The TV repairman:
Nothing like a good range war to liven things up at the old ballyard. WBAL, which has long taken shots at Channel 2 by suggesting Orioles fans turn down the sound on the telecast and listen to the radio broadcast, is at it again, knocking WMAR for a recent call-in poll it conducted.
"Bush," says Jeff Rimer of the question, "Should Frank Robinson be fired?" posed by the TV station. "Notice, they did it when the Orioles were on the road. How gutless can you get?"
Meanwhile, up at 6400 York Road, sports guys say the poll wasn't their idea, but was ordered up by the news department. The O's manager should take a stroll through his clubhouse and ask the players, "Should Arnie Kleiner be zapped as general manager of Channel 2?"
* The daily Tour Du Pont update shows on ESPN weren't up to network standards -- they were far superior. CBS moves in for the grand finale Sunday (1:30 p.m.) and should hope to do as well.
Speaking of fabulous coverage, SportsChannel America has been exceptional throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs. Too bad it's almost a secret, since SCA goes into only 16 million homes.
* If CBS cuts away from one more golf tournament as players tee it up in a sudden-death playoff, as happened last Sunday in Atlanta, I will not be held responsible for what I say about Morley Safer.
* This is a great evening for telly with pro hoops on TNT, the Stanley Cup on HTS, and the Orioles and Angels on Channel 2, all after ESPN carries this afternoon's Black-Eyed Susan and Dixie Handicap turf races from Pimlico on tape delay at 6 p.m. So you help with the weekly run to the supermarket tomorrow.
* ABC's nearly flawless coverage of the Triple Crown inundates the Preakness tomorrow starting at 4:30 p.m., and the really hooked horse racing fan can get a warmup hour on ESPN at 3:30.
* While WBAL-AM serves as Maryland's flagship station for the next three years, it will take any announcing team the Terps and rights holder Jefferson-Pilot designates -- meaning Johnny Holliday, Tom Matte and Greg Manning will probably be back at the mikes.
All in favor . . .
* One of the joys of listening to Doug Collins do commentary on NBA games for TNT is from time to time he will point out, in not too subtle terms, how some of the guys don't really know how to play.
Situation: Chicago beating Philadelphia by one point, 38 seconds remaining and Michael Jordan drives to the hoop for a score. "Oh no," squeals Collins, "Armon Gilliam can't give Jordan a layup in that situation."
* If the truth be known, the only crowd shots worth looking at on the telly are those emanating from Memorial Coliseum in Portland. Real Ma and Pa folks out there; none of the glitzies in Los Angeles or the exhibitionists in most other locales.
* Sudden thought regarding the NBA: If a game isn't on TNT, does it count?
The Lakers and Blazers get the West final going tomorrow (3 p.m.) with the Sunday fracas being either Game 7, Celtics vs. Pistons, or Game 1, Bulls vs. Detroit if the Pistons beat Boston tonight (TNT, 8).
* NBC will attempt to imbue cosmic anticipation on Sunday's NBA draft lottery show at halftime of a playoff game starting at 3:15 p.m., but everyone knows the ritual has been a dud since it was originally conceived to deliver Patrick Ewing to New York in 1985.
* Good news for the upcoming Kemper Open at Avenel in Potomac on Ceeee-Beeee-Sssss: The Shark, Greg Norman, says he'll probably come and play because he has to jump into a couple of tournaments to make the required 15 to keep him in good standing with the PGA.
* Rex "I just talked to (fill in the blank)" Barney thinks ballplayers shouldn't be open and truthful with the press, a strange attitude for a guy who conducts a sports talk show a couple of times a week.The ol' pablum dispenser seemed hurt pitcher Jeff Ballard expressed dissatisfaction with being lifted from the game, saying players' complaints shouldn't go beyond the clubhouse.
* A couple of unstated reasons why Mike Tyson pulled out of his pay-per-view rematch with Razor Ruddock are (1) general lack of interest by the purchasing public, and (2) general lack of interest by Tyson, who has been known to lose or perform poorly when he's not motivated. The rest of the show, containing a couple of title bouts, will go as scheduled.
* Pssst, it's nail-biting time in the WLAF, London (8-0) playing Sacramento (2-6) tomorrow at 8, Montreal (3-4) vs. San Antonio (3-5) on ABC Sunday (12:30 p.m.), and New York-Jersey (4-4) vs. Birmingham (3-5) Monday (8 p.m.). If the old ticker can stand the excitement, be warned the playoffs begin June 1.
* HBO is doing the Hector Comacho-Greg Haugen fight from Reno tomorrow (10 p.m.), affording fans the opportunity to line up behind a winner as they root passionately for both of these cretins to lose.