LAKE BUENVA VISTA, Fla. - Former Oriole general manager Roland Hemond is here at the Winter Meetings. Hemond is now in his sixth season as special assistant to the president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He was GM of the Orioles during a very interesting time, one that spanned the club's terrible start in 1988 which was followed by the 1989, "Why Not" season and he was GM when the club moved into Camden Yards.
"I joined the team and we lost our first 21 games," he said with a laugh earlier today during a video interview. "But then we won a game in Chicago and at home at Memorial Stadium we had 50,402 fans to greet us. That was the greatest support in baseball history, for a team that came to town 1-23.
"But the next year we made a tremendous comeback and went into the last weekend of the season before losing to Toronto. I would have loved to have gone onto postseason but we gave it all we had and I was proud of the entire organization."
Pretty good memory by Roland there. He was exactly right about the attendance on that May 2 day in 1988 in Baltimore.
A three-time winner of MLB's Executive of the Year award, Hemond has 62 years of professional baseball experience, including 23 seasons as a general manager with the White Sox (1971-85) and Orioles (1988-95) and five seasons as Senior Executive Vice President with the D-backs (1996-2000) during a first tour with that team.
Does he see a big difference from being a GM during the years he ran the Orioles and today?
"The price of the players puts on added pressure. You're making the right choice but then people are not satisfied that the player has lived up to beyond what he can do and it's not fair to the player as well. Some of them try too hard when they get the big contract and it affects their play. Others are satisfied and they don't have the same competitive spirit they had before. And the poor general manager pays the price when they don't produce," Hemond said.
The video with Hemond will be posted here shortly.