Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 4/19/13

Thursday’s game for the Atlanta Braves was full of plays that have made up the team’s season almost a month into the game: timely hits, a quality outing from the pitching staff, and balls flying out of the ballpark to help the Braves secure another victory, this one over the Pittsburgh Pirates by the final score of 6-4. Along with home runs from the Uptons and Chris Johnson came a blast in the 8th inning from catcher Evan Gattis, who stepped up from the bench to hit a go-ahead two run blast in his first career pinch hit, which would ultimately secure Atlanta’s thirteenth win in fifteen games so far this season. While one can argue that the credit for the Braves’ hot start to the season lies in the hands—or bat—of Justin Upton or in the excellent play of the team’s bullpen, you cannot discount how important Gattis has been to this team in the absence of perennial All-Star Brian McCann. The statistics for Gattis in twelve games are ridiculous, as the Dallas, Texas native currently holds a .279 batting average with 5 homeruns and 12 RBIs, placing him fifth, second, and second on the team in these categories, respectively. As if the fact that Gattis is just adjusting to playing in the Majors was not impressive enough, take one look at his past and you have the makings of a story that is too good to be true. Even if you have already heard the story of Evan Gattis, it is one that definitely does not get old. A talented ballplayer in Forney, Texas, Gattis seemed set on attending Texas A&M on a baseball scholarship in 2004 when his reliance on alcohol and drugs caught up with him. Instead of heading to College Station and becoming a hero on the diamond, Gattis found himself in rehab, which eventually led him to Prescott Arizona, where he went through three months of outpatient therapy in order to try and overcome his addictions. Gattis then tried to revive his baseball career at Seminole State College in Oklahoma later that year and eventually redshirted his freshman year, but a knee injury the following season left him on the sidelines and in a complacent state, which led to him deciding to quit the team. Now looking to just support himself, Gattis moved to Boulder, Colorado and looked to settle down, opting to take on jobs at a local pizza parlor as well as a ski resort. After close to seven months in Boulder, Gattis moved back to Dallas to take a janitorial position for Datamatics Global Services, where he had the chance to work with his brother. Evan’s ID from his janitor days, which is also his Twitter avatar Despite what some may think about the prospects of working as a janitor, it turned out to be exactly what Gattis needed, as he met a spiritual advisor that convinced him to move west to Taos, New Mexico, where he lived in a peaceful hostel and found work at another ski resort. Gattis was not done moving at this point, deciding after three months to head to California and “chill out”, as he told the AJC’s David O’Brien. It was during this time that Gattis got a familiar itch that had been a huge part of his life: not for alcohol or marijuana, but for baseball. Four years removed from his last game, Gattis was able to convince University of Texas-Permian Basin head coach Brian Reinke that he was worth a roster spot, and promptly proved it by finishing the season with a .403 batting average along with 11 homeruns. The Braves then decided to take Gattis in the 23rd round of the 2010 draft, which meant that he would have a long road ahead of him if he would ever reach the Majors. Instead of being discouraged by his late round selection status, Gattis instead chose to do all he could with what he had, but after a year of rookie ball in Danville his future still seemed cloudy. Upon the recommendation of Joe Breeden, a Braves minor league catching instructor, Gattis lost close to thirty pounds, which undoubtedly played a role in him being able to hit .322 for the Class-A Rome team, good enough for the South Atlantic League batting title. Coming off an impressive 2011 season in Rome, Gattis continued working his way up, spending time the Braves’ Gulf Coast team along with the Class-A-Advanced team in Lynchburg and the AA team in Mississippi. The end of the regular season in the minors did not mean the end of baseball for Gattis, as he then opted to play in the Venezuelan Winter League, where he hit .303 with 16 dingers and earned the nickname “El Oso Blanco”, Spanish for “The White Bear”. Now turning heads around the organization, the Braves invited Gattis to spring training for the 2013, where he batted .358. Impressed by his play, Atlanta decided to offer Gattis a spot on the Major League team’s roster, and the rest, they say, is history. The success of Evan Gattis is as inspiring as they come in sports (think Josh Hamilton without the high draft pick side of the story), and his continued success could ultimately lead to a major change in the Braves organization. While it is certainly far too early to declare Gattis as a proven MLB player, it is fairly possible that Gattis continues to impress upon the return of McCann, who is twenty-nine years old and coming off of what was undoubtedly his worst season in his fairly impressive career. Although McCann will probably play the bulk of 2013 upon his return—which is set to come approximately in the next 7-10 days—with Gattis playing in his place from time to time, the offseason could see the departure of the catcher who many consider the current face of the Braves due to his status as a free agent. It is definitely too early to make predictions on where Gattis and McCann will find themselves come 2014; it is, however, not too early to state that fans of baseball across the country have taken notice of Gattis, who is living proof that a detour in life does not necessarily mean you will not reach your intended path. Could Evan Gattis really send the pride of Duluth, Georgia packing? Is Evan Gattis a flash in the pan or the real deal? Leave a comment and let us know how you think the rest of the season will play out for “El Oso Blanco”

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cubs trade for Chapman a risk, but potential payoff too hard to ignore

White Sox fan wears a fantastic taped-up Chris Sale jersey

Wisconsin kicker will wear 27 to honor Nebraska's Sam Foltz

Dennis Schroder wears disguise to play in German streetball tournament

Browns indicate they will give Josh Gordon another chance

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Prince Fielder to undergo season-ending neck surgery

Eagles want Carson Wentz to be 'starter ready' Week 1

Report: 49ers concerned Anthony Davis will quit again

Did Manning hurt NFLPA's case in HGH investigations?

Report: Steinbrenner won't allow fire sale, wants to make playoffs

Report: Dion Waiters agrees to one-year deal with Heat

Dion Waiters' deal signals the end of the 2016 money grab

Tom Jackson could leave ESPN after almost three decades

Cavs sign coach Tyronn Lue to a five-year extension

More than 10,000 people registered for Jaguars Pokemon Go night

NFL issues new concussion protocol

Angels listening to offers on Hector Santiago

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

Kevin Durant’s OKC restaurant will be closed, rebranded

Lamar Odom said to be held back by one 'toxic friend'

Mario Balotelli crashes Liverpool fans' wedding

Michael Vick: I used to feel I was 'dominating too much'

WATCH: Astros, Rangers minor leaguers get into brawl

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker