Diamondbacks pitcher providing comic relief in Down Under dating game

Diamondbacks pitcher providing comic relief in Down Under dating game

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – He is the antidote to "absolutely zero excitement," spearhead for globalization of gargoyle mania, and leading man in "The Bachelor: Down Under Edition," a show I just made up but a happening nonetheless.

Give him your tired, your poorly humored, your spunky sheilas. Josh Collmenter is game.

The Arizona Diamondbacks' reliever, he of the 11 o'clock arm slot, new curveball grip, 0.00 spring ERA, and love of bearskin rugs and poetry recitations, assented to a contest loosely titled Win a Date with Josh Collmenter, sponsored by The Daily Telegraph in Sydney, Australia. The Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers arrive there Tuesday morning and open their season at the Sydney Cricket Ground next weekend. In between, Collmenter will conduct his blind date, culled from Twitter and Instagram submissions and chosen by a panel of Diamondbacks.

"I don't take myself too seriously," Collmenter explained. "Luckily – or unluckily, whatever you want to call it – I'm one of the few single guys on the team."

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Let's go with luckily for the moment, just for the sake of the contest.

"I wouldn't do that if I did have a girlfriend," Collmenter confirmed.

The identity of Collmenter's date for a mid-week reception is expected to be revealed Friday. The newspaper is paring down the prospects to a manageable number. That list will be forwarded to the Collmenter board, composed of teammates J.J. Putz, David Hernandez, Patrick Corbin, bullpen catcher Mark Reed and Casey Wilcox, who is not only the club's director of player and media relations but, as one of Arizona Foothill Magazine's most eligible bachelors of 2013, uniquely qualified in the murky area of "luckily" vs. "unluckily."

As for being named to the committee, Putz said: "I'm honored. It's a lot of pressure. But I know Josh is striving to find that certain someone and settle down. A tremendous honor."

He said he would rate the prospective dates on a scout's scale of 20 to 80, with 20 being low and 80 being oh-my-god-I-couldn't-even-form-a-sentence-in-front-of-her. The women will be evaluated, presumably, on their intelligence, sense of humor, looks and ability to frame a curveball.

Bearded, 28 years old, tall, dark and never married, Collmenter described himself to the ladies of Sydney thusly: "Josh likes long walks on Bondi Beach, reading poetry on a bear rug in front of the fireplace and tall, athletic women whose offspring will likely result in a college scholarship."

He also posed for a photo with a stuffed kangaroo on his right shoulder, a smile straight outta Tiger Beat.

Asked Thursday for the last time he read poetry on a bear rug in front of a fireplace, Collmenter paused, wrinkled his forehead and said, "Two nights ago. Gotta brush up on my Shakespearean sonnets to impress the young lass."

And you were dubious.

He is a man of letters, turns out – a man of emotional depth, civilized tastes and uncommon elegance. That is, when he's not perched on a chair or a food table or a car or something, hunched and stone-faced like a gargoyle on a ledge of the Notre Dame Cathedral, an activity in which he – and more than a few fellow Diamondbacks – have become quite fond. No man is perfect, though it might go OK with the Shakespeare.

"We're going to take it international," he said.

As you perhaps can tell, Collmenter enjoys himself. He laughs a lot. He spent Wednesday night rolling around the living room floor with Putz's children, and Thursday morning preparing for the baseball season, and then discussing the finer points of blind dates and gargoyling – presumably separate topics – and later staring into a camera and declaring, with great sincerity, "G'day mates! See you in Australia!" After pitching in a spring game last week, he was on the phone in the PR offices cold-calling prospective season-ticket buyers. In a video he did for the Win a Date with Josh Collmenter contest, he held a cricket bat and a rugby ball, wore a child's inner tube at his waist, and said he was looking forward to, "All you beautiful women notorious for being from Australia," and closed with a dramatic wink.

"That's just how he is," Putz said with a laugh.

Collmenter has not, however, taken his show to Twitter.

"Never at any point in my day," he said, "do I feel the need to point out Chipotle was amazing."

Collmenter claimed he was not concerned the women of Australia might meet the contest with, "Um, hey, thanks, that's so nice, but, uh, no." He was willing to put up with the fallout from his teammates, who are free to laugh along with him. He trusts his handpicked committee to be kind. And he really doesn't think this makes him look, you know, kinda lonely and a little desperate. He thinks it's fun. And funny. And why not? He's going to go have a good time, which seems to capture the spirit of the Diamondbacks.

So he'll have his date, which he said he most certainly wouldn't be nervous about. After all, he pitches in the major leagues in front of big crowds for a living. He can handle a date.

"Though," he said with a twist of his neck, "some would say that was the tougher of the two."

Not for him though. Whomever the lucky lass, he'll greet her with the smile, charm her with the Shakespeare and slay her with the gargoyle.


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