The American League does nicely by the Orioles, sending the champion Royals into Baltimore for 1981 season's opening weekend with a 2 p.m. Friday, April 10, first pitch, and if that's worth Thanks . . . for further holiday openers, we leave the Giving to --

The amazingly affluent Chicago White Sox, announcing that Ron LeFlore has become one of them.

Playing with Ed DeBartolo Sr.'s megabucks although the AL has rejected his bid to buy the franchise, the Sox moved into first place in the free-agent signing derby with a long-term (they won't say how long), seven-figure ($2 mil?) contract for LaFlore, the National League stolen base king with 97 in his only Montreal campaign, on top of last week's $1 million shellout to journeyman Jim Essian for four years of catching. LeFlore slipped to .257 at bat and missed the Expos' NL East stretch race with the Phillies with a hand injury; but he was a .297 hitter in six Detroit seasons. Yet the Sox were the only team to draft him.

Oh. DeBartolo. He will make another try for approval at the almost-upon-us baseball meetings in Dallas. Meantime, Bill Veeck, lame-duck (?) club president, says the Ohio builder-Louisiana racetrack owner helped the LeFlore deal by "making funds available if we need them . . ."

Preseason all-ACC basketball team (114 media members voting): Al King 112, Ralph Sampson 103, Gene Banks 93, Al Wood 85, Jeff Lamp 55.

Howard may have won football respect, but no Gold Bowl trip. No matter that Howard was 6-2-2, including a 35-14 romp over North Carolina A&T. No matter that N.C. Central also bombed A&T, 49-13, just last Saturday. The dec. 6 postseason date in Richmond will rematch CIAA champion N.c. Central versus N.C. A&T (8-3 overall, 3-2 in MEAC to 2-2-1 for the Bison) . . .

Clarence Thomas calls from Baltimore in wonder over our item that Morgan State's athletic department first knew from the Sunday papers that he was stepping down as football coach. "I put the note in (A.D.) Earl Banks' hands on Friday," Thomas says . . . Turkey Day indeed. Happy one.