Once in a while, there is an inspiring story about someone in sports, about a nice guy who has struggled with inner demons but triumphs and makes it into Major League Baseball. Meet Evan Gattis, known as "El Oso Blanco", the White Bear, the nickname he received when he played baseball in Venezuela....
Evan Gattis won a baseball scholarship to Texas A&M but never showed up. He went through several years of drinking and drugs and just doing odd jobs ...as a valet, a ski lift operator, a janitor, and working in a pizza parlor until he heard the counselor and spritual adviser, Jeannie Zandi, while he was living in Dallas. (He bounced around from Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and California.)
Evan Gattis decided to go back to his love of baseball and played some great games in Venezuela. (He is 6'4" and weights 230 pounds, perhaps he looks a bit like a bear when he runs around the bases?) In April of 2013, he played his first game as an Atlanta Brave and he homered on his first at bat! Since then, he has been a delight to watch. He has homered 14 times in 53 at bats and he has hit many of them as a pinch hitter straight off the bench. My Dad loves to watch him...this is what my Dad says about him, "Just look at how he bats...no batting gloves, NOTHING, he just rubs his hands in the dirt and knocks that ball OUT of there!! He plays ball the way they USED to play...I really like that!" (Most folks would say "old school" but my Dad would not use that expression!)
You get such a great feeling of JOY from watching Evan Gattis play baseball. He obviously went through some rough times before he made it to the Major Leagues and don't we all like the idea of cheering for the underdog?
Go Braves!! And hurry back, Evan Gattis!