Baseball Divisional Playoffs
?TUESDAY ESPN 1 PM AND 4 PM, NBC 8 PM; WEDNESDAY ESPN 1 PM AND 4 PM, FOX 8 PM; THURSDAY ESPN 4 PM, FOX 8 PM; FRIDAY ESPN 4 PM, NBC 8 PM
Maybe they should be called the Latin American League Playoffs. Assuming that the Red Sox (the leaders in the wild-card race through Sunday) join the Indians, the Rangers and the Yankees in the American League competition, 16 of the 36 nonpitchers in the likely starting lineups will be of Latino heritage. That includes MVP candidates Roberto Alomar (right) and Manny Ramirez of Cleveland, Nomar Garciaparra of Boston, and Rafael Palmeiro and Ivan Rodriguez of Texas. Moreover, the pivotal pitchers could be Pedro Martinez, the Sox's Cy Young shoo-in, and Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who was unscored upon in his last 26? innings. �Vivan los Latinos!
Oklahoma at Notre Dame
? NBC 2:30 PM
Tradition holds that in Tornado Alley you're more likely to see airborne pigs than airborne pigskin. Under new head coach Bob Stoops, however, the Sooners are throwing the ball. In each of his first three starts Oklahoma's junior quarterback Josh Heupel broke school single-game records for passing yardage. In the land of stiff winds the Sooners have breezed to three victories by a combined score of 132-31. Meanwhile, Notre Dame seeks relief in the wake of a 1-3 start, a dismissed reserve quarterback and looming NCAA sanctions. Only Frank McCourt authors more depressing Irish sagas.
Bills at Dolphins
?ABC 9 PM
Miami wideout Tony Martin, recently acquitted in a felony money-laundering case, might understandably be shaken by the question, "Do you expect these outstanding Bills to pose a problem?" Since rejoining the fin de si�cle Fins, Martin has been money in the bank, averaging a team-high 22.2 yards per catch. The Dolphins (2-0) have the longest conference championship game drought—six seasons—of any team in the AFC East. With Martin, who has played in Super Bowls with the '94 Chargers and the '98 Falcons, the Dolphins' claim to a tide gains currency.
Red Files: Soviet Sports Wars
?PBS 9 PM (CHECK LOCAL LISTINGS)
From the 1950s, when athletes such as gymnast Larissa Latynina were vaulting to Olympic gold, through the '80s, when Sergei Bubka was vaulting to world records, the Soviet Union's athletic power was as imposing as its political might. This solid one-hour documentary shows how, during the cold war, Soviet athletes were prisoners of their physical gifts. The best segment explores the friendship between long junipers Ralph Boston of the U.S. and Igor Ter-Ovanesyan of the U.S.S.R. (Ralph and Igor, soon to be a CBS sitcom). "We had some great times together," recalls Boston. "Some of them I can't tell you about."
?ABC 9:30 PM
With apologies to my next-page neighbor (SI, Sept. 20), this lively sitcom about a sports-highlights show resembles a M*A*S*H unit. Managing editor Isaac (Robert Guillaume) is Colonel Potter; wisecracking anchors Casey ( Peter Krause) and Dan (Josh Charles) are Hawkeye and B.J.; and nebbish savant Jeremy (Joshua Malina) is Radar. The second season premiere has Hot Lips—er, executive producer Dana ( Felicity Huffman)—stoking the romantic coals with Casey.
ALL TIMES EASTERN. SCHEDULES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. SOURCE: NIELSEN SPORTS MARKETING SERVICE.