Can Paul Goldschmidt be the Diamondbacks’ Derek Jeter?
By Thomas Lynch
Every franchise wants a Derek Jeter. Can Paul Goldschmidt be that guy for the D’backs? Credit: William Perlman/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com via USA TODAY Sports
There will never be another Derek Jeter. As he himself said last night, there are plenty of guys that have had more talent. But with Jeter, it has never been about strictly numbers. There is no doubt he is a Hall of Fame player but he is also a Hall of Fame person. Generous with both time and money, always saying the right thing, respectful of all people and backstopped with the nicest of families, Jeter is exactly the guy we should be celebrating in world where bad actions dominate the headlines. It is personal for me since I have lived my entire life in New York. Jeter made his Major League debut in the same month I graduated college and retires with me being happily married father of three children. I will miss him but I am thrilled for him that he leaves on his own terms as he anxiously awaits the next phase of his life.
But this is a blog about the Arizona Diamondbacks. And my question today is, can Paul Goldschmidt be the Diamondbacks’ version of Derek Jeter?
Around the Foghorn
Understand I am not trying to compare the two players, at least not now. Jeter has 20 years of excellence and while Goldschmidt may not play that long, he still has plenty of time to put up Hall of Fame-worthy numbers. 2013 was certainly one of them and this season was on its way to being another before it was derailed at the end of July because of a broken wrist. We know Jeter has a multitude of postseason moments. Godlschmidt already has one of his own, a grand slam in Game 3 of the 2011 National League Divison Series. He batted a robust .438 during that series, a number that would make The Captain proud.
But what makes Jeter so special is the manner in which he conducts himself with the biggest team (arguably) on the biggest stage in the world. The humbleness, the hard work, the respect for all those in the game of baseball are all traits that Jeter has in abundance. Goldschmidt seems to possess those qualities himself. He is the D’back nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award, given to the player who best exemplifies sportsmanship and positive contributions both on and off the field. How many times over the last three years have I been watching a D’backs game on TV and they show us Chase Field hours before game time and Goldschmidt is out on the field taking extra fielding practice? We know about Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation and how much money and effort he puts into that venture. Likewise, Goldschmidt works tirelessly with Phoenix Children’s Hospital and has taken disadvantaged children Christmas shopping.
It is important for the Diamondbacks to find their own guy like a Jeter or a Tony Gwynn or a Cal Ripken, Jr. to spend his whole career in Phoenix. Say what you want about Kevin Towers, but he signed Goldschmidt to a club-friendly contract that keeps him in an Arizona uniform until 2019 when he turns 31. One more contract after that and perhaps we can see Goldschmidt retire as a Diamondback. Maybe he puts up Hall of Fame numbers, maybe he falls just short. What he can do is have every kid in Arizona, much like kids and Derek Jeter in New York, dreaming of being like Paul Goldschmidt.