The TV repairman:
Rex Barney, who visits from a bygone era while doing sports talk on WBAL Radio a few times weekly, indicated Baltimore fandom was devastated when Jim Palmer's comeback bid ended the other day. That's not the way we hear it.
Many conclude Jimbo's ill-fated comeback was a publicity gimmick entered into by himself, the ballclub, Channel 2 and the various businesses that use Palmer as a spokesman. Did any other ballclub offer him a tryout after checking out his fastball with the backup lights in Miami?
Everyone has been overly kind to Palmer owing to his great career here, treating the ego trip as though it were something noble and spiritually uplifting. The good news is the well-to-do ex-pitcher got his extended stay in Florida paid for and he retains his scholarship.
It is suggested next time he gets the urge, Jim should enlist in the O's fantasy camp. No doubt his agent can land him a deal. Meantime, he can work around the clock improving upon the things that will make him a better play-by-play announcer, something he should have been doing throughout the offseason.
Speaking of which, the O's game with the Rangers is on Channels 2/20 tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. Lots of ball the next two days, the Mets playing a pair of 1 p.m. games on WOR and ESPN doing the A's and Giants Sunday at 3 p.m.
* Jeff Rhodes is a government worker in Washington who has been typing classic play-by-play for the media at Cole Field House for years. Here are some of his gems from yesterday's North Carolina State-Southern Mississippi game:
"Has Delta Burke gained weight? Will Annie Potts whine? Find out during the TV timeout (1)."
"Who is Val's flame du jour on 'Knott's Landing' this week? You guessed it, it's another TV timeout (2)."
"Do you think soap opera fans are hacked off about this midday hoops fest? Who cares? TV timeout (3)."
"Why didn't 'Major Dad' go to Saudi Arabia? Inquiring minds want to know. Oh, by the way, TV timeout (4)."
* Kudos to Jon Miller. During a recent Oriole broadcast, he described a player as "a fast runner." You hardly ever hear such clarity these days, the wordsmiths going for such drivel as he can fly, motor or shows good foot speed.
* Preliminary report on Miller's new partner Ken Levine: His voice and precise way of speaking are going to take some getting used to . . . and some expressions like "toeing the slab" will have to go.
* What hath Palmer wrought? Bill Veeck's son Mike wants to bring Minnie Minoso back to play in the Florida State League, so he can say he played in six different decades. Minoso, 68, says, "If Palmer can come back after seven years, I don't see why I can't play." (Yawn).
* Get out your Blast banners, gang. Your heroes take on despised San Diego tomorrow at 2:30 on Channel 45 live, or as live as sparkling Art Sinclair can make it.
* Women will be happy to learn four taped segments of this week's World Figure Skating Championships from Munich will be shown on NBC over the weekend: 2:30 and 8 p.m. tomorrow and 2:30 and 7 p.m. Sunday. Locally, Channel 2 will do the last three sessions, Orioles baseball knocking out the ladies' short program.
* Boxing, a sport with an image problem since bare-fisted days, doesn't do itself any good with ad campaigns similar to the one touting Monday's pay-per-view bout between Razor Ruddock and Mike Tyson: "Ruddock KO'd Michael Dokes and Dokes may never fight again. A lot of fighters won't get in the ring with Ruddock . . . then, who in their right mind would?" The public, of course, eats it up.
* When a story broke that Digger Phelps was out as Notre Dame basketball coach and P.J. Carlesimo (Seton Hall) was in, Billy Packer of CBS said, "You wonder how people can report news like that." It seems Packer was cited as the informational source, but he said he was speaking facetiously when making reference to the situation. Problem is, people think Billy knows what he's talking about and isn't that the impression he's trying to convey?