BIRD WATCHING: The Baltimore Orioles and WMAR-TV-2 reached an agreement for the NBC affiliate to show 50 regular season and two spring training games for each of the next three years. Channel 2, which shares the team's regional broadcasts with Home Team Sports, has 45 regular season telecasts this season. Games on WMAR can be seen in the Washington area on WDCA-TV-20.

VIN ON THE AIRWAVES: Legendary sports announcer Vin Scully returns after eight years to CBS Radio for the network's World Series coverage this fall. Scully, who will team with Johnny Bench, announced NBC-TV's "Game of the Week" for seven years, but he was limited to Dodgers broadcasts this year after CBS bought the national TV rights. WTOP-1500 in Washington and WAGE-1200 in Leesburg carry CBS games.

CAPS TO CANNONS: Ron Weber, Washington Capitals radio announcer since the team's inception in 1974, will provide WNVT-TV-53's play-by-play Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for the minor league baseball game between Prince William and Winston-Salem.

TNT BLUES: Despite the appearance of the United States for the first time in 40 years, TNT earned low ratings for its World Cup coverage of the Americans in Italy. The three matches -- two weekday games and a Sunday telecast -- averaged a 1.3 rating and a 4 share.

LATE NIGHT: One night during the NBA Finals, Charles Barkley was hanging out in the media hospitality room. Barkley, ESPN's guest analyst, turned on the television to catch a tape of Van Earl Wright, the exuberant sports announcer for "Headline News."

When Wright failed to give his usual spirited call on a home run highlight, Barkley got Wright's home phone number from a CNN reporter and called him.

"You owe me a deeeeeeeeep!" he yelled.

It was 4 a.m.

ESPNING: ESPN has acquired the television rights to the Liberty Bowl (Dec. 27) and East-West Shrine Game (Jan. 26, 1991) and has extended its deal for the All American Bowl (Dec. 28). The network also has the Holiday, Gator, Japan and Senior bowls.

For its nine-day coverage of the U.S. Olympic Festival July 7-15, ESPN will use 21 announcers, including former athletes John Naber, Bart Conner, Tracy Caulkins and Dwight Stones, for its 30 hours of coverage.

LOCAL HERO: Jeff Hoffman, a Bowie native and University of Maryland graduate, was promoted to senior sports producer at KNBC-TV-4 in Los Angeles. He was a producer for WRC-TV-4 in Washington in 1984-87 and WJZ-TV-13 in Baltimore in 1987-89.