White Sox draftee Karan Patel is the embodiment of the American Dream
It’s time for a sequel to ‘Million Dollar Arm’, the movie based on true events, only this time it’ll have to be based on the first American-born Indian Karan Patel, who just got drafted in Major League Baseball.
Dinesh Patel and Rinku Singh made the impossible possible when they became the first Indians ever to get drafted into Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Pittsburgh Pirates team, something that was later dramatised in 2014’s inspirational Hollywood movie ‘Million Dollar Arm’.
Growing up during this time was someone who decided to run with this inspiration toward his dream. Five years later, the now 22-year-old Karan Patel, a resident of Sugar Land, Texas, has become the first American-born Indian to see his name drafted into the MLB.
JUMPING BETWEEN SPORTS
Karan comes from from an Indian family that always prioritised education over sports for their children. And so even as a little boy growing up in Texas, Karan was forced to pick studies over his then newfound love for cricket. It was a passion that ran in the family, for his father Kuldeep too represented the USA Cricket Team during his teenage years. The senior Patel had moved stateside at a young age to help his uncle manage a restaurant while taking care of his single mother.
Soon after Karan was born, his father knew early on that his son bore the same sporting genes, and the boy started playing cricket at a young age following his father’s footsteps. However, while playing for the USA U-19 cricket team in 2012 was just a part-time ambition for Karan. That’s because he also had a place in his heart for his nation’s most popular sport — baseball.
He used to split his weekends between the two sports — Saturdays were strictly for cricket and on Sundays, he would devote his time to baseball. Eventually, his time in cricket helped him attune into a fine baseball player too, as the two sports are very similar to each other.
THE AMERICAN DREAM
After dominating the sport of cricket and finding early success in bowling, Karan also picked up a knack arm for pitching, the baseball equivalent of bowling. During Kempner High School’s baseball match, he was called out to pitch a few balls during the end of a game that his team was losing. Much to the surprise of everyone present, Karan was able to turn the course of the game, creatively swinging the ball and routing the opposition into a shocking defeat. His creativity helped his school win two district championships later.
But it wasn’t just the swing and spin that Karan adapted into the sport. He also understood the importance of speed while pitching. In 2019, Patel pursued his college degree at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). Over there, he managed to record 104 strikeouts in 92.0 innings, breaking a 28-year-old college record. He started pitching at a speed of 90-94 mph and has maintained that velocity till date.
You can call him 100K Patel. Karan Patel becomes the first UTSA pitcher to register 100 strikeouts in a single season.
— UTSA Baseball ⚾️ (@UTSABSB) May 16, 2019
This young man had his national level cricketing skills to thank for his success in baseball.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING
— Bhuvneshwar Kumar (@BhuviOfficial) October 3, 2019
Karan displayed a state-of-the-art performance during his time in college and that’s when he came under the MLB scanner. The Chicago White Sox signed him up in June, and there, he’s been able to work his way through the White Sox farm system before being called up on the big stage.
Today, Karan is the embodiment of the American Dream, and has opened doors for many people of his community to pursue their dream of succeeding in the sport. Now, it’s only a matter of time before that ‘Million Dollar Arm’ sequel is announced.
Photo credit: Bhuvneshwar Kumar / Twitter