Examining what's behind troubled former Astros' social media comments
Late Monday night in the Year of Our Lord 2023 former Astros slugger Evan Gattis went on Twitter and confessed in detail, on behalf of himself and the entire team, that the Astros cheated to win the 2017 World Series. He also copped to using steroids during his career.
The night was still young, time for one more bad decision. “@BulldogBeing” practically invited his 120,000 Twitter followers to an “Ask Me Anything” session. Among other mea culpas:
“I remember knowing what was coming against (Clayton) Kershaw.” Gattis got a hit off the Dodger ace in Game 5 of the 2017 World Series.
“As a team we swung and missed a handful of times only against him.” Kershaw gave up six runs over 4-2/3 innings that game. He threw 94 pitches. He struck out only two batters. The Astros swung and missed only four pitches.
“The craziest thing about the cheating year is facing a guy like Yu Darvish and getting shut out knowing what’s coming.”
He answered one follower who flat out asked, “So you knew what pitch from C.C. Sabathia was coming in Game 7 (when Gattis homered in the 2017 ALCS)?”
In a word: “Yes.”
As Duane “The Rock” Johnson would say, why in the blue hell would Gattis suddenly decide to cleanse his conscience over an incident from six years ago which has been adjudicated, punishments meted out, dispatched to history, resurrected in a recent investigative book and redeemed by the Astros’ squeaky clean and convincing win in the 2022 World Series?
In baseball years, 2017 was a generation ago. The Astros dismissed their manager and general manager. The team lost two years of top draft picks. The Astros were fined MLB’s maximum $5 million. And they became national villains.
Many fans have expunged the Astros rap sheet as other teams’ dirty deeds have been unearthed. Bottom line: only one player who participated in the 2017 World Series is on the Astros active roster today: third baseman Alex Bregman. Jose Altuve and Lance McCullers are on the injured list. The rest of the team is long gone, traded or out of baseball.
So why did Gattis do what he did Monday night? Did he just momentarily go a little wacky? Has he been carrying a guilty heart all these years and it was time to unload? Is he angry about the way his career ended? Have the Astros done something to upset him?
Never underestimate “wacky.” Gattis later admitted on Twitter, “Aaaaaand it turns out that I say stupid stuff from time to time. Nite (laughing emoji)”
But it could be more. James Evan Gattis certainly had an interesting big league career. He played for the Atlanta Braves from 2013-14 and the Astros from 2015-18. He smacked 20 home runs in each of his two seasons in Atlanta before the Astros obtained Gattis in a trade for Mike Foltynewicz and Rio Ruiz. The Astros also landed pitcher James Hoyt in the deal.
His first two seasons in Houston, he belted 27 and 32 home runs and became a fan favorite with his mountain man appearance.
In 2015, Gattis, not exactly fleet of foot, inexplicably hit 11 triples, an astounding number in the modern game. He hit only one other 3-bagger his other five years in the league. That was weird.
Gattis earned nearly $17 million over his relatively short career, topping out $6.7 million for 2018, a disappointing season in which he batted only .226. That was a drop of nearly 40 points from the previous Astros World Series year.
Gattis became a free agent after the 2018 season and didn’t play again. He was only 31 at the time. He’s still only 36 years old. Maybe that’s it. But whatever, ease up on Twitter after dark.