In 2008, an American named J.B. Bernstein had an idea. He thought of a way to find new pitchers for baseball. He would look for a talented cricket player. Then he would 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.
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. set up an Indian reality TV contest. He called it The Million Dollar Arm. His show filmed all over India. Each contestant got a chance to hit a target with a baseball. To win, you had to hit the target at the fastest speed. The reward was $100,000. Winners had a chance 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. to train as baseball pitchers. J.B. 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. Baseball experts 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 scouts.
J.B.’s experiment was a success. The former bowlers won spots 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 MLB game on July 4, 2009.
Today, Rinku continues to play baseball in the U.S. and around the world. Dinesh returned to India. He 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.