Carlos Gonzalez didn't have toys as a kid.
There was a perfectly good reason.
"I never liked playing with them. I would toss them up in the air and hit them all the time," recalled Gonzalez, motioning his arm at how the little cars would break into pieces.
Growing up in Maracaibo, Venezuela, Gonzalez was a thief. When he went to the homes of relatives, he would scurry away to the kitchen or a back closet.
"I would find the broom and unscrew it so I had a bat to hit stuff with," Gonzalez said. "I am telling you I always loved hitting. Since I was a little, little boy."
No kidding.
After the Rockies' game Sunday at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Gonzalez and his immediate family will join teammate Troy Tulowitzki on a charter flight to New York to attend the All-Star Game at Citi Field. CarGo will be flanked in the National League's starting outfield Tuesday night by Carlos Beltran and Bryce Harper, his league-best 25 home runs a statement of his power and presence.
"He's always been a great player. He's just not the skinny little guy anymore," said Rockies infielder Jonathan Herrea, who grew up facing Gonzalez in Little League games in Venezuela. "He can do anything."
This season, Gonzalez hit a ball during batting practice into the second deck at Nationals Park in Washington, the land zoned off by the local city council for Harper's batting practice souvenirs. CarGo hit three home runs in Cincinnati, nearly launching one seat-seeking missile out of the stadium and into Kentucky. These moments are unremarkable for those who knew him in Venezuela or saw him when he signed with the Diamondbacks for $200,000.
What makes this season different is that CarGo, at age 27, continues to get better. He has evolved as a player, as a person, leaving him threatening to post numbers not seen in Denver since the humidor was installed at Coors Field in 2002.