The Duncan Banner


July 22, 2012

It’s fun to be a fan again

DUNCAN — Josh Rutledge has changed my leisure time habits at home the past couple of weeks. He has altered my schedule, adjusted my priorities and made me a baseball fan again.

The son of friends from Alabama, Rutledge is now the starting shortstop for the Colorado Rockies in the National League.

It’s likely a temporary opportunity since two-time All-Star and two-time Golden Glove defender Troy Tulowitzki is the regular Rockies’ starter when he’s healthy, but Rutledge is making the most of his assignment made possible by a groin injury that put Tulo on the 15-day disabled list and will probably keep him off the field even longer.

Rutledge was hitting .306 with 109 hits, 13 home runs and 35 RBI in 87 games for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers when he was called up July 13, ironically a day after our family vacation ended in Denver. He batted .348 in 406 at-bats last year, led the California League in hitting for Class A Modesto and he has been identified as one of the organization’s top 10 prospects.

Using Tulowitzki’s cleats and batting glove, D.J. LeMahieu’s bats and Jordan Pacheco’s glove because his equipment didn’t arrive in time for his first game, he got two hits and a sacrifice fly, walked once, drove in two runs and stole a base as the lowly Rockies, last in the West Division, beat Philadelphia 6-2 in his Coors Field debut.

He also got a welcoming and traditional shaving cream pie in his face during a post-game interview.

Through his first seven games in the majors, he’s hitting .375 with nine hits (four doubles and two triples), four RBI and three stolen bases. Defensively, he made his first error against San Diego Friday night, but he has handled 32 chances in 63 innings and been in on five double plays.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised.

He comes from a baseball family, the son of Tony, a family practice physician, and Cheryl, a nurse. He and his older brother, Michael, both played on high school state championship caliber teams at Cullman. Both were All-State selections and Michael played three years at SEC power Mississippi State before transferring to Samford of the Ohio Valley Conference for a graduate school year of eligibility.

Josh, now 23, earned All-SEC and All-American honors as a shortstop at Alabama before being drafted by the Rockies in the third round of the 2010 draft. And he appears part of the Colorado youth movement designed to regain a winning attitude and record.

Rutledge probably won’t replace Tulowitzki when he returns from injury, though the famous story of Lou Gehrig taking over for an injured Wally Pipp and remaining a starter for 2,130 consecutive games as a New York Yankee could always be repeated. It isn’t likely, of course, and Tulo is a solid pro both as a hitter and fielder. But Rutledge could earn significant playing time as a second baseman where the Rockies are a little weak.

If he keeps playing as well, he might even grab some national attention away from more heralded rookies Bryce Harper of Washington and Mike Trout of Los Angeles’ Angels.

All I know is, Rutledge is living the boyhood hero dream most of us had as youngsters and for today anyway, he’s one of 30 major league starting shortstops in the entire country.

And I, for the first time in decades, have become a baseball fan again.

Though I recognize the names of only a handful of players, I find myself often in front of our home computer, probing statistics as I “watch” the play-by-play of Rockies’ games and track each pitch thrown to Rutledge.

Following baseball, I have learned, has changed a lot since my earlier days of listening via KMOX out of St. Louis to the Cardinals late at night on my bulky red transistor radio, huddled under the covers of my bed for both parental secrecy and privacy.

It’s been fun reconnecting to the game and exciting to see him succeed. I hope his story gets even better.

Getting an autograph, then, may be the next step.

(580) 255-5354, Ext. 130

Text Only
  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014


Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
     View Results
AP Video