Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh: Celebrating with the Indians
We’re not talking about Native Americans, but Indians from South Asia.
THIS WEEK, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the first American baseball team to sign players from India to a contract and one of only a very few in any professional sport to do so (though Indian players have played professional cricket in England -- there is some disagreement as to what sort of history this signing is).
The way they were discovered is nothing short of odd: Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel were finalists in an American Idol-style contest sponsored by an American promoter (Singh won).
Neither of the 20-year-olds had ever picked up a baseball before they entered the “Million Dollar Arm” contest, and both are scrambling to learn the game.
To this point, the discussion in the mainstream press has been culturally-sensitive and respectful of the young men’s background. However, the anonymous or near-anonymous commenters on various sites have been less concerned about exploiting stereotypes.
We hope that Singh and Patel aren’t “welcomed” in Pittsburgh the same way Kosuke Fukudome has been “welcomed” in Chicago. Given what was revealed about many folks in Western Pennsylvania during the presidential campaign, however, we’re not very hopeful.