Rookie pitcher Josh Collmenter has made quite the splash with the Arizona Diamondbacks this season, compiling a 2.09 ERA over several starts and relief appearances. His is a great story, rising from small-town Homer to college and eventually to the majors.
He’s starting today for the D-Backs in Comerica Park against the Detroit Tigers. Quite the homecoming for the Michigan native:
“I looked at the schedule before I even went to spring training, and it was mentioned that we were playing in Detroit,” Collmenter told the Detroit News. “I wanted to do everything I could to be there, just to have that opportunity.
“That it worked out has been surreal.”
We do have a self-serving interest in writing about Collmenter: he was a main cog in our book Homer: The Small-Town Baseball Odyssey. Jeff Karzen wrote about the amazing story about how the small-town Homer team managed to defy the odds and capture a Michigan state championship:
It’s an amazing story of how high-school athletes established a winning tradition and performed with grace and class – despite the small-town politics that almost led to the removal of a dedicated and admired coach.
Homer: The Small-Town Baseball Odyssey starts in the fall of 2003, when a talented group of baseball players is on the verge of great achievements on the diamond. Off the field, their coach, Scott Salow, embarks on a campaign to save his job, as the local teachers’ union opposes a decision for Salow to retain the coaching position and serve as a middle-school principal. The ensuing political struggle threatens to derail the team. Along the way there are several main adult characters, including Salow’s brother Tom, the former head coach and a trusted adviser; Chuck Finch, whose son was one of the best players on the team and who also felt he should have been the head coach; and Brent Holcomb, the school superintendent who wanted Salow to continue as coach (and whose son was one of the team’s best players).
Against that backdrop, Homer is a story of dedicated players who avoid the political fights as best they can and simply play ball. The players range from star pitcher Josh Collmenter to second baseman C.J. Finch (Chuck’s son) to mercurial Dusty Compton, who cared more about baseball than anything else in his life. The team achieves statewide respect for its on-field exploits and the admiration of opposing coaches who note the team’s amazing work ethic and hustle. And, most importantly, the team gains the support of virtually everyone in the small southern-Michigan community.
Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscribers to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter see features before they’re posted to the site. You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.