When I was in 6th grade, my classmates and I spent the winter playing organized intramural basketball after school. My class comprised a league of four teams (my team nicknamed themselves Phi Slama Jama, though Drexler and Olajuwon were noticeably absent), and we played two games side-by-side on shortened courts. It wasn't until 7th grade that my class had tryouts for one real team that would compete against other schools on the regulation court.
The high school varsity coaches, however, weren't waiting until even the 7th grade to build a winner.
As it turned out, the varsity basketball coach of the high school was my homeroom English teacher in 6th grade. Every now and again we were able to coax him into talking basketball rather than the subject at hand, a diversion that in retrospect he probably enjoyed as much as we did. Those talks and those seemingly chaotic intramural games had one thing in common: the flex.
The flex was a complicated offense, well complicated for 6th graders who could barely discern the difference between man-to-man and a box-and-one. By many accounts, it was complicated for high school varsity players as well, as it involved crisp passing and a lot of coordinated movement away from the ball. So, this small school in Northern Virginia that wasn't necessarily competing for national championships started teaching the flex offense... in the 6th grade.
Guess what offense we ran in the 7th grade? 8th grade? And so on.
There were two primary results from this process: 1) by the time anyone reached the varsity basketball team the flex offense was second nature and 2) we won a whole lot of basketball games - many more than our talent (or certainly my talent) would have ever dictated.
The point of this is that organizational consistency is absolutely critical for any successful venture. I don't care if you're building cars, running a platoon, or rating debt; consistency and the resulting discipline and cohesion are fundamental elements of high achievement.
Notice here that I am not judging the process in place - the merits of the flex offense or the efficiency of the assembly line. That's because there isn't necessarily one perfect way to do things, at least not that we've been able to find. In baseball there have been many successful strategies in procuring players, developing players, and winning at the Major League level. Regardless of the plan, if an organization adheres strictly to their plan, it will lead to concerted execution, and that execution will more often than not lead to success.
Readers have asked that I comment about the resignation of our hitting instructor, and this is my way of doing so. If Wally really didn't believe in our philosophy, then he absolutely did the right thing for everyone involved. I'm sure it was not fun for him to swim against the tide, and he realized that it wasn't good for the organization either. Again, this is not offering any judgment on who is right or wrong - that's immaterial, and there really isn't a right or wrong philosophy. This situation is simply an acknowledgement from all parties that for the Padres to be successful we need to believe wholeheartedly in the philosophies and practices that we, as an organization, adopt.
This also does not imply that our philosophies are set in stone, so please don't quote Emerson in the comments. In fact, I personally hope that both our continued work and intellectual curiosity reveal evidence that would force us either to refine or to tear down our current beliefs. That means we're learning and getting better. If and when that happens, though, we need to be prepared to implement our new knowledge in the Dominican Republic, Lake Elsinore, San Diego, and everywhere else in between. That is how we will be successful in our quest to become a championship organization.