Goldschmidt keeping perspective amid big year
JUN 02, 2013 4:08p ET
The Diamondbacks first baseman has emerged as a model for forgetting about the past, both good and bad, and that nature has perhaps never shown more than it did Saturday when Goldschmidt lifted the D-backs to a win over the Cubs with his first career grand slam.
"I was talking to Goldy about it on the bench," D-backs manager Kirk Gibson said. "You've just got to move on from that. You can't get discouraged by what's happened so far."
Added Goldschmidt: "You get a chance to win the game in the eighth or ninth inning, you can't be living in the past."
Saturday's grand slam came after three strikeouts and a walk but was just the latest example of Goldschmidt's ability to move on from failures and triumphs. Whether it's a big hit or a double-play ground ball, Goldschmidt rarely, if ever, carries weights of the past on his big shoulders.
That's part of what has helped Goldschmidt evolve into the D-backs' best hitter, an obvious all-star and an early-season MVP candidate. That's not all of it, certainly, but without that trait Goldschmidt might find himself more of a streaky hitter rather than a guy near the top of the NL in every Triple Crown category.
"It's a tough game, there's a lot of ups and downs so whether you’re playing good or playing bad you've got to be the same person," Goldschmidt said. "It's a very humbling game, so I don't really want to draw attention, whether it's good or bad."
If that sounds like one of those clichés immortalized by the famous scene in the classic baseball movie "Bull Durham," that's because it's not far off. Talk to Goldschmidt long enough and you'll hear the same few lines repeated intermittently.
But Goldschmidt isn’t just spitting out boring lines to stay out of the headlines. He means what he says, and even he admits the "one day at a time" mantra sounds a little trite. That's just who he is.
Goldschmidt says he's always been wired this way. He can't pinpoint what made him this way -- his father's teaching, perhaps -- and doesn't really think about it unless he's asked. It's just become second nature.
"There's a right way to play the game, especially as a young guy in baseball," Goldschmidt said. "The veterans kind of lead the clubhouse and as a young guy you kind of just sit back and play the game and try to stay out of the way."
Goldschmidt seems to have hung on to the 'keep your head down and stay out of the way' approach despite his becoming a key leader in just his third major league season. Gibson says Goldschmidt is coming out of his shell more, especially when the clubhouse doors are closed to reporters, but publicly Goldschmidt is as humble as can be.
That's why Goldschmidt ignores and deflects any talk of All-Star Games, MVP or any other individual recognition. The first All-Star Game balloting update should be out in the next few days, and Goldschmidt ought to be among the leading vote-getters at first base. But he won't know it unless somebody tells him.
"This whole team is put together and it's why were here to try to make the playoffs and win the World Series," Goldschmidt said. "If guys are fortunate enough to have individual accomplishments, sure they're good but I don' think anyone's playing for those."
Goldschmidt says he takes an "all-or-nothing" approach, and he's on the 'nothing' side of it. He doesn't read anything about himself online or in the newspaper. He doesn't look at his stats. He tries to avoid even watching anything about the D-backs on TV.
While Goldschmidt and Gibson have many differences, they do have a shared aversion to the spotlight. Gibson appeared pained accepting his 2011 NL Manager of the Year Award last season, bothered the attention was on him rather than the team.
"I think we're similar, but I don't see me in him," Gibson said. "He's his own guy. I admire that. He's very humble, he stays humble. I think he understands you've got to kind of keep a level head and not get too excited over things. He realizes the journey that he's on, how long it is, and that's kind of one of the ways he leads."
But might Goldschmidt pumps his fist after a big home run, as Gibson famously did in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series?
"Only if he wins a World Series game," Gibson said, smiling. "I never planned that. Just stuff happens. I would say if there was a game like that I would predict Goldy would do something out of the ordinary."
Maybe Goldschmidt will break out of his robotic mold for a postseason triumph, but for now he'll keep plugging away with little regard for what happened the bay before and what might happen the next.
As for the much-deserved praise Goldschmidt has gotten this season, his ears are essentially deaf to it. After Goldschmidt lit up Dodgers pitchers in a series earlier this season, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly called Goldschmidt a "one-man wrecking crew."
That ought to mean something coming from a former AL MVP, batting champion and six-time All-Star.
"I don't read the paper or anything, so I wouldn’t know," Goldschmidt said. "Obviously there's a lot of knowledgeable people in this game, and it's great that they say some good things, but you've kind of got to let that go because it's in the past. You've got to move forward."