It was the biggest and most important day of the year, something we've been waiting for with bated breath for months. It was a day like Christmas, Boxing Day, and Diwali all wrapped up into one. Yesterday was the day our Indian friends Rinku and Dinesh finally had their opportunity to try out in front of Real Live American Scouts, and it went quite swimmingly.
Our protagonists were in Tempe, Arizona with their agent Jeff Borris (JB sir) and coach Tom House pitching in front of 30 MLB scouts.
"I don't know if your bosses made you be here, but I'm glad you're here," House, a former big leaguer, told the scouts. "Think of them as two Dominican kids. They're very raw. But I think this has a huge upside."
When a scout asked how the teens had adjusted to life in the U.S., House replied, "They hold their own. They speak just enough English to be dangerous. They're kind of shy, but they get it."
That's good advice, Coach Tom, because to major league scouts, all brown people look the same anyway. And we all know that yes, brown people who speak a little bit of English are indeed quite dangerous; just
Singh and Patel threw mostly fastballs, mixing in a handful of breaking pitches. Most of their deliveries were right around the plate, although Patel uncorked one pitch that whizzed past the screen as the scouts flinched and ducked.
The short, stocky Patel hit 90 on the radar gun during a 30-pitch stint, leading House to call him "a right-handed Billy Wagner." Singh was clocked at 84.
Ouch, Coach Tom. You couldn't have picked a different hard-throwing reliever to compare your student to? Perhaps one without a reputation for...you know...not blowing games and blowing out his arm?
Not everyone is a believer. Jim Walsh of the Arizona Republic was on the scene and filed this report:
"You can't really make a judgment based on this. There's an awful lot of players further along," said Ted Heid, coordinator, special-projects international for the Seattle Mariners. "There would need to be an organization to continue the experiment."
But, he said, "Major League Baseball is about winning at the major-league level, not social experiments."
Tell that to Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner, seemingly set on a social experiment to create the world's biggest collection of bad baseball players.
Anyway, enough snark. We're very proud of Rinku and Dinesh and hope they get many many offers from many many teams and continue their baseball yatra.