Scott Hatteberg is a father, a husband, an avid fisherman and a Gig Harbor resident for the last 10 years. Now he's also a character in the upcoming Brad Pitt project, Moneyball, based on the book by Michael Lewis, which focuses around the 14-year MLB veteran's time with Major League Baseball's Oakland Athletics.
The movie depicts the years when A's general manager Billy Beane (played by Pitt) revolutionized the game with his emphasis on numbers instead of the naked eye.
Before flying down to Oakland for tonight's movie premiere in Oakland, Hatteberg spoke with Patch on Friday and shared his thoughts on how he feels about the movie, his new role as a special assistant with the A's and why he loves Gig Harbor.
Moneyball hits theaters this Friday, Sept. 23. What involvement have you had in the film?
Well, it was actually two projects, because initially Steve Soderberg was directing it and he was having all the players play themselves. So round one, we were all down in L.A. doing the whole prep work with costumes and what not and at the last minute they pulled the plug on it. Something over the script details, so it got scrapped. And then it got picked back up and they changed directors and Aaron Sorkin wrote the script over and they got real actors this time.
Did you actually shoot any scenes in the first movie?
The first movie, they never shot, they never did anything. But this last picture, yes, I did go down and I was on set for a few days.
What was that like?
Oh, it was crazy. I’m a movie fan and I’ve never been behind the scenes, so it was pretty cool just to see how big a project and how they go about doing it.
Actor Chris Pratt portrayed you in the movie. How does it feel to see someone playing you as a character?
I don’t know if I’ve fully absorbed it yet, it's really weird. It’s hard to describe. I can’t really put my finger on it, but it’s definitely weird. You never know how you would be portrayed, but the guy who is playing me, he’s really got my mannerisms down. My kids were kind of amazed at how he looked and acted like me, so kudos to him, he did a good job.
Overall, even when the book came out, did the attention put on that book and the fact that you play a significant role in it, did that change your life in any significant way?
It didn’t change my life. I became a part of a change in the steeped history of baseball. Baseball is very much traditionalist and a lot of things don’t get changed in it and this is kind of a turning point in the history of baseball and I’m kind of a part of that in a roundabout way, so that’s kind of cool.
Do you think Brad Pitt is an appropriate fit to play Billy Beane?
I think he’s really good. They don’t look completely alike, but he nailed it. I thought he did a great job. Billy’s an interesting, interesting character and I can see the draw for a guy like Brad Pitt, a real, real accomplished actor to want to sink his teeth into it, because it is such a dynamic character.
So have you seen the movie yet?
I have, I’ve seen an earlier version of it, I don’t know if I’ve seen the final version of it, but I have seen it.
What’s your take on it?
I really enjoyed it. I’m a movie guy, like I said, but I’m also part of the story so maybe I’m biased, but I thought that they did a great job. I thought it was really, really interesting.
What are you doing nowadays with the A’s?
I’m a special assistant to the A’s, so I do kind of a mixed bag of things. I do mainly a lot of scouting. I do some instruction, but most of my working has been revolved around scouting.
What areas do you do scouting in?
I’ve done pro and amateur, both sides. But, you know, leading up to the amateur draft, I do a lot of amateur work, and then I’ll pick a few of the professional teams and do stuff like that.
Are you doing old school scouting, like going to games, or is this more of a sabermetric thing?
I go to games, especially for the amateur stuff. If there’s certain guys that we’re thinking about in the top spots, I’ll go in and check them out and write reports on them.
Is that something you thought you wanted to do while you were still playing?
Well, Billy’s always been open and forthcoming with having me come aboard after I was done playing and really exposed me to different aspects of the games. After I was done playing, I took a year or two off and then you kind of get the itch to get back involved and I called him and he really just let me explore the different aspects of it. He showed me the front-office side.
What is it about scouting that appeals to you?
It’s something you kind of do as a player, but in a different way. You’re always evaluating and trying to figure out how to get an edge on a pitcher or a hitter or whatever, but you’re thinking about it right now. What is this guy going to do to me now? Now I’m predicting what they’re going to do five years from now. It’s a part of the game I enjoyed when I was playing and now I enjoy it just as much thinking about it in a different, scouting kind of capacity, It’s interesting and I think it’s the mental part that I’ve always gravitated towards.
Finally, what made you choose to live in Gig Harbor?
My wife (Bitsy) is from Tacoma and we met in college (at Washington State University) and we bounced around a little bit while I was playing, but I fell in love with this area out here.
What about the area made you fall in love with it?
I love the crab. I love fishing. I do a lot of crabbing and I just enjoy the Sound. It’s just peaceful, a great area, a great outdoors area.
Moneyball opens in theaters, including Gig Harbor's , on Friday, Sept.23.