First Q&A a success w/Atkins - Wieters up next

Today's Garrett Atkins Q&A provided a first look preview of a summer of O's events to come.

Atkins arrived at the ESPN Zone shortly before noon and sat down center stage with the event's host, MASN O's broadcaster Jim Hunter.

"So Roch Kubatko tells me you're the most talkative guy in the clubhouse, and you're going to make my job easy for me today," Jim joked to start off the afternoon.

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Atkins admitted that Roch might have been exaggerating a bit, but the first-baseman seemed comfortable enough fielding questions from Jim and some of the O's fans in attendance.

To start things off, Atkins talked a little about getting to know his new teammates and what it's like to play with a guy like Miguel Tejada who can laugh at himself and keep things light in the clubhouse.

As the floor opened to fan questions, talk inevitably touched on the O's rough start, and one fan asked if the players are affected by the criticism surrounding their manager lately.

Atkins responded by noting that he went through something similar in Colorado and by owning up to it as a professional. As a player, Atkins said, you never want to blame anyone else. You want to blame yourself. Trembley, in Atkins's opinion, has done a good job, but the players are the ones who have to perform. Hard to argue with a response like that one...

And before the Q&A wrapped up for the afternoon, Jim Hunter also asked if it's harder to swallow a loss in a close game, and Atkins admitted that the close ones are tougher on players.

"You definitely feel it more," Atkins said. "When the game isn't close, you're kind of out of it more; but when you're getting your heart torn out in the eighth and ninth innings, you definitely feel it more. But you have to be a professional about it and move on."

Following the Q&A session, Atkins signed autographs for every last fan in line before heading out to prepare for another game against the Yankees at Camden Yards. Here's hoping the O's can make it three in a row!

Extra Atkins:
Garrett Atkins attended college at UCLA. What current Major Leaguer was his teammate and roommate there?

Heads Up:
You might also be interested to know the identity of the next Oriole to hit the ESPN Zone for a Q&A and autograph session. Clear your calendar on Monday, May 17 in order to catch fan favorite Matt Wieters at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore's Inner Harbor...

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