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The Evan Gattis mythmaking continues

May 23, 2013, 8:55 AM EST

Minnesota Twins v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

So torn here. I love what Evan Gattis has done with the Braves so far. Highlight reel moments, power when it has been needed and he is a great story. But I almost wonder if he’s too great a story.

We cant’ seem to go a day without hearing some new Gattis-is-Kane-from-Kung-Fu tale. Stuff about him walking the Earth, smashing baseballs, dispensing wisdom, being legendary.  The latest, from Mark Bradley of the AJC, on a conversation between Fredi Gonzalez and Gattis in 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.”

That’s such a great story the day after he hits a big grand slam. But when, inevitably, he goes into an extended slump, it’s not gonna mean a lot.

Sorry if that makes me a killjoy. I just hate to see stories and myths and personas built up with respect to ballplayers. The game is gonna humble everyone at some point and all of the meaning in those stories is gonna evaporate pretty quickly. And it will cause unnecessary backlashes among certain kinds of fans and it’s all just so much noise about a person we really don’t know as well as the storytellers would have us think we do.

  1. digbysellers - May 23, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Not a killjoy, it’s just like you said…the game balances things out one way or another. For now let’s just enjoy the ride cuz the dude can rake .

    • Old Gator - May 23, 2013 at 9:32 AM

      Remind me to call him in October to clean up my lawn.

      • gmagic9044 - May 23, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        I bet if you act early enough, you could get your Feesh or their grounds crew and get an early start on that lawn work.

      • Old Gator - May 23, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        Are you kidding? When the last game of the season ends these guys are going to want to get as far away from here as they can, as fast as they can.

    • tuberippin - May 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      It’s funny because by talking about it, the legends get promoted even more.

      I wasn’t even aware of this Gattis dreamweaving until I saw this post. Consider me another fan of El Oso Blanco ahora.

  2. paperlions - May 23, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    That really doesn’t seem like something a humble guy like Gattis would say, does it? I mean, if the AJC says he said it, he must have (I guess)….but it is a pretty douchey thing to say….can you imagine how that would have played if Bryce Harper said that in spring training 2012….the arrogance!

    • bobulated - May 23, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      IMHO there is a huge difference in telling your manager in private that you can help the team win and truly believe you are part of the solution.
      Now if he had said to one of the beat guys, “If they care about winning, they need me on this team.”, that would have been an entirely different thing.
      Also when you watch these highlights you can see his teammates are genuinely happy for him and truly like him; he doesn’t just get “atta boy” high fives, he gets hugs and screams of joy.

      • paperlions - May 23, 2013 at 9:27 AM

        I guess….just doesn’t seem like a thing a guy with 200 PAs above A-ball would say to his manager…nor does it seem like something Gattis would say. All that other stuff is both true and irrelevant to the quote or context. I am happy for the guy, you can see how much fun he is having and how much everyone is rooting for him…doesn’t change the oddness of the quote.

      • paperlions - May 23, 2013 at 9:56 AM

        To clarify, I could see Gattis saying, “I think I’m the best option at catcher for you right now”, or “I can help this team win” or something like that…but “If you care about winning, you need me on this team.”? Really?

        That seems completely out of Gattis’ character (arrogant and douchey).

    • skeleteeth - May 23, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      It’s a job interview essentially, ffs! What do you expect him to do, “Well, I guess I would be okay with making the team. I may do stuff. Do you like stuff? I do it sometimes. Muuh.”

  3. bigdinla - May 23, 2013 at 9:08 AM

    Or maybe he becomes the next great baseball player. It has not been all perfect for him. He has dealt with a slump and diminished playing time. It is okay to root for a genuinely good kid.

  4. DelawarePhilliesFan - May 23, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    Where’s your Gatitude?

    • heyblueyoustink - May 23, 2013 at 9:52 AM

      Ratta gat gat.

  5. Old Gator - May 23, 2013 at 9:11 AM

    Print the legend, Craig.

  6. frenchysplatediscipline - May 23, 2013 at 9:12 AM

    As a Braves fan I am also torn, but for a different reason.

    I love the story, I love the legend, blah blah blah.

    And his clutch hitting has been unparalleled this year.

    But McCann is my favorite player and has been since Smoltz left. Yes he has had some down years, but mostly due to injury. He also is one of the better framers in the game.

    I don’t see Gattis sticking around as a backup…

    • proudlycanadian - May 23, 2013 at 9:21 AM

      According to Aztec mythology, his slump will begin on May 27. It is written in the stars.

      • Old Gator - May 23, 2013 at 9:30 AM

        Not exactly. It hasn’t been written in the stars since the late 1300s. Fortunately, It is carved into second cycle on the lower left hand corner of the Great Calendar Stone – the one with the central image of Tonatiuh spitting out his last slurp of a Tropicana Field sno-cone.

      • professormaddog31 - May 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM

        OG – better a Tropicana sno cone than a Minute Maid Park one.

      • Old Gator - May 23, 2013 at 11:01 AM

        Damn it. If there was one joke I didn’t want to botch today, it was that one. But I always appreciate the correction, Prof.

  7. genericcommenter - May 23, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    I hope he keeps it, but I also hope he develops some other skills and pitchers don’t just figure him out and shut him down. I usually hate when people criticize players with statements like “All he does is hit home runs”- because, well, hitting a lot of home runs is a good freaking thing. However, it seems like all his value right now is based on hitting home runs and “clutch” timing. So if he goes into slumps where he is not hitting bombs, it’s probably going to be ugly. He’s riding a hot streak now, after slumping. If you look at his last 4 weeks, all his production is from his last 7 PAs. His OPS had dropped 200 points over the month. The previous 3 weeks he had 1 HR, 1BB, 13 SOs.

  8. deathmonkey41 - May 23, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    “The game is gonna humble everyone at some point and all of the meaning in those stories is gonna evaporate pretty quickly.”

    Tell that to Derek Jeter and the guy who makes his gift baskets.

  9. malbrecht4 - May 23, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    The Craig Calcaterra mythmaking [sic] continues. Sorry if that makes me a killjoy. I just hate to see stories and myths and personas built up with respect to sportswriters.

    • historiophiliac - May 23, 2013 at 9:57 AM

      Man, that was sooo close to being clever. It probably would’ve delivered better if you could drop it in response to a comment that said Craig’s post was really great or on one that already said it sucked. Also, if you subbed in “basement bloggers” for “sportswriters” that might have improved it too. As is, I give it a 6.

  10. sleepyirv - May 23, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Yeah, because the story of Mark Fidrych became super-boring when he got injured and stopped pitching. Myths are fun. They’re really fun with great players. And they’re fun with mediocre players.

  11. mississippimusicman - May 23, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    I really like the guy, but I hate watching Tom Hart interview him. It’s like Tom is just so eager to embarrass him by bringing up the janitor thing, or how he was broke in New York one time, or whatever. Evan Gattis is a grown man, and I know it would embarrass me if I did something awesome and all anyone wanted to talk about was me doing not-awesome things in the past.

    • professormaddog31 - May 23, 2013 at 10:11 AM

      He was a grown man with real problems, and that he’s actively striving to overcome those problems is great. But to continue to shove those problems in his face? Not great. Let the dude play baseball. The time for rehashing his entire life and all the issues he’s faced can come later.

    • historiophiliac - May 23, 2013 at 10:12 AM

      That’s the thing: once you open that door, it’s there forever.

  12. gpatrick15 - May 23, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Says the guy who’s been a key part of the Mike Trout mythmaking (rightfully so, the guy’s a beast!) since he came up last year.

  13. danieltheawesome - May 23, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Here is a man that made some bad choices in life, and paid the price for them.. The think that amazes me is that all around the world when some one goes from nothing to something in life there is never a shortage of people waiting to drag him back down to nothing. Evan Gattis is probably having the time of his life, making more money than he ever thought he would. Yet, here is another person trying to drag him into nothing.. There is nothing bad about him being confident… My GOD he’s earned it.

  14. mississippiguy - May 24, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    The legend continues…. Over the top? Sure. But this is awesome. Click on the radio clip below the video: http://mlb.si.com/2013/05/23/evan-gattis-braves-el-oso-blanco/

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