The TV Repairman:
Considering sections of heaven, earth and a programming schedule had to be moved and altered, the least local fans could do Sunday afternoon beginning at 1:30 is set their TV dials on Channel 2 for the CFL Eastern Division title game between our Team With No Nickname and Winnipeg. Even if you're going out, turn all the TVs on.
Baltimore prides itself on being a hot sports town, so prove it. The competition consists of Redskins-Cowboys on Fox, women's tennis (Virginia Slims final) on ABC, an infomercial that runs as long as "Gone With The Wind" on Channel 11 and a garden show on MPT.
Incidentally, the Grey Cup title game plays ESPN2 Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. with a repeat on big brother ESPN the next day at 9 p.m.
* The James Toney-Roy Jones super middleweight hoedown tonight is being hit with the usual "best fight of the year" hype, but it well could be true in the case of this pay-per-view production. Oscar De La Hoya's on the undercard for support.
* To paraphrase the voice seemingly coming through the air ducts in the theater in "Field of Dreams," give 'em some games and they will tune in. With the pro football campaign spanning three seasons and everyone aware that the first 10 games are strictly for positioning prior to the serious run for the playoffs, NFL viewership becomes fairly stagnant and predictable. Understandable. But when teams even the casual fan recognize as being good season after season finally get together well into the schedule, the leaves go unraked and big ratings occur.
Witness the Cowboys and 49ers and, earlier, the Bears and Dolphins, on Fox. More people were tuned in from 1 to 7 p.m. than normally watch a "Monday Night Football" prime-time game on ABC. At the same time, NBC was doing a rating (15.2) in the "Roseanne," "20/20" and "Murder She Wrote" range.
* With hockey apparently nowhere in sight (what do you mean, you hadn't noticed?), HTS has scooped up five Bullets' road games between Thanksgiving and Christmas, starting with their game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Baltimore Arena Nov. 25.
* ESPN2, which says it is into 16 million homes now, but still hasn't got anyone at United Artists Cable to answer the phone, will go for Steve "Air" McNair and Alcorn State for a third time this season, picking up the game against Jackson State at 4 p.m. Saturday. In previous shows, McNair had nine TD passes in victories over Texas Southern and Southern.
Regarding "Air II," Craig James told his ESPN audience that his high school team faced better opposition than McNair has this season.
* The oddsmakers see a heckuva doubleheader on ABC tomorrow, Michigan being favored by a point against Ohio State and noon and Auburn drawing even less backing (half a point) against Alabama at 3:30 p.m. Both favorites are on the road, so one of them's going down (at least).
* Three cheers for Peter King, the lad who explains things to Brent Musburger during halftime of "Monday Night Football." Responding to a zinger in USA Today that he hasn't had many "news tips" this season, King answers, "I'd rather explain the NFL better to people than make things up for shock value."
* Steve Watson, whose football career started here and continued at Temple and with the Denver Broncos, lost his sportscasting job in the Mile High City by blurting out which candidate he favored in Colorado's gubernatorial contest. His contract said, no endorsements, ifs ands or buts.
* Was that ad for a Troy Aikman video game that says, "They stole Aikman's brain" shot before or after the Cowboys quarterback began picking up concussions as often as throwing interceptions?
* All the figure skaters who competed in "Ice Wars" on CBS last week pop up in Edmonton tomorrow night (8) competing in the $1 million Gold Championships.
Sunday (4 p.m.), ABC shoots back with Skate America, a taped job. Saturation, forget it, the major sports proved there's no such thing.
* The Fred Biletnikoff Award (going to the nation's top collegiate receiver) joins the raft of awards (Maxwell, Outland, Davey O'Brien, Jim Thorpe, Doak Walker, student-athlete, top defensive player and Coach of the Year) being handed out Dec. 8 from 9:30-11:30 p.m. on ESPN. What's the tight end from Boston College's name?
* Comcasters, ESPN2 continues its "Greatest College Rivalries" series with the Harvard-Yale debacle from the Acropolis along Soldier Field Road in Cambridge tomorrow at 1 p.m. The series got a lift last Saturday morning when Division III rivals Wabash and DePaux each returned a kickoff for a touchdown back-to-back at the start.
* The video game "Madden 95" is available as of two days ago and goes for a cool $50. Remember when kids went out and learned football from the sweat of their brow? . . . Another sure winner figures to be a game called "Shaq-Fu." Guess who gets the residuals from this baby?
* Not enough football in the air Thanksgiving Day? ESPN will be there doing its part, showing a 90-minute special "The NFL's All-Time Team" at 10:30 a.m.
* Who's the schedule-maker who matched up Penn State and Northwestern in the final, usually climactic weekend of the Big Ten season? Better get a 12th team and a good 'un soon, boys.
* Channel 11 is doing "Shark Shootout" golf both tomorrow (4 p.m.) and Sunday (3:30 p.m.). Maybe the latest shipment of "National Geographic Specials" got hijacked on the high seas. . . . ESPN is doing Maryland-Chaminade hoops in the Maui Classic Monday (2 p.m.).