Tuesday night Evan Gattis came through again for the Braves, driving a Glenn Perkins slider into the left field seats with two out in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game, 4-4. Gattis has hit nine home runs this season, four have been tying or go-head shots in the eighth inning or later.
Whenever a player comes on the scene and has immediate success, we all want to know how and why it is happening, and everything about him. Typically when the onions are peeled back, the players end up being very similar. But that hasn’t been the case with Evan Gattis.
Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez, who seems to be as amazed and curious about Gattis as the rest of us, had a big smile and twinkle in his eyes as he talked about the former ski lift operator and janitor’s success after Tuesday night’s game. First, Gonzalez broke down Gattis’ swing.
“His swing is better than okay, “Gonzalez said. “There’s no toe tap or moving parts and it is a short swing and he’s looking to do one thing, put the ball in play. He’s just so darn strong that even if he doesn’t hit it right, it goes out of the park.”
Gattis’ unique life has been documented in many articles. Early in the season it seemed like there was a story a day about the travels and travails of the young Evan Gattis, and his search for karma and self-awareness. With his splendid accomplishments as an Atlanta Brave, the focus is turning more toward Gattis’ present, and less about his past.
Nonetheless, it is hard to forget where Gattis has been, and his long and curious path to Atlanta still seems to be a prominent part of the Evan Gattis conversation.
When asked if anything phases Gattis, Gonzalez brought down the house when he responded, “He spent three years living in a van, I don’t think a baseball game is going to phase him. We keep forgetting that he’s 26 years old and he’s lived a lot of stuff. He’s probably just having fun.”
Gattis is not only making an impact on the field, he is doing it in the clubhouse, too. His teammates smile and shake their heads when talking about the big Texan who is helping them win games, and doing it in style.
“I think the guys love him and he’s got a lot of energy and intensity there and it is just a good story,” Gonzalez said.
While Gattis has been a tremendous asset to Fredi Gonzalez so far this season, he also is putting pressure on Gonzalez to get him on the field more. The problem is that Gattis can play catcher, first base and left field. The same positions as Brian McCann, Freddie Freeman and Justin Upton. A fact not lost on Gonzalez.
“We’ve got to either figure out a way to get to the American League where we can play him more or for me to figure out a way to play him someplace,” Gonzalez said.