ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Orioles general manager Roland Hemond has been through this before. In 1983, when he was GM of the Chicago White Sox. And in 1988, after he took over the Orioles.
In each of those seasons, the team for which he was responsible began the year far below expectations, and he was bombarded with criticism.
"Tony [La Russa] and I took a beating in the early part of 1983," he said, "and we came back and won it. I'm not saying that's what's going to necessarily happen this year, but that [the criticism] is just part of it."
Hemond said he doesn't listen to the call-in shows; the Orioles in general and Hemond in particular have been a favorite topic of late, with the team starting slowly.
"You don't want to put yourself through that stress," Hemond said.
He does read some stories regarding the Orioles. "I can look at some criticism and say we deserve it -- you're not always right . . . [but] you can't let it affect you, because then you can't do your job correctly.
"You don't give in -- you keep working at it, and you're proud for everybody who fights through it.
"I recognize there are times you deserve the criticism. You take the stuff, you're resilient, you keep working and you're proud. . . . What you try to do is make the best possible decision on a given day."
The Orioles are 13-18 after last night's win. Hemond says the shortened spring training and the fact that the club played all of its spring exhibition schedule on the road -- thereby missing many of the daily workouts enjoyed by other teams -- has hurt the Orioles.
"It was wishful thinking to believe we would get off to a great start," Hemond said. "I don't want to alibi, because other teams will say that we were all going through the same thing. But we had very little quality time on the field."
But Hemond says he believes the Orioles can rebound. "It's a good group of players," he said, "and they'll start blending as they go along. We need to win a few in a row, over a week or 10 days.
"There are a lot of other teams experiencing problems themselves. The Yankees scored, what, six runs in five days? The White Sox have had trouble getting on a roll. . . . We just have to, as a group, work toward a common purpose."
Hemond observed that pitcher Mike Mussina and others spoke out this week about the club's slow start.
"I noticed the players are taking personal responsibility," Hemond said, "judging by their statements. I respect them for that. We [in the front office] have to do it, too."
Hemond was heartened by the Orioles' comeback on Tuesday night, when they tied the game against left-hander Mark Langston and won in the 10th inning.
"Langston is tough. We finally got to him and tied it up.
"When they didn't score in the ninth, that could've been discouraging. But they made clutch plays.
"That was a sign of character. . . . We'll be all right."