A can of corn.Mustard on that fastball.Ducks on the pond.Suddenly, we have a new baseball cliché, and it's the one that says Paul Goldschmidt is the most overlooked superstar in the game.Folks also have used ignored, underappreciated and forgotten to describe the career of this Gold Glove first baseman with
A can of corn.
Mustard on that fastball.
Ducks on the pond.
Suddenly, we have a new baseball cliché, and it's the one that says Paul Goldschmidt is the most overlooked superstar in the game.
Folks also have used ignored, underappreciated and forgotten to describe the career of this Gold Glove first baseman with the potent bat and the efficient legs in his seventh year with the D-backs. So I'm just wondering about something: When was the first time Goldschmidt began hearing these things, and how do they make him feel?
"I don't know, man, because I honestly don't read papers or check out social media or watch anything, so I really couldn't tell you," Goldschmidt said the other day with a sigh.
In case you're wondering, he really is the most overlooked, ignored, underappreciated and forgotten superstar in the game, which doesn't make sense.
Goldschmidt reflected some more on his lack of fame becoming a growing talking point, and he said, "It really doesn't have any sort of an effect on me, so I can't say whether I'm tired of it or not."
All I know is, when the subject is Goldschmidt, it involves somebody who has spent the majority of his time in the Major Leagues operating between great and greater. He is a lifetime .300-plus hitter, and he averages 30 home runs and 108 RBIs per season. He also spends most years near the top of the National League in walks. So it isn't surprising that he goes into this weekend's games in Arizona against the Nationals with numbers trending toward his career ones.
Actually, Goldschmidt is playing better than his vintage self. He has 21 home runs and 72 RBIs to complement his .311 batting average, and he is tied for third in the NL in walks with 62, including an MLB-leading 11 intentional ones. Consider, too, that we're barely a week past the All-Star Game. And, yes, he made the Midsummer Classic for the fifth time. That accomplishment goes with his two Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger Awards, RBI title, home run title and Hank Aaron Award, which begs this question: So why is this guy underrated again?
Goldschmidt shook his head, but only because he is telling the truth when he says he couldn't care less about prospering away from the shadows.
"I guess I'll take it as a compliment that people say [I'm overlooked] or underrated, because I guess that means I'm playing well," Goldschmidt said, easing into a smile. "But to tell you the truth, if it was the other way, and people said I was an overrated player, I wouldn't let that affect me, either. I don't pay a lot of attention to things, whether it's good or bad."
Has anybody ever said anything bad about Goldschmidt? Not that I've seen or heard, but center fielder A.J. Pollock would know better as a teammate for the past six seasons of the D-backs' best player.
"In the baseball world, and when you're playing the game, you can kind of look around the league and beyond and see the kind of respect Paul gets from the players themselves," Pollock said. "When I pop on TV, and I see baseball, they're not talking about him, for sure. But when you're talking about the best baseball player in the league, he's got to be in the conversation, because of all the things he does. He's a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman. He runs the bases. He hits for power, and he hits for average. He's carried our team.
"So, yeah. I can't speak for the so-called experts out there on the game, but from his teammates, I can tell you he gets a lot of respect."
Then again, whether you're Goldschmidt's teammate or not, you have to cherish somebody who prospers at the game with consistency, not only because he is natural, but also because he works at it.
Goldschmidt always is working, by the way. Rarely is he doing nothing at the ballpark before or after games. He attributes his ability to stay focused on all aspects of the game to former coaches and managers through professional baseball. He also cited veteran teammates. But for the essence of why Goldschmidt is Goldschmidt, we have to return to his youth in Houston, where his father, David, used to honor Paul's request by pitching hours of batting practice to his son when the father wasn't hitting the son grounders.
"Honestly, whatever I'm working on at that time, I try to do the best I can at it," Goldschmidt said. "You work on your offense in the cage, and then when we go out for defense, you forget about offense, and you play good 'D.' The same thing with baserunning. If you ground out, and it's a fielder's choice, and now you're the runner at first, you can't let that at-bat linger. You have to find a way to get to the next base and score."
Just wondering: Given the slew of sparkling years in the Major Leagues for Goldschmidt, has one stood out more than the others?
"I think my first year, simply because we made the playoffs," Goldschmidt said. "I've had some individually good years, and that's nice, but I think as a team, when you have success, it makes it that much sweeter. To enjoy success with a bunch of guys rather than just with yourself is a lot more fun."
Did I mention Goldschmidt also is a team guy?
Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com.