Wednesday, July 8, 2009

"Baseballers" from the Land of Cricket

The fertile fields of Indian villages and the bustling streets of its cities have been the breeding grounds for many a world class cricketer.

It was only some time before somebody figured out that the same soil which produces great cricketers can produce great baseball players too esp. given the strong similarities between the 2 games. That's why I was pleasantly surprised by a small news item in the WSJ recently about the first Indian players- Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel being hired as part of Major League Baseball (Pittsburgh Pirates) : Game-Show Winners Earn a Place in Minors

And in the land of the Slumdog Millionaire is it not apt that these players were selected after winning a game show "Million Dollar Arm" ? A victory that transformed their lives moving them across the globe from small hamlets in Uttar Pradesh, India to the bustling ballpark of Pittsburgh.

And obviously as Cricket tries to make inroads into the uncharted waters of the US sports marketplace, Baseball would also be planning similar moves in India: "Indian hurlers' inking opens new market:Contracts for Singh and Patel could pave way for their countrymen"

Watch these "Baseballers" in action: "I don't know who Babe Ruth is" . Neither of them knew what baseball is or had ever touched a baseball before they took part in this contest.

Maybe this will open the floodgates......What next, Indian cricket teams hiring ball players from the wheat fields of Kansas?


Parijat said...

Baseball has been played in India for more than two decades now, albeit by women only. I know this first hand because, in early 1980s, my neighbor was Shiv Lal Yadav - back then a top spin bowler in Indian cricket team and later selector for the team - whose sister used to play baseball for the Indian Baseball team (yes, ther used to be one - I don't know if it still exists). Our families were very close friends and I used to watch her play in the practice games & local baseball tournaments on a nearby stadium often! Of course, my passion was still cricket, with Shiv Lal Yadav bowling to yours truly at the crease on the streets with the tournament balls right after his return from International matches!

Deepak Seth said...

Parijat, Thanks for sharing this blast from the past. Yes, I think basedball used to be played in girl's schools in India esp. in the convent schools. In the uS girl's baseball would be called softball.

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