UPDATED: FRIDAY, 12:30 p.m.:
Looking forward past today’s column (linked here) on the Jan. 1 sports lineup — not the bowl games, a hockey game (that’s a clip above of the rink setting set up at Wrigley Field) and the intro to MLB Network (www.mlbnetwork.com), who Friday announced that former MLB reliever Mitch Williams and SI.com “insider” Jon Heyman have been added to the network staff — and what else you need to know:
==That’s Rocco Mediate, with Greg Norman Jr., draped around his neck and partner Matt Achatz, left, reacting after a short-iron shot lips out during the ADT Skills Challenge, taped in Miami on Nov. 3 and airing Saturday and Sunday (Channel 4, 1 to 3 p.m.). It’s PGA pros teammed up with their bag carriers in a new format. Mediate and Achatz play against Peter Jacobsen and Mike “Fluff” Cowan, Fred Couples and Joe LaCava, and Greg Norman Sr. and Jr. competing in long drive, trouble shots, fairway bunkers, greenside bunkers, long iron, short iron, chip shots and putting. Dan Hicks, Roger Maltbie and Gary Koch provide the commentary for NBC.
== “199 Lives,” a well-received documentary on the life of motocross racer/FMX rider/rally car racer Travis Pastrana, airs on ESPN2 (Sunday, 6 p.m.). That’s the trailer for the flick above.
==ESPN reports that its third season of “Monday Night Football” was the most-watched series on cable TV in 2008, set an all-time cable viewership record for the third straight year. ESPN’s version of “MNF” also has seven of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the Eagles-Cowboys telecast on September 15 (12.9 million homes). ESPN’s 17 Monday Night Football telecasts in 2008 averaged a 8.9 rating, representing an average of 8,679,000 households. The season finale — Chicago’s OT win over Green Bay — had a 9.8 rating.
AND THE CLOSING ARGUMENT:
== As Deadspin.com (linked here) reminds us, beware when Fox analyst and former NFL player Brian Baldinger is doing a game on your TV set. As he will be Sunday, with Dick Stockton, on the Giants-Vikings’ 10 a.m. contest.
Baldinger apparently suffered such a bad injury to his right pinkie finger, it’s just … you can see for yourself: