DURHAM, N.C. – A valuable contributor both on and off the field, senior right-hander Josh Ruffin appeared in nine career games with the Blue Devils, limiting opponents to a .211 batting average. An ACC Academic Honor Roll selection, he received his degree in statistical science this past spring.
Ruffin garnered the Statistical Science Department's 2014 Teaching Assistant of the Year award and is currently working at Baseball Info Solutions, a company that specializes in collecting, interpreting and disseminating baseball statistics to pro teams, media, sports agents and computer game developers.
GoDuke.com caught up with the Springfield, Va., native.
GoDuke.com: What are your three favorite things about being a Duke student-athlete?
Ruffin: I would say being able to go to Duke and wear an athlete thing across your chest. On and off campus, people respect that. It’s pretty cool to walk with that pride around. My second thing is the color blue, my favorite color. So I’m glad we’re able to arrange that. They knew I was coming so they were able to pick the right color. My third thing would just being able to play in the ACC. Basically for all of the sports we have, it seems we’re in the best conference, baseball included. Now I get the chance to play against future professional players which is pretty interesting to say. Something I can hang my hat on.
GoDuke.com: What is your favorite on-field memory?
JR: Well before this year, I would have to say my very first game when we had no idea what college baseball was going to be like and we had a comeback victory against Richmond in the ninth. But then this year, obviously sweeping North Carolina has to be the crowning moment.
GoDuke.com: What is your favorite off-field memory?
JR: There are a lot. I would have to say graduating because I did not know if I would. I decided to challenge myself, go for the statistics major and I apparently got it, that’s what they told me, so I’ll take it.
GoDuke.com: What are three things you’d like to do in the next 10 years?
JR: My overall goal is to work for a professional baseball team in their stat department. Another thing I want to do is be able to go back down to Panama where I was born, just visit the area. I’ve been down once or twice before. I haven’t been down since before high school, so I want to check it out again. Third is retire so I can play golf.
GoDuke.com: Describe yourself in three words.
JR: Unique. I would say I don’t know if there are many switch-hitting submarine pitchers majoring in statistics. I think I dominate that category. I would also say sarcastic. You can ask anyone here, now it’s just a habit. I would also say, just have fun. Honestly coming out here for baseball …as I’ve grown with it, it’s just become something that’s fun for me. It used to be stressful at first when you’re trying to find your niche. Once you’re here, once you’re in the groove of it, I just find it entertaining. I just enjoy it.
GoDuke.com: What’s your favorite things about your sport?
JR: Obviously the stats part of it, the numbers behind it. Just the way you can break it down. It’s so different from let’s say a soccer or basketball where it’s constant fluid motion. Here with baseball, it’s a station to station game where you can find market inefficiencies to make your team better. One of the other things is the range of players that you play with. We have kids here who are like 5-6/5- 7 who are strong as can be, but maybe not the tallest. But maybe in something like basketball or football they just have no chance whatever. Here it’s like pure athleticism or skill. Either you’re athletic enough to do it or you have the skill to do it, you have a chance to play, that’s the most important thing. I think my third thing is … it’s just like tradition. If you sit out here, it’s a unique sport in how everything is based in tradition. Like you know nine innings, 90 feet, it’s never changed. If you think about it, the way you change the game, if the bases were 89 or 91 feet apart it’d be completely different. They’re almost perfectly set. And then just hanging out. I’m a relief pitcher, hanging out in the bullpen is just hilarious. Being able to sit out there and just enjoy watching the game for a little bit and then be like, Oh wait no I need to go in now.’ It’s just a very unique paced game.