Sexy Positions

By on November 11, 2014
MARC ANDRE FLEURY (Kim Klement / US Presswire)

MARC ANDRE FLEURY (Kim Klement / US Presswire)

Get your mind out of the gutter. If you are here trolling for some risqué bullshit, you’re on the wrong site. Go to your local porn shop and get an issue of Penthouse Forum. Go purchase a copy of the Kama Sutra from your local bookstore. If you are here for sports, and understand that each sport has its glamour position, then you have arrived at your destination.

The major American sports all have positions that are essential for success, and at times, can single handedly lead their teams to championships. Go ask a Los Angeles Kings fan how many championship banners would be hanging from the Staples Center rafters if it weren’t for goalie Jonathan Quick (excluding the myriad of Lakers banners, of course). LA entered the 2012 Cup Finals as an 8 seed. They squeaked into the playoffs, and yet dominated on their march to hoisting the Cup on the shoulders of Quick.

The entire region of New England can testify to the importance of an elite quarterback. The Patriots made Super Bowl XX behind the combination of Tony Eason and Steve Grogan, but were embarrassed by the Chicago Bears 46-10. A decade later came a 6th round draft choice with charisma and dreamy looks by the name of Tom Brady. The chasm in talent between Brady and the Eason/Grogan combination is best demonstrated by Super Bowl success. While Super Bowl XX was an utter failure for the Patriots, Tom Brady guided New England to five Super Bowls (XXXVI, XXXVII, XXXIX, XLII, XLVI), winning three (XXXVI, XXXVII, XXXIX) and claiming Super Bowl MVP twice (XXXVI, XXXVII). Quarterback is so important to a teams’ success, in fact, that often a quarterback’s legacy is determined by how many championships they have won. No other position in football is held to the same standard.

When it comes to America’s pastime, San Francisco can speak to the importance of a shutdown starting pitcher. Tim Lincecum absolutely dominated the postseason in 2010, and saved some of his best work for the World Series. The Giants went on to sweep the Detroit Tigers. An even more glaring example of postseason dominance came in the 2014 World Series in the form of Madison Bumgarner. His numbers were historic. The large lefty went 2-0 with a save, all while posting a 0.25 ERA. To cap off the series, he pitched five innings of scoreless relief on two days rest to pick up the series clinching save. Check Google folks. You won’t find a better performance in the history of the Fall Classic.

What all of this sexiness leads to, as it does in all sports (and all things sexy), is big dollars. The premium of each of these positions brings enormous, and sometimes unreasonable, contracts. Just within the past week, the Pittsburgh Penguins gave Marc Andre Fleury a 4 year/$23 million contract extension and the Arizona Cardinals extended Carson Palmer for 3 years/$50 million. Are they elite players? Absolutely not. Fleury has won a Stanley Cup, but that was way back in 2009. Since then, he has been a bit of a postseason head case, including the 2012 postseason, in which he posted a 4.63 GAA. In case you don’t know hockey, a 4.63 GAA is awful. Really fucking awful. Since his championship season, Fleury has posted a 21-22 postseason record. Despite the uninspiring numbers, the Penguins decided to lock him up long term. Why? Is he one of the top goalies in the NHL? You would be hard pressed to find a fan outside of Pittsburgh that would answer that question with a resounding “yes.” But the likes of Jonathan Quick and Tucca Rask don’t grow on trees. So rather than risk the unknown, the Penguins decided to invest heavily in the proven commodity. The same can be said about Carson Palmer. The Cardinals threw an awful large sum of money at a 34 year old quarterback with nerve damage in his throwing shoulder that has never won a postseason game. Sounds cray cray, right? Well, the Cardinals can make the same argument that the Penguins can. How many Tom Brady’s and Peyton Manning’s are floating around in free agency or in the upcoming draft? Because those waters are murky, they decided to invest in the sure thing. And by sure thing, I mean a middle-of-the-pack player at a premium position.

When you look around the major sports, the Penguins and the Cardinals aren’t the only teams to overspend on marginal players. The best example of bloated contracts at sexy positions is in the NFL. Owners have thrown $100 million contracts at quarterbacks like Monopoly money. The Dallas Cowboys gave Tony Romo a 6 year/$108 million contract. He has one postseason appearance to his credit, and he botched the game winning field goal snap in that one appearance. The Chicago Bears handed Jay Cutler a 7 year/$126 million contract. Yes. Jay Cutler. Since being traded from Denver, Cutler has thrown 118 TDs versus 83 INTs while completing 61% of his passes. In two postseason games, he has gone 1-1. As absurd as those two contracts may seem, the ultimate heist has been committed by Andy Dalton. Somehow, he convinced the Cincinnati Bengals to give him a 6 year/$96 million contract. For their enormous investment, the Bengals have been rewarded with a 2-9 record in primetime games, including a 0-3 playoff record. The unknown has become so frightening to NFL owners, they would rather dole out copious amounts of money to average players than gamble on collegiate players or future free agents.

Andy Dalton looked like a pro at TCU (Photo courtesy of TCU Athletic Communications)

Andy Dalton looked like a pro at TCU (Photo courtesy of TCU Athletic Communications)

Baseball GMs have handed out some awful contracts to starting pitchers as well. Consider the amount of money still owed to each player, and then consider the results being returned for each team’s investment.

  • Justin Verlander, 6 years/$162 million
  • Cliff Lee, 2 years/$52 million
  • Cole Hamels, 5 years/$110 million
  • CC Sabathia, 3 years/$73 million
  • Mark Buehrle, 1 year/$19 million
Cliff Lee working to the Jays on a St. Patrick's Day spring training game in Clearwater while Cole Hamels signs for the fans. (EDDIE MICHELS / RSEN PHOTO)

Cliff Lee working to the Jays on a St. Patrick’s Day spring training game in Clearwater while Cole Hamels signs for the fans. (EDDIE MICHELS / RSEN PHOTO)

Collectively, these five pitchers started 115 games in 2014, going 44-40. When you average the collective stats among the five players, the unflattering stat line of 23 Games Started, 9 Wins, 8 Losses, and a 3.60 ERA is the result. Hardly seems worthy of the bloated salary given to each player.

Regardless of the sport, money is being spent at alarming rates for ho-hum, run-of-the-mill players. So the next time you are at work, daydreaming of sexy positions, avoid the internet porn and fantasize about the money you could be making if you were a quarterback, goalie, or starting pitcher.

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