Sure, you know Josh Collmenter – the relief pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
But do you know about Josh Collmenter – the clubhouse professor?
During the dog days of spring training over the past month, Collmenter looked to keep things interesting as he took to the white board in the Arizona Diamondbacks clubhouse in Scottsdale, Arizona and had regular classroom sessions for some of the pitchers and others on the team.
Collmenter, the hometown hero of the village of Homer and former Central Michigan University standout, is getting set to start another Major League Baseball season in the next few days. As he prepared his body to get used to the rigors of a long baseball season with workouts in spring training, he also exercised his mind.
“We were sitting around talking about some history stuff, and I said, ‘I’m just going to start teaching you guys things, so we just pick random topics and if anyone has any suggestions we will talk about it’,” Collmenter said in a video interview on the USA Today website.
Collmenter became a bit of a media sensation for his little teaching session when beat writer cameras caught him teaching physics to a group of young players, drawing up theories and talking about Sir Isaac Newton on a dry-erase board in the locker room.
“Anybody who wants to stop by can, infielders and catchers have meeting at the same time, so it’s mostly pitchers,” Collmenter went on to explain. “But from what I gather, pitchers are the most intelligent species anyway so it’s a lot easier to talk to them then some of the other position players.”
Collmenter explained his love of reading for a reason for getting involved with dishing out some knowledge. He said the best part of the experiment was that it forced him to read up on some things, like physics, so he could speak confidently about the subject. Plus, it was all a way to keep things light during a long spring training.
“Just something fun. We are in here so long in the morning before something happens, it’s just something to have a little bit of fun with. Maybe the University of Phoenix will sanction some of these,” Collmenter joked in the video interview on the website.
Collmenter is known as a guy who likes to have fun. Along with his classroom sessions, the pitcher spent part of his spring training flipping pancakes at a local IHOP to help raise money for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital on National Pancake Day.
Collmenter’s exploits have gained him some national attention as he went on the Dan Le Batard Show on ESPN to talk about in more detail about being the Diamond School Dean.
“In the clubhouse, there was a bunch of young guys, and one day they were talking about something, trying to figure something out. I threw a few tidbits of information their way. They said, ‘You know that?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I have read a couple books along the way.’ I said I would get a white board and I’m going to come in and teach you something every day. They loved it and it kind of blossomed into what It was for awhile,” Collmenter said during the nationally-syndicated Le Batard Show. “But unfortunately a lot of those guys have been relocated and it kind of died out a bit. The Major Leaguers seem to be more concerned with preparing for the day.”
With spring training behind them, Collmenter is also preparing for the day the season starts.
Arizona will open the regular season Monday. When Collmenter’s season starts is a question, however. A key part of the Arizona pitching staff, Collmenter has been scheduled to be part of the bullpen throughout all of spring training. But recent shoulder pain has the team expected to have Collmenter start the season on the disabled list.
“I don’t think the injury is something that’s going to keep him out more than 15 days,” Arizona manager Chip Hale said in an Associated Press report.
Collmenter was the Diamondbacks opening day starter last year and was moved to the bullpen at midseason. He had a sparkling 1.89 ERA in the bullpen after the move and because of that the team picked up his option for the 2016 season.
Contact Bill Broderick (269) 966-0678 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @billbroderick