On this date in 2008, the Pirates pulled off one of the best combinations of marketing and overseas baseball scouting in recent memory when they signed Indian reality TV show winners Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh to minuscule free agent contracts. While on the surface their impact on the game of baseball has seemingly been limited to a few minor league appearances and a Disney movie, this no risk-high reward move by Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has paid huge dividends for the Pirates around the world, as well as benefited an entire country more or less oblivious to one of the world’s greatest sports.
While the signings of these two Cricket phenoms hasn’t benefited the Pirates on the field (Patel was released in December 2010 and Singh has missed the past two seasons due to injury), the organization has earned a prominent presence in the eyes of foreign baseball players as a result of signings like this. Who knows if this has made any direct impact on signings like Jung-Ho Kang, but this was a move that netted the Bucco’s unprecedented publicity in a foreign country of 1.25 billion people and only cost about $8,000. This is the kinda of outside-the-box move that has been the foundation for the Huntington regime and has led the Pirates from perennial losers to one of the best organizations in baseball.