So what's the special sauce that has helped the West Virginia Power reverse its fortunes from the beginning of the South Atlantic League season? Could it be that it's nothing really special?
Could it be that the ordinary has allowed the team to perform the extraordinary?
With its 6-2 win over the Lexington Legends on Sunday, the Power had won nine of its last 12 games and climbed back to .500 on the season at 18-18. It was the team's best stretch of the season and a major turnaround from the vast majority of April. One of the keys to that change, Power Manager Mike Ryan said, is that a young group of players simply is getting used to the grind of professional baseball.
"We're trying to get them to understand that so they can be comfortable and get into some kind of routine," Ryan said. "They know what to expect."
The Power spent much of the first month of the season pretty disappointed. The team dropped six of its first seven games, rebounded in the middle of the month, then slumped again. The second slide was almost as bad as the first, losing eight of 11. The Power limped into the end of April at 9-15, and the biggest problems came on the pitching mound, where walks and runs started to pile up, but wins didn't.
Yet from the last game of April, a 10-1 win over Savannah, the Power pulled itself out of the morass. And a significant part of the remedy was just settling into a groove.
"They're starting to know their roles and know their routines," Ryan said, "when they're going to play, when they're not going to play, what their days off are, where they're going to be in the lineup, what position they may play a certain day."
"I was a firm believer of it whenever I played," he added. "I had managers tell me what my schedule was going to be. That way I could prepare and it just made me comfortable."
Many athletes don't like surprises. Heck, some of them have their routines down to what's on their menus each day or which sock they put on first. They're creatures of habit and those habits offer calmness and balance. And calm nerves could mean the difference between batting .270 and .300.