Hatteberg eyes career as manager
By Marc Lancaster / Post staff reporter
Scott Hatteberg hasn't started a game behind the plate since 2001, but he hasn't lost his catcher's instincts.
Whether he's playing first base or on the bench, Hatteberg said he's "constantly" noticing this or that and relaying it along to whoever might be able to benefit from what he sees. It's an awareness bred from years of watching the entire field from a crouch, and one that has served many catchers before him well in their second careers as managers.
ESPN.com recently polled 60 players, managers, executives and coaches on which current players would make the best managers. The top four vote-getters were catchers - Jason Varitek, Brad Ausmus, Mike Matheny and Mike Redmond - and Hatteberg was the lone Reds player to receive votes.
He hadn't heard about the survey, but he said the urge to explore that track once his playing days are finished has been there for a while.
"I have thought about it," said Hatteberg. "I think it'd be incredibly interesting and fun. You spend so much time here (at the ballpark), and it'd be great to see that side of it. The only drawback for me is you spend so much time traveling (as a player), and it's even more time doing that."
Still, the appeal is there for the 36-year-old. Hatteberg is perhaps the most intellectual of the Reds, and has long been renowned as a "good clubhouse guy," a hard-working, leader-of-men type of player.
He wouldn't mind seeing how his personality translates to running a team.
"You know, you're the captain of the ship," Hatteberg said. "I always play manager in my head, and now you could actually do it."
Seeing a game from multiple angles comes naturally to catchers, who have far more to worry about during the average game than those at other positions.
"You kind of have to be aware of everything, you have to have knowledge of the pitchers," said Hatteberg. "I think if you play infield or outfield your whole career, you really miss a huge dynamic of the game that goes on and a huge preparation part that dictates the outcome pretty much every night, and that's the pitcher-catcher relationship."
His current manager, Jerry Narron, was a catcher in his playing days, as were Narron's predecessors Dave Miley and Bob Boone.
Narron said he'd like to see all of his players take a crack at managing, if only to see how difficult it really is. But he agreed that Hatteberg would be well-suited to the job.
"Hatte is a pro," said Narron. "There is no doubt in my mind he would probably make a good manager."
If Hatteberg decides to give managing a run, he knows he'll have to be fully committed to it. Family considerations are the biggest hurdle, as Hatteberg has a wife and three daughters at home in Washington to consider.
"It's just something you'd have to be completely passionate about and sink yourself into, but you'd also have to kind of have a feel for everybody," he said. "You have to understand that everybody's different. So you don't necessarily have to make everybody happy, but you have to get everybody on the same page. That's away from the baseball side. You've got to keep the club running."
Hatteberg said he doesn't know if he'd be any good at the job, but he would be interested in finding out.