Baseball is in the air all weekend



ON DECK -- There's baseball talk in the air as we work up to Monday's season-opener with the Orioles and White Sox (2 p.m., Channel 2). Tonight, for example, ABC's "Primetime Live" has a scheduled interview with Boston Red Sox pitcher Roger Clemens, the highest paid player in the bigs, who also is among the more petulant, given his behavior with the umpires during last fall's American League Championship Series. The Orioles' final pre-season game, against the Yankees, is also on cable's ESPN tonight (at 7:30). Birds broadcaster Channel 2 offers its annual pre-season assessment/pep rally, "Memories and Magic," at 7 p.m. Sunday. And later that evening (at 9, Channel 11), CBS is screening the splendid "Field of Dreams," with Kevin Costner as the Iowa farmer who builds a ball yard in his corn field because a whispered voice promises, "If you build it, he will come."

CAMEO COMIC -- Caustic comedian Don Rickles' attempt at a series of his own some years back was a failure -- do you remember "C.P.O. Sharkey?" -- but he certainly has been busy over the years in guest shots on other shows. (Media Monitor remembers him, especially, as a thief on "The Dick Van Dyke Show" and as Maxwell Smart's suspicious friend on "Get Smart".) Rickles is at it again on Friday's "Hunter" (9 p.m., Channel 2) as a dry cleaner who is also involved in laundering ill-gotten cash.

THE YIDDISH STAGE -- Maryland Public Television launches on Friday (at 9 p.m., channels 22 and 67) a three-part edition of the "American Playhouse" series based on the short stories of Warren Adler. "The Sunset Gang" features Harold Gould and Tresa Hughes as Florida retirees who fall in love because they share a love of the Yiddish tongue.

ON THE MAP -- Not all school students have trouble locating things on a map, as can be seen in the broadcast Saturday (8 p.m. channels 22 and 67) of the final round in the third annual "Maryland State Geography Bee." The show is a taped record of Friday's contest at Prince George's Community College and including kids in the fourth through eighth grades.

COME ON OVER TO HIS HOUSE -- Comedian Bob Hope, who was in Saudi Arabia in December, welcomes U.S. service personnel to his own Palm Springs home for "A Homecoming Gala for Our Troops," at 9:30 Saturday on NBC (Channel 2). Patti LaBelle, James Stewart and Brooke Shields are among the performers in the show, which was taped last month.

A ROLE MODEL? -- The scheduled Sunday episode of ABC's "Life Goes On" sounds interesting: Corky (played by Chris Burke, in real-life a victim of Down's Syndrome) meets an adult with the same condition, also played by a Down's Syndrome actor, David McFarlane.

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