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An Interview with Paul Goldschmidt - Courtesy of Chef’s Cut

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This week’s Bard’s Take is being pre-empted for a candid interview with the Snake Pit’s favorite first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt. Thanks to Chef’s Cut’s publicity drive, the Snake Pit was granted the chance to enjoy a rare opportunity to speak with one of the team’s brightest stars.

Chef’s Cut Real Jerky, the fastest-growing jerky brand, today announced a partnership with Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt will be instrumental in helping to increase awareness for the brand in Arizona and across the country. Chef’s Cut Real Jerky has become a favorite of professional athletes because of its high protein content, high quality ingredients and chef crafted flavors. Goldschmidt joins David Ortiz, Von Miller, Kyle Reifers and others as partners in investors in Chef’s Cut Real Jerky.

Goldschmidt, who is off to a tremendous start to the season, has been incorporating Chef’s Cut into his diet since spring training.

“I am very conscious of what I put in my body, and I am committed to eating healthy, high quality foods,” said Goldschmidt. “That’s why Chef’s Cut has become an important part of my diet. It’s packed with protein, uses the highest quality ingredients and is super easy to throw in my bag and snack on between innings.”

As part of the partnership, which will make Goldschmidt an equity investor in the brand, he also will be showcased in local in-store and external advertising campaigns, featured in digital and social media activations, appear at local events and help to generate awareness for the brand throughout the country.

As part of the promotional work being done for Chef’s Cut, I was privileged to get some time to speak one-on-one with Paul Goldschmidt yesterday about life, baseball, and of course, Chef’s Cut Real Jerky.

The Diamondbacks have seen plenty of big-time additions since the end of last season. Greinke and Clippard were brought in via FA and the trades for Miller and Segura also brought in name talent. That said, none of that compares to bringing your own talent into the world. How is your little Jake doing, and how does it feel being a father now?

Hah! With the way things started, I didn’t think this is what you were going to ask. It’s been awesome. We are really enjoying it. Things really worked out with becoming a dad in September of last year. It kind of gave me the whole offseason in order to get my feet wet getting to spend my time with family rather than some guys who are having kids during Spring Training that turn around and have to go right back to work. So I was spoiled with that. He’s doing awesome. Amy’s doing a great job of raising him and taking care of him, being an amazing mom. I get to play with him and be the fun dad that plays with him before I have to head off to the ballpark.

The baseball season demands a lot of time and dedication, are you looking forward to November when you’ll be able to spend some more time with Jake?

It’s definitely a balancing act. You enjoy the season and the competitiveness, but then you look forward to the offseason for more family time and relaxation. It’s almost like two different lives because you are on such a busy schedule during the baseball season. But right now, mid-season, I just worry about baseball and make sure I prepare and not look too far ahead. Once the season is over though, I will definitely be excited to have more time I get to spend with family and friends.

Is it too early to sign him to the Diamondbacks? We need to restock that farm system and I hear Jake has some fine baseball pedigree in his blood.

Laughs. We’ll see. Who knows what he’ll want to do? Honestly I’d love it if he goes out for sports, but if he opts for something else then that’s his decision.

In 2013 you headed off to your first All-Star Game. This season marked the fourth year in a row you were selected to go to the summer classic. How does it feel now, going as an all-star veteran, than it did the first time?

It’s kind of funny showing up and having a routine down already. Going four years in a row, now I know how the routine works and how the schedule works and I know a lot of the guys. To be honest I never expected to go to one All-Star Game, much less four in a row. I’ve definitely enjoyed them all, but now it is a little more calming as opposed to the first year and all the craziness with trying to figure everything out. You never know if it is going to be your last one or your only one, so especially the first and second one it was about making sure I had all my family there. Now it’s a bit more relaxing, it’s about making sure I share the time with my wife and my son and a couple others there. I’ve definitely enjoyed it. They’ve all been a lot of fun and I have enjoyed them all, and I hope to go to more and to play well, but I’m not taking any of them for granted.

You came up in 2011 and made something of an impact on a team bound for the playoffs. Then you had a breakout season in 2012 before coming out and setting the world on fire in 2013. Last season Jake Lamb came up and made a strong impression. Now he is having his own breakout season. What’s it watching someone else come along in somewhat the same way you did?

It’s awesome. It’s a lot of fun to watch him play. I can’t even explain how impressed I am and how proud I am of him. He’s been putting in a lot of work. I think a lot of fans just see him go out there and play, and they don’t see all the behind the scenes stuff, the conversations he has with the coaches and players or the way he is working in the batting cage and the video room. He works so hard. He is an unbelievable teammate who works hard and who cares. I’m sure his success is gratifying for him, but being a teammate, it is also gratifying for me to see all of his hard work pay off. He definitely deserves all the success and I am happy for him. Obviously it is great for the team. It is great to see him play and he makes everyone better. I talk to him about hitting, he makes me better, he makes other teammates better. He’s a really smart and unselfish player. He’s just everything you would really want in a baseball player.

Sometimes there is friendly rivalry among starting pitchers to one-up each other, do you have any sort of friendly rivalry with Jake Lamb?

It’s more like you just want to do your part, but when you see a guy like Jake having good at-bats every day and not chasing pitches out of the zone, then it’s like “Alright, he’s doing his part, I want to do mine.” So it isn’t really a rivalry or anything like that, but when you see a player playing like that, playing well, it can really motivate teammates to do the same thing and to hold themselves to that high standard.

Speaking of teammates, as a player on the field, what is it like getting to watch Nick Ahmed play defense?

It’s really, really impressive and he makes it look way too easy. I’m jealous of how good he is. But I think with him it’s he makes some spectacular, extremely hard plays look routine and he just does it so effortlessly. But, kind of like what we talked about with Lamb, I’ve seen all the work he puts in. In Spring Training, before games every day, there is studying that goes into defense just as much as hitting and he’s always talking about it and looking for ways to get better. He’s a guy that isn’t just naturally talented, but has had to work hard to get to the success he’s had. That’s awesome, seeing those other types of guys to cheer for.

Since your arrival in 2011 those that have been paying attention have seen the league try to adjust to you as a batter and have also seen you make your own adjustments. What are some of the bigger changes you have made since your rookie season?

I don’t think there have been any big changes. I’m still pretty much dong the same thing I did when I first got called up. I think the biggest thing is just the experience. There’s how pitchers are going to attack you and then how you are going to adjust and it’s not a wholesale change, it’s just them seeing something they can attack and you just trying to make the adjustments to try and be one step ahead of them. But then they make adjustments too. I believe you can’t always just hit the same way. There’s no making wholesale changes, but just minor things, maybe they are making a certain pitch or attacking a certain part of the zone and it’s a matter of how to stop that, and once you start hitting those pitches, they’re definitely going to try something different. It’s just experience. I’m sure it can be frustrating for fans when they see guys not playing well, but that experience they are getting, you can’t go without it. You can’t just come up to the big leagues and be an unbelievable player, that experience is going to get you better and that just takes time.

Did any specific coach or mentor stand out in helping you get the most out of your efforts?

How much time do you have? I could name so many people. I haven’t had any of my success on my own. I haven’t made up any new ways to hit, I’ve taken it all from other guys - coaches and other players. I had Alan Zinter for a year in AA and in High-A and my time in instructional league the year before, so we became real close and still are. He’s the hitting coach with the Padres now. He taught me a lot. We would talk every game and between every at-bat. I learned so much from him, especially in the minor leagues. In the big leagues, probably Turner Ward. He was here for three years, plus he was my manager in AA, he’s had a huge impact on my career, both hitting and also defense and just my life in general. But for when I first got called up I think the credit really goes to the veterans that were on the team. We just had so many veterans and they were able to teach me things that maybe they didn’t learn until later on and I just got to learn those things right away. It really helped me have success. For the first couple years of my career, that has put me a little bit ahead of the learning curve and that’s been huge for me.

Speaking of coaches, I’ve read you spend time each week with Peter Crone, a mental skills coach. How has this helped your game?

He was on the staff when I was first called up. We’ve really been working together a lot last year and this year as well, away from what he just does for the team because I thought he was that good. He helps me to understand the way my thoughts are working. He’s not ever trying to change a person, which I think is really good because you are who you are. He just gets you to understand that if you have some fear about the future or the past, he just gets you to understand where that’s coming from. He puts you in the right frame of mind I think is the biggest thing. He finds a way to just get you happy and confident and just enjoying baseball and life and when you are in a better mood and you are confident, you are going to play better.

How did you get involved with Chef’s Cut and why have you decided to get on board with them?

I got introduced to Chef’s Cut during Spring Training, just trying to find a food that will fit with the diet I am trying to keep. Once I started doing some research, I realized it was just as the name says - Chef’s Cut. It is created by chefs with really high quality meat and ingredients. It also turned out it was a really healthy option as far as the high protein content goes. All that along with the taste, it’s tender and I think the best one out there. Since I was eating it and it’s a brand I liked, I got introduced to the people at Chef’s Cut and we were able to come to a partnership and it has really worked out. They’re doing some really great things.

It sounds like this would be a healthy snack for you while you are training.

Yeah it is. It was great in the offseason and then in Spring Training. Now during the season where sometimes you can’t really have a full meal or you need something to kind of get you going for the next couple hours until the game is over, it can also get you through a workout or after a workout it. During the season it’s a lot of smaller meals. Being able to supplement that with great protein and something that tastes good as well, that’s just great.

Chef’s Cut Real Jerky is currently available at select local retailers, including Safeway, AM/PM, Fry’s Food and Drug, as well as online at www.chefscutrealjerky.com and Amazon.com.