Ready sees success by promotions to San Diego

Matt Antonelli is headed to San Diego

On a beautiful warm evening, in front of nearly 12,000 boisterous fans that included a young guy who wouldn't rest until he got a good wave going, and a tiny girl with pink glasses who kept shouting "Shut 'em down!" regardless of which team was up at-bat, the Portland Beavers closed out their 2008 home schedule in style, soundly beating the PCL North Division champion Salt Lake Bees 7-2.

Even though Portland has faltered a little down the stretch, it's hard not to call their 2008 season a success. With a few games still left to play, they have 70 wins – 12 more than last season – and will at least match their highest win total in four years.

The many fans that came out to PGE Park this season usually didn't go home disappointed; an exciting and resilient team, the Beavers won several games in their final at bat.

Perhaps the truest measure of success for a minor league team is the amount of players who do well enough to get promoted up to the big league club. This season numerous players were sent up to the Padres (a recent ESPN.com article about the team started off by asking "The Portland Padres? The San Diego Beavers?") and many, including Chase Headley, Edgar Gonzalez, and Nick Hundley have made significant contributions.

Randy Ready, who was recently named the Pacific Coast League's best manager prospect by Baseball America, talks about the 2008 season.

How did you enjoy Portland?

Randy Ready: Portland was awesome, the community was great. The weather didn't cooperate with us in April in May, but once June rolled around we really found out how beautiful the Northwest is in the summer. I think that the players responded well to that, and I think the fans responded well too with the turnouts, the way they supported us all summer long.

Overall, how do you think the season went?

Randy Ready: I thought we had a B-plus going until about two weeks ago then we just kind of hit a little lull in the action. But, I think overall, I would call it a success. We moved a lot of players to the major leagues this summer, and that's the business that we're in, we're here to support the San Diego Padres. We sent a lot of guys up there, their first opportunity to play in the major leagues, and that's gratifying not only as a manager but from the staff, from the hard work we've put in. When we started the season April 3rd with 24 guys, I said I hope every one of you guys get an opportunity to play in the major leagues, and the majority of those guys have gotten that opportunity this summer.

Would you say player progression is more important than wins and losses?

Randy Ready: Yeah, obviously developing a winning attitude around here [is important]. The players have responded well to that, the players that have come in from the moves have done a nice job making contributions right away. We've had a nice blend all year long, I'm proud of the players. There's been no drama, they've all worked hard, and that's why some guys have had a lot of success this summer.

Do you think the expectations you had coming into this year were met?

Randy Ready: Yeah, individually for the players, I think they all made progress. We try to maintain our strengths and work on weaknesses, and I think we did exactly that as an organization. The win-loss record, that's part of the deal, everybody wants to play over .500 baseball, everybody wants to get into the playoffs, and that's the reason why we play the game, to compete at that level. We fell a little shy as far as that goal is concerned but [as] for guys making progress, I think we did okay.

Will you at some point be meeting with Padres personnel to discuss the season?

Randy Ready: We file reports on each and every player [and] through our evaluations and being around them everyday and having our arms around them, that all goes to the Padres organization by mid-September. We're in constant communication with them, they know exactly how the players stand and what they're doing.

After that final game, how soon will you be thinking about next year?

Randy Ready: [Laughs] It takes a little while to lose the weirdness but it only takes a few days and it seems like everybody's ready to go again. We'll get a little downtime and everybody will get a chance to enjoy their family.

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