10/04/2002 9:42 pm ET
A memorable night for Hatteberg
By Jim Molony / MLB.com
MINNEAPOLIS -- Scott Hatteberg was the picture of versatility Friday, providing plenty of action for both highlight and blooper reel editors during Game 3 of the American League Division Series at the Metrodome.
Hatteberg hit a home run in the first inning and reached base three times, but he also drew a few horse laughs for letting a popup fall to the ground
while he waited somewhere in St. Paul for it to fall.
"It's been the subject of a lot of humor from my teammates," Hatteberg said
after Oakland's 6-3 victory over Minnesota. "Since we won the game I'm sure
it will be the subject of a lot of humor from these guys for a long
In the span of four pitches, the A's had become the first team in
postseason history to lead off a game with back-to-back homers. The first,
by Ray Durham, was the first inside-the-park homer in Division Series
history. Durham hit a sinking liner to center, and when Minnesota All-Star
center fielder Torii Hunter tried to make a shoestring catch and missed, the
ball rolled all the way to the center-field wall. One pitch later, Hatteberg
followed with a bomb to right field.
Even stranger plays occurred when the Twins came to bat. Barry Zito's first pitch to Jacque Jones was popped up to the right side, but what should have been a routine out fell just inside the first base line and rolled harmlessly into foul territory when Hatteberg went MIA. Hatteberg was camped out looking upward as if he were waiting for the ball, when, as he put it, he "heard it hit the ground behind me."
"My teammates said it would be a good idea in the future, [if] the next time I
lost the ball, I should give some sort of signal, like waving my arms, that I
lost the ball. They thought I had it, but I didn't see it at all. It was a
In the second inning, another popup went to the right side, but this time
Hatteberg and Ellis collided and the ball, hit by Hunter, fell in fair
territory. Hunter reached, as Ellis was charged with an error.
"It's funny now, because we won the game," outfielder Terrence Long said.
"Fortunately, we can laugh about it now, and [Hatteberg] is going to catch
some [grief]. But the important thing to remember is, we did get the guy
[Jones] out and we did win the game."
They also provided plenty of blooper-reel material.
"I'm sure we're going to see it over and over again," Hatteberg said.
"Thank God we won the game."
After Hatteberg's misadventures, Zito released one of the strangest
pitches of the season: While trying to throw a curve, the left-hander lost
his grip on the ball, and it floated toward the plate like a wounded snow
goose. The ball fell several feet short of the batter's box, and as Hunter
scampered to second base, the public address system played the song, "Wild
The capacity crowd roared at each miscue.
"It really seemed like the playoffs out there today," Oakland outfielder
Jermaine Dye. "Something for everybody."
Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com based in Houston. He can be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. This article was not sujbect to approval by Major League