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Q&A with Scott Hatteberg

Washington State Alumnus, Major Leaguer and now Gig Harbor resident

By Marguerite Cleveland

Scott Hatteberg started his baseball career at Washington State University playing catcher for the Cougars. His success led to a Major League Baseball career that spanned from 1995 to 2008. Today, he is most known for his role in the 2011 movie “Moneyball,” where he was played by Chris Pratt. His signing with the Oakland Athletics is portrayed in the movie, and he was signed because of his high on-base percentage and hitting ability. Because of an injury which affected his throwing ability, he had to convert from catcher to first baseman.

Q. What is your current profession since retiring from MLB Baseball?

A. I am the special assistant to Baseball Operations. Basically it’s one of those umbrella job titles that involves a range of duties. I spend most of spring training on the field as a coach, and then after that my focus turns to scouting for the MLB draft. Overall it’s kind of a hybrid gig, splitting time between front office and on-field stuff. Definitely keeps me busy. I helped coach the high school baseball team for a while after I retired and also ran some Little League clinics. But once I started back up on the pro side, I wasn’t able to find the time, just too much travel. Definitely hope one day to get back into the high school coaching scene.

Q. You are now a soccer dad with three daughters who play the sport. Looking back on the early days of your baseball career, who provided that support to you? Any new appreciation for them now that you are juggling three different calendars with your daughters, carpools, snacks, uniforms and all that entails?

A. My parents were by far my biggest supporters. They drove my brothers and I all over creation for sporting events. Now having three girls all deep into the club soccer world, it’s apparently payback. Carting them around has been a near full-time job. Not sure how my folks did it without Waze. I’d be lost. And unlike baseball, soccer games don’t get rained out. I’ve looked like an arctic explorer at some of these matches. Oh, and did I mention one of my kids also shows a horse? I will stop there; not sure I have the strength to explain that schedule.

Q. You hit one of the most storied homers in baseball on September 4, 2002, that gave the Oakland A’s a 12-11 win over Kansas City to land an American League Record—20 victories in a row. How did you handle the stress and pressure of a situation like that? Any life lessons from that experience?

A. Hitting that home run was definitely a huge thrill but, in the actual moment, it was the furthest thing from my mind. The guy I was facing had absolutely filthy stuff. Plus he was about as physically imposing as they get and, to make matters worse, threw nothing but 98 mph bowling-ball sinkers. Basically in my mind he was Darth Vader. So really the hardest thing becomes controlling the emotion and treating it like the thousands of at bats you’ve had prior. Once you’re able to get into that mindset you can then move onto game planning, which is where you need to be. And then, who knows? Maybe it all comes together and you are able to take Vader down Skywalker style.

Q. Gig Harbor is such a quaint small town. What drew you to settle there and raise your family?

A. My wife and I are both Northwest lifers. She grew up in Tacoma and I kind of bounced around Oregon and Washington as a kid. We knew we would land somewhere in those two states but weren’t sure where exactly. But once we ventured across the Narrows Bridge for the first time and explored the harbor, I knew it would be the perfect spot to raise a family. It’s a very cozy community, and the setting is absolutely gorgeous. It was an easy choice. Plus once you have the fish n’ chips at the Tides Tavern, you’ll never leave.

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