That oughta fix everything

The Nationals have fired pitching coach Randy St. Claire. He’s being a total pro about it:

“That’s life,” St. Claire said. “I’ve been in this game for 31 years. I’ve been fired before. But it’s a tough one… I would have liked to be around when the organization takes off.”

St. Claire said he was informed on Monday night about the decision. Today, he headed to Nationals Park to clear out his belongings. St. Claire said he didn’t receive an explanation for his firing, but added that he didn’t need one.

“The pitching isn’t performing up to where it needs to be to win, and I think a lot of factors go into it, but I guess I’m easier to replace than 12 guys,” he said. “Easier to replace and cheaper to replace. But that’s the game. When the team doesn’t perform, they’re bound to make changes.”

When I got laid off from the law firm last year I said much the same thing. The guy who laid me off then intimated that it was exactly that kind of laid back attitude that made it easier for them to lay me off in the first place.

Which is yet another example of why baseball > law firms.

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  1. MooseinOhio said...

    Are you trying to say that law firms may not be a great place to seek work-life balance?  Well that is until you become partner when the scales tip heavily in favor of your life at the expense of others lives.

  2. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Eh, you can find some work-life balance in some law firms. But woe be to anyone who suggests that the work law firms do isn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things.

  3. Jeff W. said...


    I’d love to hear more about your firm experience.  I’ve got stories, too.  Ugh.

    I’m heading to the ATL for the first time on Wednesday morning to catch the Wed-Thu games of Cubs at Braves.  Any tips on what to see/eat/look for/do at and around Turner Field?

    Any advice would be welcome, and keep up the good work.


  4. Richard in Dallas said...

    The Nats may need to user a strainer with smaller holes when interviewing pitching coaches.  A comment was made when firing John Wettland that he was “more interested in practical jokes than teaching pitching”.

  5. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Andy:  it was more like “well, sorry to hear you guys aren’t doing to well financially right now. You’re all nice people, though, so I hope you don’t get fired too.”

    Jeff W: I had a little over ten years in law firms, and have only been out for about five months. I could go on all day about the insanity of law firm life, but at this early stage it may not be as coherent as it will be later.  Maybe I’ll write a book, or at the very least revive my personal blog and write some there.

  6. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Oh, and I have no advice about Atlanta. Even though I’m a Braves fan, I have never been to a game there.  In fact, outside of the airport, I haven’t been to Atlanta at all since, oh, 1983 or something.

  7. Aaron Moreno said...

    As someone about to enter the lawyer work force (i.e. be unemployed), it’s gonna be tough to lie to a firm and tell them I think whatever they do is the be-all end-all. I graduated with enough guys who plan on ruining their marriages and not raise their children in favor of dying from a heart attack at 50. Not for me. My cholesterol’s already too high.

  8. Craig Calcaterra said...

    There are firms that won’t make you lie like that. You’ll know in the interviews where they stand. What you can’t necessarily do is expect to go somewhere at the top of the pay scale in a major city and find that easily.

    My issues with law firm life have changed over time. They were the classic billable hours suck/work-life balance is terrible, etc. issues for the first few years, but then they morphed into other, weirder things.

    I guess a good shorthand is to say that, as a young lawyer, law firms seemed assaulting overly formal and all of the cliche things you read about. As I grew older, however, they became more comfortable. Just before I left them, I realized that they were way, way too comfortable to the point where it was easy to lose yourself and your values and everything in them in ways that the old “golden handcuffs” cliches don’t really capture.

  9. Jeff W. said...

    Can a team’s success really be attributed to the big-league coaching staff?

    I believe in the importance of the coaching staff in the minors.  My intuition tells me that the coaching staff in MiLB is critical because minor-league players are often trying to shape their raw physical skills into baseball skills.

    But the bigs?  I suppose the coaching staff can help players learn to make adjustments, scout the opposition, and identify problems by watching tape.  I also suppose coaches can provide a sounding board for player evaluation for the GM and the manager.  I am suspicious, however, that the major-league coaching staff adds very little value to a major-league team.

    Another website, the “worldwide leader,” recently published an article, courtesy of Rick Sutcliffe, calling for Dave Duncan to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.  The Nats’ first step in solving their pitching problems is to fire the pitching coach.  That makes at least 2 votes for the “big-league coaching is important” camp.

    This is kind of an academic question because it seems very difficult to measure the impact of any given coach on team performance.

    Craig—it sounds like you might agree with me?

  10. Aaron Moreno said...

    Don’t worry, Craig, with my grades in law school, top of the pay scale is nothing to worry about.

  11. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I agree that it’s difficult to measure, J.W.  On the extremes I think we can probably ID really, really bad ones (guys that piss off the dudes they’re coaching) and really really good ones (guys who everyone defends in lockstep), but I don’t think that any coach is the difference between winning and losing such that firing them due to recent performance of their charges accomplishes much.

    It could very well be that St. Claire’s firing is about a general change in philosophy at the dawning of the Strasburg era, which is a good enough reason as any, I suppose.

  12. Melissa said...


    Unfortunately, you’re not going to find much to do right around Turner Field – the neighborhood is somewhat transitional and since generally the most efficient way to get to the Ted is by car, not much has popped up over there besides houses.  If you’re looking for a sports bar to go to before or after the games, I’d recommend Stats (downtown on Marietta Street, with a lovely rooftop deck) or Taco Mac (there are a bunch of them around town, though the closest to the stadium is probably the one at CNN Center).

    As for in the stadium, I think arguably the best feature is the massive scoreboard in center.  It’s no hand-changed scoreboard like at Wrigley, but the world’s largest high-definition screen (allegedly) isn’t too shabby.  I also get a kick out of the 40-foot tall Chick Fil-A Cow that does the tomahawk chop during Braves’ rallies and the Coke bottle that shoots fireworks after Braves’ home runs – they’re way up at the top in left field.  Your best bet for food might be the plaza out in centerfield – it’s got barbecue and a stand with a bunch of specialty hot dogs, plus the entrance to the Chop House.  If you get there early enough (or happen to get lucky during the game), the front row of tables at the Chop House is a pretty nice view (though the food isn’t anything special, unless you want to go medieval and order a gigantic turkey leg).  Also, the second level of the Chop House is a usually pretty happening bar, which should be an entertaining place to watch the rowdy Cubs fans interact with the semi-apathetic Braves fans.  Other than that, it’s pretty much standard ballpark fare, especially since they they took away my favorite snack stand, the Funnel of Love (for funnel cakes, if that wasn’t clear).  You also can take food into the park (no cans or alcohol though), so if it’s your thing, you can buy boiled peanuts from the souvenir guys on the Capitol Ave. side.

    Hope that was helpful! smile

  13. KR said...

    My wife works for the same law firm you used to (different office though). As you’ve probably heard, they’re not doing so great. She graduated a year ago and passed the bar last August, so she’s still pretty new—on one hand, she is cheaper salary-wise, but she also doesn’t bring in the money like the more experienced attorneys do. So I don’t know how worried to be about her job.

    She actually picked them because they seemed to be pretty good about the work-life balance thing. Hard to tell how well that’s working out so far. smile

  14. Greg Simons said...

    @JW – If you can venture a bit away from Turner Field, the Georgia Aquarium is the biggest in the world, and the World of Coke is next door.  For a little culture there’s the High Museum, and for a lot less culture and a lot more grease there’s the Varsity restaurant.

    Right by the stadium?  Melissa’s right, nothin’.

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