Vantage point

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


ICL and IPL are not the only two ways for Indian bowlers to earn doubloons through professional sports. Atlhough, for the third option to open up, bowlers will have to turn into "pitchers". There's also MLB... Major League Baseball. Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, two 19-year-olds from small villages in India, have been signed up by the Pittsburgh Pirates! Don't know if this is big news in India yet (no mention on the Times of India website). But it is an interesting, if not bizarre bit of news. The two apparently did well in an Indian reality show called Million Dollar Arm (I'd never heard of this show! Which channel was it on?). So a manager took them to US to train and display for talent scouts. They apparently did well enough to land minor league contracts. And who knows, might even make it to the major league some day.

The first person to "break" the story of the duo in the US blogosphere was a baseball blog called Walkoff Walk in May. That post itself is funny for two reasons. First of all, it links to a story from The Hindu. Some American steeped in baseball reading a story from The Hindu five times is just hilarious. Secondly, the blogger is "positive it's a scam". How this news could conceivably construed to be any sort of a scam baffles me, unless of course we start getting emails from Nigerians asking for our help in repatriating Singh and Patel's income. Anyway, WoW's attitude grew more positive and the blog has been tracking the two across the country, even making one aware of the duo's very obviously non-ghostwritten and rather cute blog.

I have always wondered what the conversion rate would be for a cricket fast bowler's speed to his baseball pitching speed. Does the long run up and the overarm action impart more speed on the ball, than would a pivot-and-throw while standing at one spot? Considering that top speeds in both cricket and baseball are around the 90-100 mph range, my guess is, not really. But then, Patel and Singh's contracts should make Shoaib Akhtar's ears perk up. As it is, he is accused of chucking. Baseball is all chucking! Also, he is always in trouble due to misbehavior and insubordination. Baseball is all misbehavior and insubordination! So instead of being a 100 mph bowler with a dodgy action and a dodgier reputation, Shoaib should head to the US an become a 100 mph pitcher with a clean action and a...well.... still dodgy reputation.

I also wonder if baseball is popular in New Zealand. As it is, they have lost half their cricket team to the ICL. If the remaining frustrated kiwi cricketers start heading to America, the NZ Cricket Board could just shut shop and go vacation in the South Pacific.

Update: Some questionable humor from chats -

You know what would be really funny? If an Indian joined the Indians.

You know what would be funnier? If Shaun Pollock ends up quitting the Indians to join the Indians.