Last month MLB celebrated a historic day as it marked 70 years since Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color barrier in 1947 and opened the doors for so many players to follow.
But if Robinson was still alive today he would be disappointed at the state of baseball.With the declining number of African-Americans playing, racial epithets still being thrown at players and less access for inner city kids to get into baseball, times have not changed.
There are currently just 7.1 percent playing down from 17.2 percent as recently as 1994, but it represents the lowest such figure since 1958 — barely a decade after Jackie and the Brooklyn Dodgers finally began the integration of the sport.
Then news broke on Monday that Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones was verbally threatened with racial slurs at Fenway Park and shed light on another issue.
How can baseball appeal to non-white audiences while it still faces racial problems within?
For years now MLB has openly talked about making the game more faster and appealing with so many other sport leagues attracting African-American youth with football and basketball, its no wonder that numbers are down.
Yet it's not only black players facing a cultural issue. As the number of Latin players in baseball continue to rise to 30% there is the constant narrative that these players are "flashy and don't play the game the right way". The same way Jackie Robinson was described when he broke into baseball.
Last year, for the first time ever, all 30 Major League ball clubs were required to hire a full-time Spanish-language translator. That it took until 2016 for baseball to provide a bridge between Spanish-speaking players and the public shows just how little baseball has cared about any story that fell outside its usual archetypes.
Baseball to some is "America's Pastime" but for others that just means it's a "white man's game".
In a league where 70% of its TV viewers are male, 83% are white and 50% are 55 and older, its no surprise that baseball hasn't done more to attract new fans. While the NBA and NFL flourish with cool and hip players like Stephen Curry and Cam Newton who's personalities pop off the TV screen, all baseball has to offer is Anaheim Angeles center fielder Mike Trout who is on track to become one of the greatest players of all time yet can't captivate fans like basketball and football stars do.
If baseball wants to make any changes it has to start at the top and change its culture at ballparks and in the clubhouse.
Instead of shying away from flamboyant bat flips embrace them. End the whole "stick to baseball" narrative when players speak about social issues. Market players that come from inner cities to inspire the next generation of stars. Ban fans that come to games that spew racial epithets at players.
Baseball has the players and power to bring back the audience its lost but if it doesn't make them soon it will be more than just numbers that it loses. It will lose its relevance.