Paul Goldschmidt can exist in your life three ways. One, you only watch the Diamondbacks when they play your favorite team, or maybe you lost the clicker. You don't know anything about the team, except that they maybe play in an airplane hanger, and you don't know who is good or bad. To you, he's just another nondescript, below average player.
In the second way you're a casual fan. You know some of the players and perhaps watch the occasional game. You definitely know Goldschmidt's name, and he is absolutely infuriating. "Isn't he supposed to be an All-Star," you think, "or at least a God-Emperor? Doesn't he know how to baseball?"
The third way is the worst, because you're hardcore fan of the D-backs, follow them everyday, and die with them everyday. You've watched seemingly a hundred games where he goes 0-4, or maybe only hits a single. You're a fan of the Diamondbacks, but part of you hopes he doesn't do well just so the mystique of Paul Goldschmidt goes away. Maybe if he hits .200 for a couple months we can finally go back to having a Xavier Nady or Mark Trumbo type player at first base.
Goldschmidt is often so bad at baseball he doesn't get a single hit. He's faced Ronaldo Belisario 11 times, with only one walk to show for it. His career batting average is .300, which means 700 of the 1000 times he's at bat he fails to get a hit. That's bad!
He's had 21 errors in his 5 seasons in the majors. That's 21 times he's booted routine defensive plays. Dickson's Baseball Dictionary defines an error as "a misplay on the part of the defensive team that prolongs the time at of aa batter or the life of a baserunner." That's also not good!
Goldschmidt's play is often so poor that people watching scream at their TVs, or write 140 word screeds on the Twitters, wondering why Chip Hale continues to run out a guy who doesn't hit a home run every at-bat, or can't even play defense well enough to not make any misplays. The answer is right there, though, if they'd just take the time to think about it.
Paul Goldschmidt is a big time player who makes big time plays.
Modern baseball players are about getting on base, hitting a ton, playing exciting defense, and not being a first baseman. All of the top players fit this bill: Mike Trout, Miguel Cabrera, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey. They're balanced players who make the advanced analytics go crazy.
And then there are players like Paul Goldschmidt, a relic of a time gone by. No longer are players desired merely because they mash a bunch of homers, or play first base, or have great smiles. All the best run teams have smart, tactically drilled, do-everything players, and Goldschmidt sticks out like a sore thumb. You wonder how it's come to this, but there he is, out playing with people who actually know how to play baseball.
The difference between Goldschmidt and these other players is astounding, but if you watch long enough the legend of Goldschmidt starts to make sense. Sure, he might only get a hit 3/10ths of the time, but man if he doesn't come up big when it matters.
It seems like every time the Diamondbacks need a little something extra, or a clutch hit, he's there to deliver. The list of pitchers he's traumatized is too long for this article, but even Tim Lincecum in his prime was no match.
And that ultimately is why Paul Goldschmidt is so weird: most of the time he's not doing anything, maybe just hitting into a routine out or just hanging out at first base, but then he turns it on when it matters and BAM. Diamondbacks win. There is literally not comp for this type of player, because there is literally no other player that has ever done this, especially in baseball.
Isn't it weird that a player would have a lot of mundane moments punctuated by moments of pure exhilaration? I've literally never seen that, have you???