Dinesh Patel’s Back In India, But He Got To Party With Barry Bonds

Mar 28, 2012 by

Remember Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel? They’re the kids from India that signed minor league deals with the Pirates three years ago after winning a reality show contest.

For a while, the move was seen as publicity stunt and essentially a circus act. One guy even said it “inevitably set the stage for a baseball comedy starring Rob Schneider and that dude from Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle.”

Throw in a few “shouldn’t they be playing javelin and cricket” jokes for good measure, and that was pretty much all we heard.

Everyone knew the chances of either pitcher even getting close to a big league clubhouse was nonexistent. So it was no surprise when Patel was released after the 2010 season, when he threw 13.2 relief innings while giving up nine runs on 19 hits in the Gulf Coast League.

Singh has actually remained with the Pirates. No, he’s never going to get called up to the majors, but he’s defied odds by lasting with the organization for three full years. He pitched across four divisions in the minors last year, albeit all low-level. But good for him.

And good for Patel also. There was a story in the Indian Express yesterday catching up with Patel.  The now 23-year-old went back home to the Khanpur village of Varanasi, built a house for his family, and paid for his sister’s wedding. Not too shabby.

Patel is back in school now and hopes to eventually land a government job. But the money he earned through baseball changed the fortunes of his life, and his family’s lives as well.

“The sport gave me a lot of name and fame…whatever happens, happens for the best,” he said. “Being with my family also gives me a great deal of satisfaction.”

Baseball played a part in building Patel’s future, but its past also gave him some awesome stories. Along with Singh, Patel got to meet Obama. And Ronaldino too. But even more importantly, they partied with Barry Bonds. Well, kind of.

“When we signed the contract, we went to Haldirams in the US and told them we wanted to throw a party for about 40 people. They told us they would supply good Indian food free of cost. We were very happy when even Bonds turned up,” said Patel.

I go to India just about every other year for a lot of different reasons, usually not by choice. But if I’m ever in Varanasi, I’m going to ask an auto rickshaw driver to take me straight to Khanpur in the off-hand chance I get to meet Dinesh Patel.

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