Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Immigrants Aid Pittsburgh--Pirates!

Earlier today, I posted a story about how immigrant entrepreneurs and workers have helped the economy of Pittsburgh. Now here's a story from the sports world about the first professional baseball players recruited from India!

Alan Robinson writes for the Associated Press:

The Pittsburgh Pirates hope Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel really do have million-dollar arms. The two 20-year-old pitchers, neither of whom had picked up a baseball until earlier this year, signed free-agent contracts Monday with the Pirates. They are believed to be the first athletes from India to sign professional baseball contracts outside their country.

Singh and Patel came to the United States six months ago after being the top finishers in an Indian reality TV show called the "Million Dollar Arm" that drew about 30,000 contestants. The show sought to find athletes who could throw strikes at 85 miles per hour or faster.

While neither pitcher threw hard enough to earn the $1 million prize, Singh made $100,000 from the contest and Patel made $2,500, plus his trip to the United States.

The contest was sponsored by a California sports management company that believed it could locate major league-worthy arms in a country of more than 1 billion. After working extensively with Southern California pitching coach Tom House since May, the pitchers staged a tryout in Tempe, Ariz., on Nov. 6 that was attended by 30 major league scouts.

"The Pirates are committed to creatively adding talent to our organization," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Monday. "By adding these two young men, the Pirates are pleased to not only add two prospects to our system but also hope to open a pathway to an untapped market. We are intrigued by Patel's arm strength and Singh's frame and potential.

Both threw the javelin in India, a country best known for producing cricket players, and neither the right-hander Patel nor the left-hander Singh had left his small village before coming to the United States. Singh was born in Bhadoni, Uttar Pradesh, and is the youngest of nine children. Patel is from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, and has four brothers and sisters.

The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Patel hit 90 mph on the radar gun during his tryout, and the 6-2, 195-pound Singh topped out at 84 mph. Each has thrown harder during workout sessions that weren't attended by scouts. Click here for the rest of the story.

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Comments

Why can't these guys just stay in their own countries? Is if fair to steal such national treasures just so some sports idiot can cheer his or her team? I am all for diversity, but that does not mean that these guys have to live in our back yard!

Posted by: Thomas Lillich | Nov 25, 2008 2:37:08 PM

"I am all for diversity, but that does not mean that these guys have to live in our back yard!"

Sure you are Lillich. Why can't I help but think that your next sentence would have been, "Most especially, not on my block, or G-d forbid right next door!" I must say that when I think of diversity, your name doesn't immediately spring to mind.

As to the city of Pittsburgh, and to the previous post regarding that city, I must say that my youngest son is a student at Carnegie Mellon. He has expressed to me that it is extremely unfortunate and counter productive to our economy that so many of the brilliant young students that are attending CMU as foreign students, will not be able to stay here in the U.S. after they graduate. He specifically mentioned that many of the high tech students will be returning to India.

Posted by: Robert Gittelson | Nov 25, 2008 5:39:25 PM

That's legitimate to ask, Git. It's also legitimate to ask what the rationale is for enrolling so many foreign students, especially in the field you mention? It's like when football coach Darryl Royal had a technological advantage (the wishbone offense)and allowed the main competition's assistant coach to learn all its secrets. That assistant's team quickly began to dominate Royal's team, the University of Texas.

You also have to wonder about creating a special visa category and then awarding the bulk of them to outsourcing firms. This helps America and American workers how?

Legal to pay below market wage, undercut the domestic workforce, never recruit or look for an American, replace American workers. 20+% fraud, visa holders not doing he jobs they're supposed to.

Posted by: Jack | Nov 26, 2008 6:12:18 AM

If rich countries can purchase talented aliens from poor countries, how does this help the poor countries or serve the cause of diversity?

Posted by: Thomas Lillich | Nov 26, 2008 10:07:16 AM

The Pirates can sign me, I can't pitch either!

Posted by: tom g | Dec 10, 2008 1:37:35 PM

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