Goldy gets warm ovation, homers in AZ return

After touching video tribute, slugger hits 100th Chase Field HR

September 24th, 2019

PHOENIX -- knew it was coming, so he waited down the left-field line after his stretching routine to watch.

The scoreboard at Chase Field played highlights of his career, including the day he got called up and hit his first home run, his 200th career home run and the two postseason berths he celebrated while with the D-backs.

The video, which lasted a couple of minutes, couldn’t possibly show all the meaningful moments in Goldschmidt’s career with the D-backs from 2011-18.

It also couldn’t capture what he meant to the fan base and community as a whole, but the crowd tried to show that with an extended standing ovation.

Goldschmidt, never one to seek attention, tipped his cap to the fans and waved, a smile on his face. He then went out and helped the Cardinals to a 9-7 win.

“I’m very appreciative of the time it took the D-backs to do that and that they even thought about doing that," Goldschmidt said. "It was totally unnecessary, and it just shows the type of organization they are. It was great, and I’m very appreciative.”

While he tried his best to downplay it, he seemed like a man who, for one day at least, enjoyed the affection. He arrived early in the day with his wife, Amy, and their two children, and he played with his kids in the outfield long before anyone else took the field.

“I’m just appreciative of my time here, the fans, the city, and everything about it,” Goldschmidt said. “I’ve said it before: I’m very grateful to the Diamondbacks for drafting me. Every team had a chance, and they’re the ones that took a chance on me, signed me to a contract and called me up to the big leagues. I haven’t forgotten that. They treated me perfect, great in every single way. I have nothing but great things to say about the organization, my time there, the people there, the city, everything about it.”

When he came up to bat in the first inning, the crowd once again rose to its feet, and Arizona catcher Carson Kelly and home-plate umpire David Rackley both stepped away to let Goldschmidt have the moment.

The D-backs applauded him from the top step of the dugout, as did manager Torey Lovullo.

Then it was back to business as usual as Goldschmidt got into the box, promptly drew a walk and came around to score. In his second at-bat, he homered to right-center, his 100th at Chase Field.

While he may have appreciated the fans' welcome in his first visit back to Chase Field since he was traded to St. Louis in December, Goldschmidt and his Cardinals teammates don’t have a lot of time for sentimentality right now.

The Cardinals clinched a playoff spot with a four-game weekend sweep of the Cubs, but they are chasing a bigger prize -- the National League Central title.

“It might be a little different if the games weren’t like what they are for us with the Cardinals,” Goldschmidt said. “I guess it makes it easier, but I don’t think it would be drastically different either. My focus is always on going out there and trying to help us win. It’s even more important with this race we’re in.”

D-backs players before the game said they hoped the fans would shower Goldschmidt with the praise they feel he deserves.

“Hopefully the fans can give him the recognition that he deserves after he did so much for this organization and the city, both on and off the field,” D-backs infielder Jake Lamb said. “So he deserves all the attention. He’s an unbelievable player and an unbelievable person.”

D-backs players and coaches got to see Goldschmidt when Arizona opened the second half of the season in St. Louis.

That brought some closure for Lovullo, but he’s always up for getting a chance to see Goldschmidt play.

“I think there was some uniqueness when I watched him in St. Louis,” Lovullo said. “I think, for the fans and for those who didn’t get a chance to see him the way I did, there might be a little more closure for them [Monday].

“I think everybody knows my attachment to Paul. He’s just a special human being. I’ll never, ever stop appreciation for watching what he does on the field. He’s an elite baseball player. The preparation is second to none.

“It will be nice to watch him. I don’t care what uniform he has on, it’s Paul Goldschmidt, and I always appreciate what he does on the baseball field.”