Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Flipping Channels: Bengals / Falcons and Tigers / Yankees

I'm super-sick with an upper respiratory infection, which is bad. What's good (kind of) is that I didn't really have enough gumption to do anything but flip channels last night. Since there was nothing good on the Discovery Channel (usually choice #1), I ended up bouncing between ESPN's football and ESPN2's baseball coverage. Some really interesting stuff happened.

Cincinnati Bengals at Atlanta Falcons. Obviously, there's a ton of scrutiny on the Vickless Falcons. It's unfortunate timing that Michael Vick's indictment came on the first day of training camp, his official plea entry came on the morning of a Monday Night Football preseason game, and his December sentencing date is another MNF date for the team. There's just no escaping it.

There's also no escaping the fact that Vick's replacement, QB Joey Harrington, has a terrible track record everywhere he has been. Since starting in Detroit as a highly-touted draft pick, dude's got a 55.2% completion percentage with 72 touchdowns and 77 interceptions for a less-than-average 68.1 career passer rating. Yikes. It's one of my little sports idiosyncrasies that I've always liked Harrington for some reason. He just comes across as a nice guy and a hard worker who has been saddled with some really bad teams. Maybe it's the Heath Shuler fan in me, but it breaks my heart when a Harrington, a Tim Couch, an Akili Smih, even a Ryan Leaf blows a bunch of potential. (Okay, not Ryan Leaf.)

So did we start to see some of that potential last night? Harrington went 13 of 21 for 164 yards and 2 very pretty touchdowns in the Falcons' 24-19 win. More than the stats, he just looked like a quarterback last night. The Falcons looked like they were his team and that they had been his team for a while.

Yes, it's preseason, but week three of preseason is the dress rehearsal game, first-team against first-team, and the Bengals are a tough opponent. It would be really nice to see Harrington have a breakout season for the Falcons and give some real hope to Atlanta sports fans. I don't think that's very likely, but it would be nice. Because make no mistake, no one is going to see the Falcons this year. Season ticket holders in Atlanta pay to see Michael Vick, not Warwick Dunn. When Vick had a season-ending injury a couple years back, the fans watched from their couches in droves. True, Atlanta doesn't have a history as a great sports city, what with not selling out first round Braves playoff games and the like, but their NFL fans deserve better than the Vick soap opera.

New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers. It's a testament to the magnitude of this savage beat-down that Justin Verlander's (14-5) scoreless three-hit seven innings of pitching is a footnote to this game. The headline: Tigers 16, Yankees 0. Dang.

Yankee pitcher Mike Mussina's (8-10) line is downright sad. 3 IP, 9 hits, 6 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 0 strikeouts. Moose, a Yankee I actually kind of like (sort of, a teensy bit), has given up six runs in each of his last three starts, none of which has made it through the fourth inning. The unsung hero of this game: Yankee pitcher Sean Henn, redefining "taking one for the team" as he pitched 2.2 innings of relief, giving up 8 hits and 9 runs (7 earned). It was like watching batting practice. Every Tigers starter had at least one hit, the star being VCU's own Brandon Inge, 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs and 2 runs scored.

This is the kind of loss that sits like lead in a team's stomach for days, sometimes weeks. The Yankees are 8 games behind Boston in the East and 2 behind Seattle in the Wild Card. As much as I loathe the Yankees and their freaking swastika hats, I always thought they would be the Wild Card team. Now I'm not so sure. I think they may not make the playoffs.

Hee hee hee.

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