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If You Could Be a Professional Athlete...


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In any sport at any level, what would you be? Would you choose to be a superstar or a role guy? What position? What city? Give as many or as few details as you’d like. Here it goes:

 

I’m the baddest closer in baseball, preferably for the St. Louis Cardinals, but I’d play anywhere. I’ve got a flaming fastball that regularly touches triple digits and a nasty cutter that is damn near unhittable. You could describe my pitching style as violent. I wear #50. Of course I have a mullet that’s a little thin up top, but who cares, sideburns and a sweet ‘stache and I’m always dripping with sweat. I wear my jersey a little baggy with tall stirrups because the Cardinals socks are :censored:ing sweet. When I come into the game, everyone knows it’s OVER. 
 

Its game 7 of the World Series and we’re winning 3-2 in the top of the 8th, the starter is in trouble with runners on 2nd and third with one out. The manager walks to the mound and calls for the right hander. I walk out of the bullpen at Busch Stadium-walk not run- Stranglehold is blaring from the stadium speakers and the standing room crowd is going absolutely insane. The noise is deafening. Of course I strike out the side and we go to the bottom of the 8th and the house is shaking. We get a runner on with one out but the next batter hits into a double play. Now it’s the top of the 9th and this is what I get paid for. Everyone knows the game is pretty much in the bag, you can feel the air in the stadium buzzing with electricity. The Angels have the meat of their order up to bat 2, 3, 4. The first batter pops up on the first pitch-a high fastball-one out. Second batter, a leftie, battles, running the count full after fouling off a couple hard fastballs. He strikes out looking on a cutter that cuts him off at the knees. Now there are two outs and the fans are on their feet and the place is rocking. The Angels’ cleanup hitter is the best in the game. He’s the AL home run leader and he has one last chance to keep his team alive. First pitch is a 98 mph fastball low and away, just missed-ball 1. Second pitch is another fastball low and in. This one is a strike looking. 1-1. Third pitch is a fastball that catches a bit too pitch of the plate, but he’s a little late and fouls it off-strike 2. Now the place is REALLY out of control. The catcher calls for a cutter and I shake him off. Fastball it is. I wind up and let it rip. High and out over the plate, but it’s too high for the batter to catch up and he can’t lay off. Swing and a miss. The game’s over. Fireworks are going off, people are screaming and crying and I just wrapped up the Cardinals’ 12th World Series title.

 

I told this story to my wife last night and I couldn’t tell if she was a little turned on or a little concerned for my mental health. Maybe both.

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Backup QB.  You make millions, don't get hit, no brain damage, you're super popular when the starter is doing poorly, and when he's doing well, you basically just hold a clipboard and collect millions.  If the starter is a superstar, you may even get an absurd contract somewhere that you didn't earn (Matt Flynn) then cash that check and retire.

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1 hour ago, BBTV said:

Backup QB.  You make millions, don't get hit, no brain damage, you're super popular when the starter is doing poorly, and when he's doing well, you basically just hold a clipboard and collect millions.  If the starter is a superstar, you may even get an absurd contract somewhere that you didn't earn (Matt Flynn) then cash that check and retire.

 

Yea man, I submit Chase Daniels as the backup that smiled all the way to the bank multiple times yet never saw any extended playing time.

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Another possibility:  Long snapper.  If you're good, you can play for literally as long as you want, and you don't even practice with the team and don't get beat up at all.  You're not going to make 10s of millions per year, but you'll still make really good money, have no wear and tear on your body, and get all the other benefits that go along with being an NFL player (i.e. groupies.)  You're not expected to be in the weight room all the time, and as long as you are good, they never even bring anyone in to compete for you, so it's like the lowest-stress job.

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2 hours ago, BBTV said:

Backup QB.  You make millions, don't get hit, no brain damage, you're super popular when the starter is doing poorly, and when he's doing well, you basically just hold a clipboard and collect millions.  If the starter is a superstar, you may even get an absurd contract somewhere that you didn't earn (Matt Flynn) then cash that check and retire.

 

29 minutes ago, BBTV said:

Another possibility:  Long snapper.  If you're good, you can play for literally as long as you want, and you don't even practice with the team and don't get beat up at all.  You're not going to make 10s of millions per year, but you'll still make really good money, have no wear and tear on your body, and get all the other benefits that go along with being an NFL player (i.e. groupies.)  You're not expected to be in the weight room all the time, and as long as you are good, they never even bring anyone in to compete for you, so it's like the lowest-stress job.

 

Better than both of those, I think, would be NFL punter.

 

Receive snap, kick ball far. Of course it's much more complicated than that, but missing a coffin corner punt doesn't get the same shame as missing a field goal. And you're not necessarily expected to make a tackle on a return - if you make the tackle, it's a bonus. If you miss the tackle... well, you're a punter and you're not going to get cut for it. Lower pressure than backup QB, but obviously less $$$ as well. Still, for anywhere between $500k-$3M per year, it's good money for not having to give yourself CTE. And as long as you're good, you can punt till you're 40.

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Besides the aforementioned roles in football, I'd love to be a closer or middle reliever in baseball. The closer part would be more stressful, but getting amped up for a huge save was always fun when I played baseball. Middle reliever would be much more chill though, and you can kick it with the guys in the bullpen all game. Plus, it's likely you can have a long career and not have to worry about a bunch of fanfare that more well-known players get. 

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Because I had confidence issues as a kid while still wanting to "belong", I used to always envision myself as the solid contributing "utility backup" at running back and defensive back. I was never good enough to start especially at tailback, since the superstar stud who did start was also one of the most popular kids in school (whom I also grew up with and could actually outrun in a foot race, but whatevs), and since both our starting CBs were identical twins who were also very popular & liked by everyone and built like tanks, while the starting safety was the hardest hitter on the team & neighborhood bully (also built like a tank). So yeah, solid contributor who just through hard work & determination could be counted on to pick up a few yards here or there, knock a few balls down here or there, or make a few stops on special teams. 

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I'd want to be a striker in a major European football league.  The amount of money those guys can make is eyewatering in comparison to anything athletes make over here.

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18 minutes ago, tp49 said:

I'd want to be a striker in a major European football league.  The amount of money those guys can make is eyewatering in comparison to anything athletes make over here.

Yeah, if a wizard comes over and says they can make you a god-tier athlete at any sport and you don't have issues with becoming famous then being an offensive-oriented soccer player would be the best choice.  Guys like Messi and Ronaldo are basically at the very top of sports worldwide and as long as you can filter out the negative attention you are absolutely playing life on god-mode.

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5 hours ago, BBTV said:

Backup QB.  You make millions, don't get hit, no brain damage, you're super popular when the starter is doing poorly, and when he's doing well, you basically just hold a clipboard and collect millions.  If the starter is a superstar, you may even get an absurd contract somewhere that you didn't earn (Matt Flynn) then cash that check and retire.

As a Wisconsin graduate, I always loved the career of Jim Sorgi. One-year starter at Wisconsin. Backed up Peyton Manning when he was an iron man.  I think he was in the league for eight or nine years and barely got on the field.  Probably made some good money (though he didn't have that Flynn moment to get him the fat free agent contract), owns a Super Bowl Ring, and probably has his health intact.

 

EDIT: https://www.spotrac.com/nfl/new-york-giants/jim-sorgi-5046/cash-earnings/

Looks like he earned about $5 million in only seven seasons.  Only appeared in 16 games.  High six figures on average for seven years. It's nice work if you can get it.

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I would be Ron Hodges, the Mets' third-string catcher from 1973 through 1984 (and no relation to Gil Hodges).


You come in in the 8th inning of a blowout, you catch the occasional day game after a night game, or on getaway day, or maybe the second game of a doubleheader. You play in maybe 50 games a year, getting about 150 at-bats. No one expects anything from you. And if once or twice you get a pinch hit that wins a ballgame, that's what people remember.

 

 

 


That's the life.

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NFL punter or one of those specialty guys a baseball team has coming out of the bullpen, like Javier Lopez was for the Giants. That dude got paid tens of millions of dollars to throw, like, maybe three pitches every two weeks. God, what a life. 

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I'm going to take a different route. Put me in an alternate universe where men's volleyball is a big deal outside of the Olympics. I didn't start to watch and understand volleyball until about 2013. By that point I was pushing 30 and past my competitive athletic days. Given my height and athletic strengths from ages 13-24, I believe I could have developed into a decent Libero had boys/men's volleyball had been available in my area. Here's a brief explanation of the position...

 

"The libero is a player specialized in defensive skills: the libero must wear a contrasting jersey color from their teammates and cannot block or attack the ball when it is entirely above net height. When the ball is not in play, the libero can replace any back-row player, without prior notice to the officials."

 

In general I was always a better defensive player in team sports than I was on offense, so a position like that is right up my alley. One thing not mentioned in the quote is that Liberos are usually the shortest players on a team. From my high school to adult years, my height went from 5'9 to 5'11. Average height range in general, but short when it comes to men's volleyball. I like that Liberos stand out (contrasting jersey), but aren't usually considered the stars of a team. I've always liked being a regular contributor on a team, but didn't like the off field/court attention that comes with being a star player. Another area where being a Libero appeals to me.

 

So basically put me in a timeline where I become good enough at the position where I can make lots of money and relatively fly under the radar. I'd be a happy guy.

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On 2/28/2021 at 12:46 AM, FiddySicks said:

NFL punter or one of those specialty guys a baseball team has coming out of the bullpen, like Javier Lopez was for the Giants. That dude got paid tens of millions of dollars to throw, like, maybe three pitches every two weeks. God, what a life. 

 

 

 

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On 2/24/2021 at 2:02 PM, sc49erfan15 said:

 

 

Better than both of those, I think, would be NFL punter.

 

Receive snap, kick ball far. Of course it's much more complicated than that, but missing a coffin corner punt doesn't get the same shame as missing a field goal. And you're not necessarily expected to make a tackle on a return - if you make the tackle, it's a bonus. If you miss the tackle... well, you're a punter and you're not going to get cut for it. Lower pressure than backup QB, but obviously less $$$ as well. Still, for anywhere between $500k-$3M per year, it's good money for not having to give yourself CTE. And as long as you're good, you can punt till you're 40.

 

My in-laws' friends just bough Bengals punter Kevin Huber's house. He needed more space and the house he sold is ridiculous on its own. He is doing very well for himself. 

 

Devil's Advocate argument against punter might be that you are the physical embodiment of Giving Up. Your fans never see you in a good moment except for the occasional fake, if it works. 

 

On 2/28/2021 at 12:46 AM, FiddySicks said:

NFL punter or one of those specialty guys a baseball team has coming out of the bullpen, like Javier Lopez was for the Giants. That dude got paid tens of millions of dollars to throw, like, maybe three pitches every two weeks. God, what a life. 

 

Which is why I think the answer is definitely something like this. Major league middle reliever was my first thought as well. I'd even go a step further and be like 11th guy on an NBA bench. Like a defensive specialist. They make stupid money for what they actually do, never play crunch time minutes, and you get floor seats to every game. 

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The thing with any of the MLB jobs is that it's just a lot harder of a life than being in the other sports, just due to the amount of travel and number of games.  It's also harder and takes longer just to get to the major leagues than it is to get into the other major sports.  For this hypothetical discussion it's fine to just assume that you're already there and set, but if I wanted to be "groomed" for some role, it wouldn't be in the MLB just because the chance of failure is too high and the life sucks.

 

Being some jabroni at the end of the bench in NBA or NFL sounds great - for one season.  That's another spot where you could just be replaced at any second.  I definitely think I'd rather be a "starter" at a position that's not a regular spot, like a long snapper, or maybe (like someone said) punter, or backup QB (which I view as a totally separate position from 'starting' QB.)

 

Some people want fame and that's all well and good, but I just want money, women, quality of life, and for my brain cells to be in tact when I'm done.  You can achieve all of that pretty easily by simply learning how to snap a football between your legs.

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