Jobu inducts a late member into the Rookie Spotlight Series. Meet Evan Gattis.
I’ve been wanting to write about Evan Gattis for two years now, but the amazing story of his journey to professional baseball has already been told very well, and I honestly didn’t expect him to make the Atlanta Braves roster until next season. One injury to Brian McCann later, and we might have ourselves a catching controversy in Hotlanta.
As if the Braves, who are 13-3, needed any more good news, right? Anyway, If you don’t know the Evan Gattis story, please read this article right now. Basically, Gattis, originally from Forney, Texas, was a superstar baseball player in high school. That earned him a scholarship to Texas A&M. The pressure, and prospects of failing, got to him and he started smoking weed and drinking to medicate the anxiety. Eventually his mother brought him to rehab and he would spend the better part of the next four months recovering. After a quick stint at Seminole State College, he got burned out, injured his knee and quit baseball all together. This was 2006.
That’s really where Gattis’ story begins. Sometimes people need to take a different road to get to where they’re going. As far as Major League Baseball is concerned, Gattis took the road far less traveled. Wikipedia titles this section of Gattis’ life as “Wandering.” I literally couldn’t say it better myself, so that’s why wiki gets the credit here. Gattis lived in Colorado (where his sister lived) for a while, working at a pizza parlor and as a ski lift operator. He then moved to Dallas with his brother and the two worked together as janitors. Apparently, Evan met a spiritual advisor there and soon followed her to New Mexico, where he lived in a Hostel. After moving to California and then Wyoming (where he worked at Yellowstone), he finally felt the calling to go back to baseball.
Thank God for family! Evan’s story seems to be shaped by his family, and it was his step-brother that connected him to the baseball coach for the University of Texas of the Permian Basin (UTPB). The coach, who was coaching Gattis’ step-brother, remembered Gattis’ high school accomplishments and offered him a spot on the team. The rest is history.
As I mentioned before, Gattis made the Braves after a strong spring and an injury to McCann. To say that he has taken full advantage of the opportunity would be an understatement. Originally expected to share catching duties with Gerald Laird, Gattis has made it nearly impossible for the Braves to keep his bat out of the lineup with the start he’s gotten off to. He homered in his second big league at bat (while his dad was being interviewed for TV no less… watch the video above), and has gone on to hit .261/..314/.630 with 5 homers and 12 RBI in ten games since. The Braves have even begun playing him at other positions to keep his bat in the lineup.
It will be interesting to see what happens when McCann comes back, but I think the Braves might have found their future catcher. For now, let’s hope Evan keeps mashing.
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