Balancing personal success vs. wins

Portland, OR-- The Beavers, coming off a rain-shortened 2-1 series win over Fresno to kick off the 2008 season, cruised to a 9-1 victory over Sacramento Monday night in the opener of a four game stint at PGE Park.

Beavers starter Wade LeBlanc was strong in six innings, scattering four hits and a single run, which came on a solo shot in the second inning by Sacramento catcher Landon Powell. The Beavers responded quickly, scoring two runs in the bottom of the inning on a two-run single by center fielder Will Venable, and never looked back. Craig Stansberry, Brian Myrow, Nick Hundley and Luis Rodriguez all pitched in with insurance RBIs, while relievers Mike Adams and Jared Wells held Sacramento scoreless for the remainder of the game.

While tonight's game is in the books, the young season still leaves much to be decided. Not only does it remain to be seen how the Beavers will fare in the Pacific Coast League, but also who'll emerge as team leaders, and who'll ultimately see playing time with the big club.

And that raises any interesting question:

How do minor league players strike a balance between making a personal case for promotion and keeping an eye towards putting together a winning season with their current team?

I asked a few Beavers for their take on the subject:

"There's always a lot going on at this level. As everyone knows, the major league roster's not going to go without 25 players. We're here to support them, both by performance…and for health reasons. So, it's tough to create some consistency, but this is the business we're in, and we try to do the best we can. It's such a game of performance. So, between all the interference…they've still got to get themselves ready to compete…pitch well and play well." - Beavers manager Randy Ready

"What I can do to excel here is accept what I've been given and do it to the best of my ability. I don't think you get to this level and perform well here trying to be something that you're not." -Beavers pitcher Dirk Hayhurst

"Ultimately, every person has a role on the team. Hopefully, your role on this team will be best for you because that'll be your role on the big league team. But, it just depends on if the player accepts that role. The way this game is supposed to be played is to win. It's supposed to be played for the team. Any time you play selfishly, you're doing yourself a disservice. If I go out there with the idea to win the game, I'll be putting myself in a better place." - Beavers infielder Craig Stansberry

It's a tough question. And while there's no consensus on the answer, there's one thing everyone can agree on: a 9-1 victory tends to make the future seem just a little bit brighter for all involved.

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