Monday, July 8, 2013

A New Disney Movie Tell the Story of Pittsburgh Pirate Rinku Singh

The life story about some athletes from Manatee County will soon be featured on the big screen.

A movie is being made about two young men from India with no baseball experience. They won a reality show and were picked up to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates minor league team in Bradenton.

“Before baseball, I was doing track and field," Rinku Singh said. "My biggest goal was to represent my country in the Olympics."

Born in India, Singh, 24, said he knew nothing about baseball. That all changed in 2008, when a reality show audition came to his country.

The show, called Million Dollar Arm, was about finding India’s first pitching sensation. Singh and another man, Dinesh Patel, beat out 40,000 contestants.

The win brought them to California to train with a former major league baseball coach, and that led to the Pirates signing them on.

Since that time, Patel has been released from the team, but Singh keeps moving up.

“It’s a big change in my life," Singh said. "I can say it’s completely changed my whole life.”

It's a life-changing story that caused Hollywood to come calling. Walt Disney Pictures is now filming a movie called Million Dollar Arm, based on Singh’s unique opportunity and unlikely success.

Pirates equipment manager Patrick Hagerty said he thinks his story is inspirational.

"He’s working hard for it, real hard for it," Hagerty said. "Just to see the difference in him from day one. When he got here, he was shy. Now he looks like a baseball player or professional athlete. He’s worked to get to that way."

While Rinku is very excited about the movie, he says his main goal is focusing on baseball and making it to the big leagues.

“It kind of motivated me to work extra hard and put my 100 percent effort into it," Singh said.

Singh said no matter where he ends up, he’ll forever be grateful to the Pirates.

The movie Million Dollar Arm will be released in the Spring of 2014. The cast includes Jon Hamm of "Mad Men" and Bill Paxton. Singh will be portrayed by Sraj Sharma, who starred in the recent film, Life of Pi.

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