Pirates Catcher Stallings Reflective After Father's Pitt Firing

Jim Colony
March 09, 2018 - 10:16 am
jake stallings

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As the Kevin Stallings-Pitt saga went from "if he gets fired" to "when he gets fired" to "he was fired" there was one person in Pirates Camp who had quite a bit more interst than everyone else in Bradenton. That, of course, is Stalllings' son, Jake, who is (in effect) the Pirates' 3rd-string catcher.  Jake, who is a dead ringer for his father, is ticketed for Indianapolis but if/when Fracnsico Cervelli or Elias Diaz gets hurt then Stallings will be back in Pittsburgh while his dad won't.

Kevin Stallings was officially relieved of his duties Thursday but not before word had circulated the day before that he had turned down a 7.5 million dollar buyout which is about 2 million less than the figure written into his contract. This was while Jake was with the team in Dunedin so the first thing he did after the game was check Twitter. "There is so much misinformation out there," Jake said shaking his head, "No one from the university has even talked to him."

There was nothing new Thursday morning during the Pirates open clubhouse but that changed a couple of hours later when Kevin Stallings was fired. Jake declined to speak Thursday but said he might have something to say Friday morning and he did.  Perhaps since like almost everyone who follows Pitt basketball, Jake saw this coming so even less that 24 hours since it happened he is more philosophical than bitter.  "The wierd part is he's been a coach my whole life," 28 year old Jake says, "He's been lucky enough to not be fired until now and I don't know if I have watched the last game that he will ever coach."

Jake understands the administration's point of view and aso understands (a lot more than most) the negativity that's surrounded his dad since the first day he was introduced at that bizarre news conference.  He also knows the game and knows players so he could see the makings of a competitive ACC team next season.  But what's going to happen now?  "We'll see," Jake says. "Those players were pretty loyal to my dad," so he expects many to transfer. 

Jake, who had always thought he'd go into coaching, admits his father's Pitt experience has given him second thoughts but maybe not.  "There have been some hard times for sure," Jake reflects, "but those don't outweigh the good times and all the fun we've been able to do as a family."