(Ed Note: This article first appeared on Bloguin’s MLB site The Outside Corner. Visit TOC for daily news, analysis, and the stories on the outside corner of the sport.)
Perhaps hoping to benefit from what little post-Moneyball afterglow remains, the Oakland Athletics announced that they will have former player, and key figure in the Moneyball book and movie, Scott Hatteberg replace long-time color commentator Ray Fosse on TV broadcasts for a 20-game stretch starting June 15th according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser.
You’re not going to believe this, but the player who famously was asked to start at first base for Oakland with no experience at the position also has no experience broadcasting. In fact, based on Hatteberg’s description of how this came about, it is eerily similar to the scene in the movie when Billy Beane comes to his house to offer him the first base job:
Hatteberg, reached by phone, said, “I’m excited to do it. I’ve never done it before, though, so I’m not sure how well I’ll do.”
“It wasn’t my idea,” he said. “I haven’t pursued it. But they asked if I’d have interest, and I’d like to try it. We’ll see.”
No word on whether or not Ron Washington was there to tell him that “it is incredibly hard.”
What makes this whole situation uncomfortable though is the fashion in which Hatteberg is making his debut. Ray Fosse has no personal or health reasons for taking 20 games off, which basically means that he is being asked to take a break so that someone else can try and steal his job from him. That’s not exactly the kind of way you’d expect a man with 27 years on the job to be treated, especially since Fosse is widely considered to be one of the better color guys in the game.