Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie expresses condolences to families in Roseburg, Ore., where he grew up

Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie
Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie jsleezer@kcstar.com

Royals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie grew up in Roseburg, Ore., a small town tucked in the southwestern corner of the state, about three hours south of Portland. He rode his bicycle through the town’s rolling hills. He attended basketball games at Umpqua Community College. He swam laps in the college’s pool.

The images of the town and the college burst across television screens on Thursday afternoon after a man went on a shooting rampage there, killing as many as 10 and wounding seven others, according to reports early Thursday evening. Guthrie moved to Ashland, Ore., when he was 12, but he was still stunned by the shootings.

In an interview session with reporters inside the dugout on Thursday, Guthrie expressed his sorrow about the situation and issued condolences for the victims and their kin.

“Those families are going through unimaginable loss today,” Guthrie said before the game against the White Sox. “Maybe some of them don’t even know what has happened, still. You keep them in your prayers.”

Guthrie spoke out against the prevalence of gun violence, and violence in general, in this country. He indicated he did not have a stance on gun control or the Second Amendment.

“I don’t have an opinion that,” he said. “I have not been exposed too much to guns in my own life. But that doesn’t mean that I feel that’s right or wrong. That’s just the way I was raised.”

He recalled how, as a college student in 1999 living in Spain on a mission to serve the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he learned about the shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado. The concept of a school shooting felt foreign to him.

In the intervening years, the shootings continue to occur.

“You just hope that at some point in time, we as a society, we as people can learn to cope with struggles and difficulties and challenges in our lives in a different way,” Guthrie said. “We obviously all (have) the ability go out and do harm to other people, whether it’s with a gun or through other forms of violence. That’s never the answer. Unfortunately, we’ve seen too many people resort to that in recent times.”