with the fastest throw. The reward was $100,000 and a chance to win $1 million in a bonus round.
Rinku Singh won the grand prize. Dinesh Patel came in second place. J.B. moved them to the U.S. to train them as pitchers. He hoped they would later find spots on a Major League Baseball (MLB) team.
The idea of training bowlers to be pitchers was a new one. Experts in the baseball world wondered if J.B.’s experiment would work. Soon, baseball was buzzing with interest in the two Indian pitchers.
After training for many months, it was time to put their skills to the test. J.B. called in the scouts. A scout’s job is to find new players for his baseball team. In 2008, Rinku and Dinesh tried out in front of 20 baseball scouts.
J.B.’s experiment was a success. The former bowlers won spots on a Major League Baseball team.
When Rinku and Dinesh joined the Pittsburgh Pirates, it was big news. Suddenly, they were famous. They played in their first MLB game on July 4, 2009.
Today, Rinku continues to play baseball in the U.S. and around the world. Dinesh returned to India and teaches children how to play baseball. Both Rinku and Dinesh 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.