NEITHER SNOW NOR sleet would have stayed

the voice of Howard Cosell from Montreal, but whoever is still following baseball through this weird and less-than-wonderful season can stash the parka jokes about the Great North American Pastime--because manager Tom Lasorda's boys of fall have made this year's World Series (the "one and only" one, ABC reminds us) a television network's dream: Los Angeles and New York are the big-time markets. And regardless of how uninterested the rest of the continent turns out to be, it's coming to us live and for real, unlike "Valley of the Dolls 1981, Part 2" or "The Day the Women Got Even" (1980).

Still, for those of us in a teamless town who have adopted and come to love the Orioles from up the road, this crazy half-and-half season is a no-count-- Earl Weaver and the Birds need an entire, uninterrupted season to play their rhythms. Nevertheless, the National League pennant playoffs did provide the right kind of ninth-inning thrills, and this week does promise at least an exhibition of some of the best that money can buy in baseball today.

Greed, in fact, is a winner already; it has brought the top talent--athletic as well as show-biz--to the Yankees and the Dodgers, the teams and names we all know and love and maybe hate just a little. This being the case, it is as unnecessary as it is trite to say "may the best team win." It will.