SARASOTA, Fla. -- Exactly how does WMAR-TV fit into Jim Palmer's attempted comeback plans?
Maybe not at all, but perhaps more than meets the eye. If Palmer should succeed in his effort to win a job with the Orioles, the question is moot. If he doesn't, an extended schedule would help his still promising television career.
Holding a job as analyst was not that big a deal for Palmer, who did play-by-play for the Orioles' flagship station the last two years, since the two parties didn't have a solid agreement.
With Jon Miller taking over as the primary TV play-by-play announcer, in addition to his radio and ESPN assignments, and Brooks Robinson expressing a desire to cut back on his schedule, WMAR in effect was left with a three-man crew, all part-timers. It was thought that Palmer -- who also had a contract with ESPN -- and Robinson would split duties as Miller's TV partner.
But when ESPN asked Palmer to take an $80,000 cut because of the network's baseball losses a year ago, he balked. And when Palmer stepped out of the national television picture his comeback juices, which never stopped flowing, began to pump seriously.
WMAR wasn't about to encourage Robinson to back completely out of the picture. But the Hall of Fame third baseman's flexibility made it easier to deal with the Hall of Fame pitcher's comeback attempt. The fact that both are represented by Baltimore attorney Ron Shapiro simplifies the matter.
WMAR general manager Arnold Kleiner said yesterday that Robinson would make himself available to do as many games as necessary, and that Scott Garceau, the station's sports director, would continue to be available as needed. It hadn't been spelled out whether Palmer would work the entire schedule, but the speculation now is that he would work 50 games if he wasn't in uniform -- about 25 more than previously speculated.