After Sunday's tremendous performance by Mike Wright (7 1/3 shutout innings) in his major league debut, you have to wonder what allowed this 25-year-old kid out of East Carolina University to be so cool under pressure.
Well, he was battling the Los Angeles Angels. It's not like he was fighting Dementors.
Confused? Well, then you obviously haven't read the incomparable "Harry Potter' series of young-adult fantasy books.
Wright has read all seven – at least three times each.
And on Sunday afternoon, hours before the biggest moment of his life, Wright was in the stands of an empty Camden Yards reading, "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows," the series' seventh and final installment.
It's part of his pregame routine on days he starts, one he wasn't changing just because he is now in the majors.
"I go outside before the game to get used to the weather," Wright said. "So I'm not in here in the [air conditioning] and then go outside and get shell-shocked."
He always takes a book out to the stands with him and reads. The books differ, he said, but Harry Potter is an old stand-by.
Here are some reactions to Wright's day of pitching wizardry:
Orioles manager Buck Showalter: "His presentation was real confident. He's done some things the way it used to be done, where you make every stop [in the minors]. And you do things at a level [and] you're not wondering if you had done real well at the level you left. That's the blueprint of coming through [to the majors]."
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones: "I'm happy for him. He went out there and pitched. He went out there and threw strikes. That's the thing that he has. I told him after the game, 'Trust your stuff.'"
Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph: "Really impressive. It's exciting for him. I've played with him in Double-A and Triple-A, and been able to be a part of somebody's debut and then an impressive debut at that. It was special. Very excited for him. I know he's got a lot of family here, and it's exciting for them, too. Any time you make your debut, it's just a real special time. But to do it against a really good lineup that they have and some big-name players is really great."
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols: "We didn't have too much video on him, but no excuse. Don't see much video on guys coming out of [the] 'pen, have to go with the scouting report. I think we took some good swings and he kept us off-balance all day."
Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella: "He was basically just on top of the fastball and we couldn't square it up. He was coming at us. You have to tip your hat to him. He battled and really took it to us."