Baseball's 'Slumdog Millionaire' Story

So far, camp has been low key -- their first game is not for a few weeks. And if the presence of two Indian reality show winners at the Pirates' camp seems a bit like a novelty act, their work ethic has quickly impressed those around them.

Pirates minor league pitching coach Miguel Bonilla has taken the two young men under his wing, and he marvels at how far they've come in such a short time.

"I hope they make it," Bonilla said. "They can open the door for more people."

Bernstein said he is impressed as well.

"These kids went from not knowing what baseball was to signing a pro contract in less than 12 months," he said. "That's never been done in any sport."

He said he's hopeful that their success is not a fluke. After dropping them off in Florida, he is back home and hard at work on a second season of the show, which is scheduled to begin in October and will air on India's Zee Sports TV channel. He can only hope that he'll find more players like Singh and Patel.

'Arm' Winners Have Major League Dreams

"They're just really two of the greatest kids that you'll ever meet," Bernstein said. "Really generous, really nice, and really so appreciative of this opportunity. If they actually make it, I think they'll set the bar -- not just for Indian athletes, but for all athletes, and wake them up and make them remember this is a real honor to play these sports, to make these salaries and to have these fans."

When the Pirates' major-leaguers break camp and head north for the season, Singh and Patel will remain in Bradenton to continue working with Bonilla, and they will likely be assigned to the Pirates' rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League.

As their skills improve, Singh and Patel believe they will one day have what it takes to make the major leagues -- a dream Neal Huntington, general manager of the Pirates, is hesitant to rule out.

"It's a long shot for anybody in professional baseball, and somebody who has only been doing it for six months, it's probably that much longer," Huntington said. "But they do have that chance. With what they did in six months, with the bodies they have, with the arm actions they have, with the arm strength -- they have a chance."

But for now, Singh and Patel are busy enjoying their time at spring training, and chronicling their adventures online for their followers.

"We working so hard at this dream," they blogged from camp Feb. 7. "We can't believe we here. We knowing we need more practice, but we telling all Indian boys, you working hard, you dreaming come true too!"

For more about Rinku Singh and Dinesh Kumar Patel, check out their blog at www.themilliondollararm.com/blog.

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