But what if the quotes he gives, the kind pleasantries and the athlete clichés, really do constitute "everything there is to know" about Paul Goldschmidt's thoughts? What if the lack of information on him out there in the world is directly related to the lack of thought going on inside his head? And what if the emptiness does explain all you need to know about the success?
"I try not to get stressed out about anything that, you know, is outside of my control or stuff like that," Goldschmidt told me, adding that "definitely anything I would consider a distraction, I try to get it out of there." These read like milquetoast lines that reveal little about his success. Put in the context of his mental approach, however, that simplicity and modesty and even triteness make for the Zen of Goldy, a focused blankness that he consciously affects to improve his game.
Before spring training this year, Goldschmidt reached out to Peter Crone, a mental coach who has worked with the Diamondbacks for almost a decade. He wanted to organize extra one-on-one sessions, and since then they've talked at least weekly.
"One of the main tenets of the work I bring to people is a sense of simplicity, because all of the complicated aspects of being human is really where the mind is working hard to try to figure everything out," Crone told me. "When you get to a place like Paul of self worth where you realize your value and self acceptance, then you're not trying to figure out what people think or what the future holds; you're simply where you are. It really does become very straightforward."
Four-or-so times a night, Paul Goldschmidt has to execute a very hard task. He has to hit a very small ball—spinning at a very high speed—a very far distance. To accomplish that goal with the fairly astonishing consistency that he does, he keeps it straightforward. "I'm not a guy looking at stats, and that's for me just because I think good or bad that could be a distraction," Goldschmidt said. "The game is really hard enough anyways, and so I think it's definitely been an asset."
Goldy's stats are neither "good [n]or bad"; they're superlatively great. He's in a premature conversation for the Triple Crown, and he's already gotten a comparison to the Babe. But the secret to the stats Paul Goldschmidt won't talk about might be the very fact that he won't talk about them or much else. He strips things down to simplicity, doesn't waste our time with bullshit PR tweets or ghostwritten bios, and gives us his beautiful brand of baseball.
"He's a beautiful human being, he's just one of the nicest people you could ever meet," Crone said. "And he's got incredible talent, he's got a great work ethic, he's got this litany of qualities, which means he doesn't need to try to get external validation. And that is a powerful mindset to have in baseball, because we both know the hall of famers of the world still fail seventy percent of the time."
So when you see Paul Goldschmidt on TV tonight, respect his dominance, recognize his rising fame, and admire the clear and empty mind that leaves little else to search for.