Former professional baseball player Scott Hatteberg probably didn’t imagine soccer would be a huge part of his life. He probably also didn’t imagine he would have three daughters and no sons.
“I keep blaming wearing a cup for so long,” Hatteberg said, jokingly.
But he wouldn’t trade Lauren (18), Sophia (16) and Ella (12) for the world, he said. The former MLB catcher and first baseman, best known for his role on the Oakland Athletics in the early 2000s (immortalized in the 2011 film “Moneyball,” in which Chris Pratt played Hatteberg), moved to Gig Harbor with his family in 2002.
None of his daughters took to softball, preferring the faster pace of soccer.
“I was going to let them go wherever they wanted,” Hatteberg said.
Lauren was a captain for the varsity soccer team last fall, while Sophia also played on the varsity team.
“It’s been great,” Hatteberg said. “Soccer has been a big part of my world. It’s been so busy — it’s year-round. The (Gig Harbor High School) team has been awesome. The school part has been the best. I love watching them play. It’s good to be around it.”
Hatteberg, who grew up in Yakima and attended Washington State University, currently works as the special assistant to baseball operations for the Oakland Athletics, a job that includes coaching, player development and scouting. While he’s on the road often, he checks in on the Gig Harbor High baseball team when he has a chance.
The local baseball team — if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing — I definitely would be more involved with that part of it.
Scott Hatteberg, former MLB player
“I keep in touch with (Tides baseball coach) Pete Jansen as much as I can,” Hatteberg said. “I took a couple years off when I first retired. I tried to get out and work with the team. The local baseball team — if I wasn’t doing what I’m doing — I definitely would be more involved with that part of it. I’ve seen these kids develop. That’s part of it. I’ll sneak out and throw a BP or come to a few practices and games.”
He likes what he sees from this year’s team. In particular, UCLA commit and professional prospect Mike Toglia, who Hatteberg has seen various scouts taking a notice of.
“He’s a great package that has a lot of projection,” Hatteberg said. “In the scouting world, ‘projection’ is a great word. He’s a switch hitter and he’s grown like bamboo in the last three years. He hasn’t been a guy that you’ve known for a long time. He swings it really smooth from both sides, hits for average and power. He’s an athletic kid with the chance to even get bigger. He checks off a lot of boxes that are required of a major leaguer.”
Hatteberg plans to stay in current role until with the A’s until his two youngest girls graduate high school. After that, he might be open to exploring some coaching possibilities, although he said he isn’t sure which level he’d like to pursue.
“When the time comes, I’ll figure that out,” Hatteberg said. “I would love to coach the high school team. I see myself being involved in baseball in whatever capacity, as long as I’m still breathing. I can’t imagine not. The pro level is also intriguing. I’ve had several offers to do that. I’m not committed yet. The fun thing might be to stay home and coach high school. But I’m a ways from that right now.”
Hatteberg was originally supposed to star as himself in the film.
“Brad Pitt was going to be the only actor,” Hatteberg said. “Everyone was going to play themselves. We were down in LA for about a week, about ready to shoot. And about 10 hours before the shoot, Sony pulled the plug.”
Hatteberg realizes now that it was probably a blessing.
“Thank the Lord, I think,” he said with a laugh.
Actor Chris Pratt, also known for his roles in the sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Jurassic World,” ended up playing Hatteberg in the 2011 film.
“That was weird, seeing myself portrayed by someone else,” Hatteberg said. “It turned out to be a much better product.”
“Moneyball,” based on the Michael Lewis book by the same name, focuses on the analytics side of baseball. Hatteberg was valued by the Athletics because of his ability to get on base.
It would’ve been neat to play now. The things I did as a player would’ve been valued more now.
“I find it interesting that the game is going in this direction,” Hatteberg said. “It would’ve been neat to play now. The things I did as a player would’ve been valued more now. That would’ve been cool. I didn’t realize I was doing something different as a player.”
The film’s most memorable moment was the defining moment of Hatterberg’s career, on September 4, 2002. With a historic 19-game winning streak on the line against the Kansas City Royals, the A’s had blown an 11-0 lead and were tied at 11. Hatteberg pinch-hit and drove a 1-0 pitch over the right center field wall for a walk-off home run to give the A’s a 12-11 win and an American League record 20-game winning streak.
“I think the ball went to Cooperstown,” Hatteberg said. “I still have one of the bases.”
Hatteberg says people still come up to him and ask him about “Moneyball.” He’s happy to chat with them about the movie and his career.
While his daughters didn’t follow his footsteps into baseball/softball, his oldest, Lauren, is at least following his path to Washington State University.
“It’s weird,” Hatteberg said. “I can’t believe we’ve come to this point. She’s ready, I think, and I think we’re ready for her to go. She’s grown up. It’s hard to believe. I’m going to love visiting.”