Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/20/14

Gattis during his janitorial days. His story started with a bang, literally, homering off the Phillie’s Roy Halladay in his first major league at-bat. Talk about a dream come true, crushing a Doc Halladay pitch over the outfield wall in your first at-bat. Whoa. The homerun ball was caught by a young man wearing a Texas A&M shirt. The irony was not lost on Evan Gattis. From a drug addicted college drop-out (No wait, that’s not right, he can’t drop out if he never showed up to A&M to fulfill his part of a baseball scholarship can he?) to a cook, janitor, ski-lift operator and God knows what else in between, Gattis has lived a lifetime in 26 years. When the rookie steps to the plate at Turner Field in Atlanta, chants of “El Oso Blanco” echo through the stadium. He earned the nickname, which translates to “The White Bear”, while obliterating baseballs in the Mexican winter league. Sometimes, if you look hard enough, you can find bear-shaped hats sprinkled throughout the stands. He’s a fan favorite and marketing department’s dream. Can you say ­cha-ching? The Braves can. El Oso batted .281 with 12 homeruns and 32 RBI through June 1st. Outstanding numbers for a rookie not many thought would make the club out of spring training. He saw a lot of playing time in April as Brian McCann, the Braves staple behind home plate, was recovering from shoulder surgery. When McCann returned from the DL in May, Gattis was relegated to back-up status, but continued to flourish in a part-time role as a utility outfielder and backup catcher. He has had his fair share of big moments as he leads the league with four pinch-hit homeruns. For a while the guy had a penchant for the big moment berating the field with game winning shots. Then, as is always the case with young hitters, pitchers adjusted while Gattis did not. The catcher has a low crouching stance making it hard to make contact against pitches up and inside. Unfortunately, he also has trouble laying off said pitches. Pitchers have worked this zone hard since June. Gattis has hit just .188 with three homers and 15 RBIs in June, July and August combined. His batting average stands at just .139 since August 1st. Rut-roh! Not good for a guy expected to replace McCann if the Braves can’t re-sign him in the offseason. Plate discipline would definitely help at this point. Laying off pitches you’ve always been able to crush is easier said than done, but Gattis has to do it, or else he may not stick with any big league club much longer. His story is much too good to end now. If El Oso’s life were a movie, hopefully this is the climactic point where he bust out of the three month slump with a barrage of dingers over the left field seats, shattering a scoreboard light or two. Gattis has the talent to succeed, he has shown that. Now, he must prove he can make the necessary adjustments as pitchers have done to him. He has an innovative hitting coach in Greg Walker and he’s been through worse . . . much, much worse. But for the Braves, with mounting injuries and a host of hungry playoffs team waiting for them come October, the sooner the better.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Alex Smith out week 17 with lacerated spleen

Belichick: Garoppolo has better understanding of NFL

Lionel Hollins: 'Honored and blessed to coach Kevin Garnett'

Curt Schilling gives Johnny Manziel advice on Twitter

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Andre Johnson willing to take pay cut with Texans?

Mets star David Wright reaches out to sons of slain NYPD officer

Panthers coach replaces break-in victims’ Christmas presents

Bruce Arians benches Logan Thomas on Christmas Day

Richard Sherman: Marshawn Lynch having MVP season

Curt Schilling tweeted advice to Johnny Manziel

The story of Morgan Bulkeley and birth of National League

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things the world learned about the NBA on Christmas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

The year’s 10 most notable sports media stories

'Roberto' Gronkowski wishes Pats fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

WATCH: LeBron gets standing ovation from Heat fans in return

15 defunct bowls that leave the holidays feeling empty

Should the NFL's playoff seeding system change?

WATCH: Kenny Smith pushes Shaq into a Christmas tree

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.

Five breakout stars in 2014

The 2014 NFL All-Help Offense

Five things learned about NBA on X-Mas

What if Bear Bryant coached in the NFL?

Carmelo Anthony: The Knicks are dying

The last time the Lions won in Green Bay

Year's most notable sports media stories

'Roberto Gronkowski wishes fans Feliz Navidad

Are the Seahawks back on track?

Wright reaches out to slain officer's sons

Q&A with Rich Eisen; TNF, DirecTV and living in LA

Dan Le Batard sums up Miami's relationship with LeBron

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.