The Boston Red Sox had not won the World Series since 1918. The Chicago Cubs had not won the World Series since 1908.
People wondered aloud if the franchises were cursed.
One man came in and provided first the Red Sox and then the Cubs with franchise make-overs that led to the Red Sox winning World Series championships in 2004 (and again in 2007) and the Chicago Cubs winning it all in 2016.
How did Theo Epstein do it?
Each baseball franchise has several teams beneath it that feed into the Major League team. Epstein emphasized player development and rebuilt both franchises' farm systems
EVERY general manager TALKS about nurturing talent, but most do not actually execute it or have a plan that doesn't work.
Essentially, Epstein made this choice - TO GROW AND DEVELOP TALENT FROM A YOUNG AGE KNOWING THAT SPENDING ENERGY ON HUNDREDS OF PLAYERS WILL LEAD TO A FEW OF THEM BECOMING MAJOR LEAGUE PLAYERS NO ONE SAW COMING
I think as a Church in the US it seems we take the same approach as most major league baseball teams - we TALK about developing our young people, but our plan isn't actually working and we seem to be okay with that.
I think a lot of times we wait for young men to call us and say "hey, I want to be a priest" or "hey, I want to get married"
What we need to be doing is really fostering the notion of vocations from a young age, and DEVELOP THAT TALENT WITH EFFECTIVE PROGRAMS THAT ARE WORKING
Priests and parents and bishops need to get together and put together a SYSTEMATIC approach that says WE ARE NOT NURTURING OUR CHILDREN, WE ARE NOT NURTURING VOCATIONS, WHAT SPECIFICALLY CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY???
Whether it is marriage, consecrated religious life, or priesthood, our farm system IS IN SHAMBLES
We reap what we sow, and so we shouldn't be surprised that we are struggling to develop young people committed to marriage, nor should we be surprised that a lack of young people are interested in the priesthood or religious life
We need to have a real serious talk about what we can do to help develop our young people into saints. We need to reexamine our farm system, and I think a lot of what we are doing needs to be burned down and rebooted