I have been invited as media to attend these events. Expenses have been paid in exchange for my coverage. All opinions are my own.
One of my favorite parts of my LA press trip was interviewing the people behind the story of Million Dollar Arm. JB Bernstein is the sports agent who comes up with the plan to seek out new baseball talent in India by hosting a million dollar contest. While there he met Dinesh Patel & Rinku Singh and took them under his wing. The story unfolds on screen and becomes way more than JB ever bargained for.
Blogger Q: In the Movie, it shows how you came to the decision to do “The Million Dollar Arm” contest. Would you say it was relatively accurate to how you actually began?
JB: You know, some of the things they touch on is the inspirations (and those) are accurate like, American Idol and seeing Cricket (on the TV). In reality, my two Business Partners, Will Chang and Ash Vasudevan helped us….we kind of were both thinking about these things separately and it wasn’t really until we came together that the idea: Hey, we should try to find Talent in India too. So it’s pretty accurate in that it shows the inspirations for things.
Blogger Q: How does it feel seeing yourself in the Movie?
Dinesh: This is a big deal for me. I’m very happy and my family is also happy.
Blogger Q: What about Suraj playing you?
Rinku: He’s done a great job. I mean, he’s not just a great Actor, he’s also a great human. Meeting him as a person, just really meant a lot. I really liked it. It was pretty inspirational and he’s done a great job. That really reminded me of 2008, (the) little Indian that I was.
Blogger Q: How was it learning the game?
Rinku: It really takes some time. Just like, if you took (an) American Baseball Player and make them become a Cricket, they have no idea how to pitch in Cricket, right? So that was a totally different world for me coming here and playing Professional Baseball. It did take a year, but I believe that it doesn’t matter what you’re doing in your life if you’re willing to give whatever you got inside and out, you are gonna succeed.
Blogger Q: If you could do everything all over again, would you?
Rinku: Would love to. I didn’t just walk through that journey (it) teaches a lot of things. It really make me and Dinesh, like allof the people working “The Million Dollar Arm”. I grew up a lot from that. I wouldn’t be the man I am today if I wasn’t here.
Blogger Q: At the end of the movie, it talks about how you’re still involved in “The Million Dollar Arm.” Is that something you’re still running in India?
JB: We’ll start our 3rd season this Winter. Our first season, we saw about 38,000 kids. This year we’ll see half a million. Major League Baseball is now playing a big part in it.
Blogger Q: Rinku and Dinesh, have your families been able to come to America to see your new life and if so, how do they feel about it?
Rinku: No, they haven’t. First of all, it’s gonna be a big cultural change for them. Baseball life is too busy….I won’t be able to give them time. And I really don’t want my parents to feel that way. So I’m thinking when I make it, I will definitely bring them over here to see.
Blogger Q: In the 6 years that you guys have been here, do you feel like you’re much more acclimated to this Country?
Rinku: Home is always gonna be home no matter what. No matter how happy you are in other Country. I’m pretty sure that it would be the same for you guys. You always miss your home. My dream is here. I got my Mom and Dad (in India), I go back once a year and get my heart charged.
My favorite quote out of the entire interview was the last one by Rinku. The love and respect that he has for his parents is one I hope to instill in my boys. JB is a class act and very social on twitter, if you’d like to follow him. The boys were both very kind and excited to talk about their life stories.
*Picture credits: Disney