Paul Goldschmidt, one of the longest-tenured players in Arizona Diamondbacks history, was sent out of town Tuesday when the Arizona Diamondbacks decided to trade him to St. Louis in exchange for three players and a draft pick.
The Valley's longest-tenured active athlete had a strong reaction to the deal.
"I was bummed," Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said Wednesday, adding he texted Goldschmidt after he heard the news.
"I was like, 'Man, tell me it's not so.' He was like, 'Yeah, man. I'm sad to be going.' But he's going to a great organization, a championship organization in the Cardinals. They’ve run that division for a long time. Before the Cubs got good, they were really a shoo-in for the playoffs. They’ve done a great job over the years, and I know he’s going to fit right in with them."
Fitzgerald said he knows Goldschmidt "very well" and considers him a friend. He said Goldy will be missed, both on the baseball field and in the community.
"He’s a wonderful person, man. He’s a great ambassador to this community and a wonderful ambassador to the Diamondbacks for a very long time," Fitzgerald said.
"I’m going to miss him personally, having the chance to go see him at Spring Training and talk to him all the time, and beat up on him on the golf course. He’s terrible out there," he joked. "That’s going to be big shoes to fill there, trying to fill his. But I’m happy he’s going to get a new deal, though. It’ll be nice to see him get that nine-figure deal."
Other than former Coyotes captain Shane Doan, Fitzgerald has spent more consecutive seasons as a pro in the Valley than any other athlete. On Wednesday, he was asked why it's been important for him to stick with one team throughout his 15-year NFL career.
Here are those who have played 10+ seasons with AZ teams pic.twitter.com/eyjK4TmtLl
— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) December 6, 2018
"I never really looked at it like that," he said. "It’s just where I started. I kind of appreciate being part of the foundation of something. When I got in the league, there was not a lot of respect for the Cardinals."
Fitzgerald said he watched players like Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks turn an awful Tampa Bay Buccaneers team into a respected franchise, and he saw the opportunity to do the same in Arizona.
"I remember when I was drafted here, and Darnell (Dockett) and Karlos (Dansby) and Antonio Smith -- we were like, Man, we want to change the narrative here," he said. "That’s always been the mindset I’ve had. Why not do it where you started?"
Fitzgerald, however, has had multiple opportunities to leave the Cardinals and try to chase that elusive Super Bowl ring. On Wednesday, he was asked whether he's ever been tempted to do that.
"(The NFL is) not like basketball. You know hell or high water, at the end of the season, Golden State’s going to be playing against the Houston Rockets. You can bet it. You know Boston’s probably coming to out of the East against Toronto. In the National Football League, you have no clue who’s going to win, who’s not going to win," he said. "That’s what makes football so fun. Every single game, you can get your hat handed to you.
"This is not tennis. This is not golf. This is not an individual sport. This is a team sport. It takes everybody collectively to be able to win. I’m not a quarterback. I don’t touch the ball every single snap. It’s not like I play a position where I can influence it at that level. Obviously I’m a big part of what a team can do, but I think my position is viewed a little bit differently when you’re assessing it purely off of championships."