When Ron Washington became the Texas Rangers manager in 2007 his baseball pedigree had already taught him there were no shortcuts to success.
I came up through the Kansas City Royals organization and the (Los Angeles) Dodgers organization, said the 59-year-old former big-league infielder.
They've always been organizations that believed in completeness, and that's doing everything that the game says you have to do, play defense, pitch, run the bases, try to look for opportunities to take advantage of.
When an opportunity presented itself to me to be the manager of a ballclub, I had to put my stamp on it. And my stamp is what I learned through all my years in the game.
Washington's reliance on fundamentals has the Rangers in their second consecutive World Series.
Texas lost to the San Francisco Giants in the Fall Classic a year ago, falling in five games. Despite the setback, Washington never wavered in his philosophy.
Number one, you've got to pitch, he said. It comes into play every single day. Number two, you have to play defense. Those are two parts of the game I feel should never take a day off. Good pitching stops hitting.
And then the next thing you have to do is take advantage on the base paths. I was a speed guy. The organizations I was in were speed people, and everywhere I've been in this game, it's been a part of my game.
Washington will hand the ball to right-hander Colby Lewis to start for the Rangers in Thursday's Game Two facing St. Louis southpaw Jaime Garcia.
Lewis, who pitched in Japan in 2008-09 before rejoining the Rangers last year, is not concerned about the unfamiliar surroundings of Busch Stadium.
I've never pitched here, he told reporters. All the dimensions are the same, 60 feet (from pitcher's mound to the plate), 90 feet (between bases), all the good stuff. It's just another stadium.
They haven't played in our stadium yet, either, this year. It's just adapting. With the weather, stadiums, everything is you just adapt to it and go have fun.
Lewis, 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two postseason starts this year, said the cool weather in St. Louis doesn't matter. The temperature for the start of Wednesday's game was 49 degrees (9 Celsius) and dipped from there.
When it's hot, you try to find a cool spot to cool off in between innings, he said. When it's cold, you're going to try to find a warm spot to warm up, stay warm.
It's just adapting to your surroundings and stay focused.