Paul Goldschmidt: Arizona Diamondbacks First Baseman

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Paul Goldschmidt
twitter.com/DBacks

No matter what happens, Paul Goldschmidt never loses his positive attitude. The 2014 season was a tough one for the Arizona Diamondbacks two-time Major League Baseball All-Star, who was sidelined in August and September with a hand injury. The team completed the season with the worst record in the MLB, and manager Kirk Gibson and bench coach Alan Trammell were fired this past Friday, leaving the team with a lot of re-building to do in the off-season.

Despite all the disappointments, Goldschmidt, who signed a five-year contract with the D-Backs last year, remains optimistic about his team. The 27-year-old Scottsdale resident, a Delaware native who grew up in the Houston area, talked about how he’ll be spending the off-season, why he’s passionate about giving back through charity, and what he likes to do for fun. Keep reading to watch Goldschmidt name his five favorite reasons for living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

Playing for the Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks drafted me in 2009 out of college (at Texas State). I was in the minor leagues, so I lived in Montana, California and Alabama.

Then, I got called up here to Phoenix and loved my two months in the season, and decided to stay out here with my wife and rent a place. I heard so many things about it and had so much fun in the off-season, we decided to stay here and make it home. Continue reading

Matt Winkler: Six-Time Arizona Table Tennis Champion

Matt Winkler, instructor at Table Tennis & More, photographed at his training facility in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Matt Winkler, instructor at Table Tennis & More, photographed at his training facility in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Matt Winkler
twitter.com/MattTtplayer23

Whether you’re looking to beat that guy in the office who just always seems to dominate the ping-pong table, are in need of a great workout, or really want impress your clan with your table tennis skills at your upcoming family reunion, Matt Winkler can help. The 29-year-old Phoenix resident is the best table tennis player in the state, with the highest table tennis rating and having won the state table tennis championship six times in a row. He even got to teach Phoenix Suns point guard Goran Dragic a thing or two this year for a video for Sprint, and he hopes to train more professional athletes to help them with their coordination. He also counts comedian Frank Caliendo as a client he regularly coaches.

The USA Table Tennis-certified national level coach ranks in the top 200 of United States-born men, and he has competed in tournaments in California, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Florida, including the US National Table Tennis Championships in Las Vegas every year, and the US Open Table Tennis Championships. He teaches through his business Table Tennis & More, founded by his dad.

See him in action at his next tournament, Sunday, July 27 at Phoenix Table Tennis Club, which is open to the public. Winkler explains why he’s passionate about ping-pong, as well as names his five favorite reasons for loving living in the Valley, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born and raised here. I went to Central High School and got a business management degree from ASU. Continue reading

Cody Ross: Arizona Diamondbacks Outfielder

Cody Ross, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Cody Ross, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder, photographed at Chase Field, by Nicki Escudero

Cody Ross
twitter.com/IAmCodyRoss

Cody Ross isn’t just one of the nicest guys in Major League Baseball. The Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder is also a Miley Cyrus fan. So much so, he walked out to her song “We Can’t Stop,” due to a recommendation by his good buddy, Atlanta Braves second baseman Dan Uggla. The song must have worked, because Ross goes into the All-Star break with hot hands, both in terms of hits and fielding. The 10-year veteran, who came to the Diamondbacks this year after being a free agent from the Boston Red Sox, won a World Series with the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and has become a Diamondbacks leader. He’s hit 25 RBIs, making him one of the most consistent players on the team — a characteristic he thinks is key for the Diamondbacks to a win a World Series this year. Keep reading for the 32-year-old Scottsdale resident’s outlook on the team, as well as to hear five reasons why he’s loved living in the Valley since buying a home in Arizona in 2005.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved here at the end of 2005. The weather in the off-season brought me here to work out and train. I fell in love with it and moved here. Continue reading

Wes Johnson: Phoenix Suns Forward

Wes Johnson
twitter.com/Suns

The first half of the Phoenix Suns season, fans didn’t see much of forward Wes Johnson, who came over to the team this year after being traded from the Minnesota Timberwolves as a first-round draft pick back in 2010. Since coach Lindsey Hunter took over though, the 25-year-old Scottsdale resident has moved into a pivotal starting position where he’s known just as much for his smile as he is his stellar 3-point shot. No matter what the score is, Johnson always seems to be having fun on the court, motivating his teammates with his energy and making big shots — including a buzzer shot in San Antonio in February that forced overtime that resulted in a Suns win. While he’s definitely a hustler while he’s playing, fans may be surprised to find out Johnson has a weakness for Krispy Kreme doughnuts and fashion by Alexander McQueen. Get to know Johnson better here, and keep reading to hear five reasons why he’s happy to call the Valley his home.

What brought you to Arizona?

I got traded here. I was very ecstatic I was coming. I knew it was beautiful weather and a great opportunity for me to come here and play. It’s been fun since I’ve been here. Continue reading

Vinnie Iñiguez: Professional Golfer

Vinnie Iñiguez, Phoenix professional golfer, photographed at ASU Karsten Golf Course, by Nicki Escudero

Vinnie Iñiguez, Phoenix professional golfer, photographed at ASU Karsten Golf Course, by Nicki Escudero

Vinnie Iñiguez
twitter.com/VinnieGolf

One of the Valley’s greatest characteristics is its golf courses, with lush holes that are playable year-round everywhere you turn. Vinnie Iñiguez, a 31-year-old Long Beach, Calif. native who has lived in the Valley for about the past 20 years, made golf his career more than 5 years ago, with the PGA Tour in his sights while calling ASU Karsten in Tempe his home course. Iñiguez has Bachelor’s degrees in accounting and agricultural business from Arizona State University and played golf for Phoenix College, and he is currently sponsored by PING, Pure Grips, and Triplex Training, among others. He shared his motivation to turn pro, along with why he loves living in the Valley, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

Family. My dad came out here for work. I’ve been out in the Valley for about 20 years. Continue reading