I remember the day that I graduated from high school like it was yesterday. It was a hot Friday in June and there was absolutely no protection from the sun. Some of my friends snuck flasks in. Other brought cigars as if a public high school graduation was some huge accomplishment (not throwing shade at anyone, just my opinion). But what stuck out to me the most wasn’t any of the speeches or the heat or even the after parties. What sticks out to me the most was the sheer number of people who didn’t know our valedictorian. She was hands down the most intelligent person in our school and yet, some students in our graduating class of maybe 200 kids didn’t know her. It amazed me that someone who we had all been in school with for 4+ years, and of that intellectual caliber, could still be relatively unknown.
But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. She wasn’t arrogant or flashy. She never was loud or brash about her accomplishments. She just went to school and straight up performed. The thing about people, however, is that they won’t notice something unless it’s shoved under their nose. That’s why the saying ‘all press is good press’ will always be relevant. As long as people are talking about you, you’re on their minds.
Despite the supposed decline of the sport of baseball, the game’s brightest stars have never been bigger. Bryce Harper and Aaron Judge’s tape-measure blasts are quotidian SportsCenter attractions, while web gems by the likes of Javier Baez and Nolan Arenado make the rounds on the plethora of social media platforms. But hidden under the glitz and glam of the bat flips and diving catches is arguably the most consistent hitter in baseball.
Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks is not a flashy player. He doesn’t play for a big market team nor does he play with a big market attitude. Nonetheless, he could go down as one of the best hitters ever to play the game while also being one of the most forgettable stars in baseball. And there’s something to be said about a guy who just does his job. He doesn’t ask for praise or hotdog for the fans. The proof is in the pudding, or in Goldschmidt’s case, the proof is in his stats.
Since 2012 (his first full MLB season), Goldy is in the top 10 in batting average, on base percentage, walks, doubles, runs, RBI’s, and WAR. He’s also top 20 in home runs and stolen bases (impressive considering his 6’3”, 225 lbs frame).
Despite this long list of statistical feats, Goldschmidt’s name has barely been whispered in MVP conversations and his Wikipedia page remains shorter than most people’s Tweets. Even with his five All-Star appearances, Goldy couldn’t crack even the top 20 of MLB jersey sales last year.
For as much as the MLB is touted as America’s pastime and a traditional sport, it can’t escape the current generation’s thirst for showmanship. But why should a player like Paul Goldschmidt be punished for being ‘boring’?
Despite leading the MLB in both runs scored (70) and RBI’s (66) at the time the last All-Star ballots were submitted, the Arizona first baseman still finished third in the fan vote. For the first base position. Albeit, the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman (1st) is having a fantastic season, but as good as Anthony Rizzo (2nd) is, his .263 season average doesn’t scream All-Star.
Paul Goldschmidt might never become a household name, even in the homes of diehard baseball fans. But what he lacks in showmanship, he makes up for in productivity and consistency.
Though his talent and overall prowess may never propel him into the forefront of MLB stardom, his name deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Mike Trouts and Kris Bryants of the league. At the end of the day, baseball is about production and execution, and Paul Goldschmidt does both.