Several weeks ago, in one of my award-winning Watch This pieces (it received Best New Artist at last weekend’s Billboard Music Awards), I commented on how Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis was my favorite story of the 2013 Major League Baseball season thus far. Gattis was brought on by the BARVES as a potential fill-in at catcher while Brian McCann recovered from his offseason shoulder injury, and he turned out to be a very wise investment.
While Gattis’ numbers trailed off – he’s currently batting .256 with 10 home runs – and he found a seat on the bench in the wake of McCann’s return, he still has three homers in the last seven days. So it’s because of that unexpected, raw power and the fact that he was working as a janitor before the Braves called him that people still enjoy talking about him.
Take, for instance, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which ran a story Wednesday about Gattis’ concerns that he wasn’t going to make the team during Spring Training.
The manager had sought to tell Gattis, who was on the brink of making the Atlanta Braves’ 25-man roster, to relax. Whereupon Gattis said, “Do you want to win?”
Whereupon Gonzalez said he did. Whereupon Gattis said: “If you care about winning, you need me on this team.”
And that’s fun, because baseball needs those stories. They add to the almost-religious element of the sport, in that we love to build heroes as if they’re greater than mere mortals. You know, before they’re ultimately broken down and destroyed because they use drugs or act like major boners.
In the meantime, let’s keep enjoying Evan Gattis and especially “The Legend of El Oso Blanco”, which is Rob Jenners’ and 680 The Fan’s wonderful tribute to the man, the myth and the legend.