ST. LOUIS The lessons begin in rookie ball.
Every team emphasizes fundamentals and preparedness, both physical and mental, in the hope it all becomes second nature as players climb through the farm system.
One organization's philosophy always seems to stick out. Everyone knows about The Cardinal Way.
Even before Opening Day this year, St. Louis was hit hard by season-ending injuries to longtime ace Chris Carpenter, closer Jason Motte and shortstop Rafael Furcal. As the summer wore on, the setbacks kept coming.
But the Cardinals kept dipping into the minors for replacements who did more than their share for a team that reached the World Series for the fourth time in 10 years.
The kids they plugged in, most by necessity, weren't wide-eyed. They remembered the teaching and just let their ability flow.
"There's definitely nerves that are going on," 22-year-old pitcher Michael Wacha said after beating Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw twice in the National League Championship Series. "You've just got to be able to control them and try to use them to your advantage out there.
"Just not let the moment get too big. Just take deep breaths."
Thanks to the farm system, St. Louis brings a deep pitching staff into the World Series against the Boston Red Sox.
Shelby Miller had a 3.06 ERA this season and led major-league rookies with 15 wins. Yet when the playoffs arrived, there was no room for him in the rotation.
Wacha is 3-0 with an 0.43 postseason ERA, and fellow rookie Trevor Rosenthal seized the closer's job in September when Edward Mujica faltered. Carlos Martinez stepped into the setup role, Seth Maness induced 16 double-play balls to lead N.L. relievers, and Kevin Siegrist posted an 0.45 regular-season ERA.
None of them shakes off catcher Yadier Molina, himself a product of The Cardinal Way.
"The minor leagues, they're doing a good job teaching them how to pitch, teaching them how to control the emotions," Molina said. "Whenever they move up here, they're ready. Mentally, they're ready from the get-go."
No doubt, they've gotten a little lucky, too. General manager John Mozeliak appreciates the organization-wide recognition, but he couldn't have predicted most of the prospects would come through this quickly. Wacha's sudden dominance is a pleasant surprise, and the same goes for Rosenthal and fill-in first baseman Matt Adams.
John Gast arrived with zero expectations and won his first two career starts. Tyler Lyons won his first two starts as well.
"None of that would have seemed right. Right?" Mozeliak said. "Our expectations were not for them to have so many fingerprints on this club. It's a great commentary on the organization."
Most of the World Series roster is homegrown, a strategy emphasizing scouting expertise and consistency in instruction that allows the Cardinals to keep pace with the big spenders.
When franchise icon Albert Pujols left following the 2011 title for a $240 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, Allen Craig stepped in at first base and blossomed into a big RBI guy at a fraction of the price. When Craig went down with a sprained foot in early September, Adams supplied power during the stretch drive.
The Cardinals aren't the only team surrounding a highly paid nucleus with products from the farm system. They're just one of the best at it.
Leadoff man Matt Carpenter led the majors in hits (199), runs (126) and doubles (55) this season. He also was a quick study defensively in transitioning from several positions to second base.
Pete Kozma hasn't let offensive woes bother him on defense, where he has shined at shortstop all season. Shane Robinson came off the bench to add a spark in the NLCS.
"We're very, very proud of what our development system, our scouts have done to choose the right kind of guys that can handle coming up here at a young age without a lot of experience," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "Our coaches and roving staff prepare these guys to come up and not be overwhelmed, but be ready."