It is not easy for him to say, “Hey, look at me.” To ask for the intrusiveness of media coverage. To want to be the center of attention.
This is clearly important to him.
This is Paul Goldschmidt 2.0.
After six seasons with the Diamondbacks, the first baseman is unveiling his philanthropic side. It has always been there, from the days he used to do volunteer work with his family, but he is ready to take the next step even if it means hitting up friends for favors and inviting microphones and television cameras.
On Nov. 10, Goldy’s Bowling Bash will take place at Lucky Strike at CityScape, an event to benefit Goldy’s Fund 4 Kids, which is raising money for Phoenix Children’s Hospital Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
It’s perfect, isn’t it, that it’s a bowling fundraiser? Part of his mass appeal is his everyman quality, with his minimal airs and maximum approachability.
The Valley holds him in high regard because he is the standard for success with humility. He has a career .299 batting average, four All-Star appearances, and two Gold Glove awards.
And he is unfailingly polite and approachable. He goes out of his way to say the right thing, and while that might irk those wanting a flashier soundbite, what owner wouldn’t want that kind of representation for an organization?
He is also one heck of a bargain by today’s Major League Baseball standards but he won’t go there either, saying a future contract will take of itself.
So it is not surprising that he and his wife, Amy, have made building a new facility for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders a cause. They have volunteered at the hospital since Goldschmidt was called up in 2011, with each visit pulling them in a little more each time.
The birth of their son a year ago may have sealed the deal.
“You just don’t know until you have a kid, the love you have, and then seeing some of the kids there that are around Jake’s age, it hits you a lot harder,” Amy said. “Of course it hit me hard before, but knowing now what it would be like picturing Jake in that position …”
The two are united in this cause.
They met a decade ago at Texas State, athletes who shared four classes and study hall. They talk with the ease of a married couple, with Amy, a former collegiate golfer, answering a question about Paul’s “always nice” image with “it depends on the day.”
And then she laughed.
“I’m just kidding,” she said. “He’s always a nice, humble, caring person. He’s gotten better at expressing himself over the years. He used to be really shy. He still is shy but with this job he’s definitely expressed his personality a little more. It’s been fun to watch him grow.”
Part of that growth is increasing the impact of their charity, Goldy’s Fund 4 Kids. This is the first event that they are overseeing fully with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
“Our main goal when we first started volunteering was just getting over there, do what we can, hand out coffee, sign some autographs, play the video games, board games whatever it is,” he said. “A year ago, when they asked us to be honorary chairs for the (Hope Lives Here) campaign … I think we knew it was just a natural fit.
“We’ve met with a lot of the kids and the families and seen the struggles they go through in many different ways. But we’ve also seen them recover and become healthy. We want to see more and more kids do that.”
The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders is the largest pediatric program of its kind in Arizona, a concrete facility that’s a 24-hour embrace for children diagnosed with malignancies and hematological diseases.
But it’s running out of space. In 2015, it accommodated 22,000 patient appointments, compared with just 8,900 in 2007. The number of annual bone marrow transplants performed has doubled from that year, too, from 20 to 40 in 2015. It is expected to reach more than 60 during the next two years.
The hospital hopes the facility is fully constructed by November 2017.
The goal “is to have everything consolidated into one area,” Goldschmidt said. “Now there are two patients in a room, like a teen and a 5-year-old, and there are two doctors in there talking at the same time. There’s overcrowding.
“This is probably the toughest thing these families have to go through. We want to help them out even more.”
The November fundraiser will feature donors sharing lanes with celebrities, a post-competition mixer and a silent auction.
The event has had good momentum, Goldschmidt said, but some open lanes and sponsorship opportunities remain.
He hopes the community embraces the event as much as he does. He and Amy love that they landed in the Valley and are grateful for the loyalty of a team that drafted him in 2009.
“We’ve been blessed to be put in this position where people do look up to Paul, so I think to use that platform to raise awareness, we’re so honored to be part of that campaign,” Amy said. “It’s a huge need.”
And Paul Goldschmidt insists he continues to believe in the organization, his comments coming Monday, with the air rich in rumors about firings, just hours before General Manager Dave Stewart and manager Chip Hale were let go.
“I think from an outsider’s perspective, you really don’t know what’s going on inside,” he said. “We’ve had a great leadership there, whether it was players or coaches. Nobody was giving up even after we were out of the playoff hunt. There are lot of positives going forward. It’s easy to try to point fingers. It’s not really truth.”
He believes in the Diamondbacks and is vested in the community.
He hopes other can be, too. Go to goldysfund4kids.org for more information.
Photos from the 2016 Goldy’s Bowling Bash: