In a sport with constant change, the Orioles' Elrod Hendricks is the very soul of stability.

Throughout the majors there are new players, new managers, new league alignments, even new teams. Two expansion franchises were added during the strike.

Look at the newness of the Orioles:

The manager (Phil Regan) is in his first year.

Pete Angelos and his partners have owned the club less than two years. The player roster is constantly altered.

All of Regan's coaches are new this year except one -- Hendricks. Elrod is in his 27th season in an Orioles uniform, his 18th straight as the club's bullpen catcher.

If you don't think that's a long time, consider: Brooks Robinson spent only 21 seasons in an Orioles uniform.

Ellie came to the Orioles in 1968, when they were on the verge of winning three straight pennants ('69-'71), and he is still with them now as they struggle to avoid last place in the American League East.

At 9 a.m. yesterday, with the Orioles just back from a disastrous road trip, Hendricks opened the baseball camp he and Mike McMillan have run on the beautiful McDonogh School campus for 14 years.

Two of Elrod's sons -- Ryan and Ian -- are McDonogh graduates. Ryan is playing ball at Huntington, W.Va. Ian is a student-athlete at St. Andrews College in North Carolina.

Make no mistake about it -- Elrod Hendricks is entrenched here.

Naturally some of the parents delivering campers asked about the struggling Orioles.

What was wrong? L How could the club have lost six straight on that road trip?

How could Mike Mussina have given up six runs while facing only ten hitters?

"We've made too many changes," Hendricks said. "It's good to make maybe five changes a year, but 12 changes out of 25 players is too much."

Not that Hendricks thinks the Orioles should stand pat.

"I see you got rid of Andy Van Slyke," a camp mother told him. "I liked Andy because he was more my age."

"We didn't get rid of him," Elrod said. "He was traded to Philadelphia. Now we need to make about three more changes.

"Our trouble is, we have some young players coming up the hill who are not sure they belong here, and we have some coming down the hill who aren't sure they still belong up here. NTC "Some of our best pitchers -- the ones we look to for help -- are looking for help themselves."