Nearly 50 years later, President Lyndon Johnson's goal to create the Great Society is still a topic of great debate as to its success or failure.
In baseball it won't take nearly that long to determine whether the Great Experiment is a success or failure. We should know before the end of this decade.
That "Experiment" is whether or not Miami can financially sustain a Major League Baseball team. Tonight and the next two to three seasons should be a great success. After years of debate, lawsuits and financial wrangling, the Miami Marlins (no longer the Florida Marlins) will debut their new ballpark, Marlins Park.
It's already being dubbed, "The Fish Tank."
Built on the site of the old Orange Bowl for $515 million, this intimate (37,000 seats — as small as Wrigley Field and Fenway Park), retractable roof stadium has glass panels beyond the outfield to show off Miami's skyline.
The team, barring injuries, looks to be, at worst, pretty good and they do have a handful of young players — Jose Reyes, Hanley Ramirez, Giancarlo "don't call me Mike" Stanton, Josh Johnson and Logan Morrison — who are exciting to watch.
But the name change, the new stadium, the new team colors (teal is out, black and orange with a touch of yellow, blue and red is in), and the hiring of a colorful and successful bilingual manager have all been done to see if once and for all a growing fan base will support a major league team.
The Latin American community.
By support, that means coming out to the ballpark. All of Major League Baseball and much of pro sports will be watching closely.
For years, the Marlins have had very good, if not great, TV and radio ratings on their Spanish-speaking stations. But Marlins attendance has been dreadful for most of those same years. In the past, there were many valid excuses. Now there are none.
The ballpark is in the part of the city known as Little Havana. It is roughly two miles from downtown Miami.
When you look up Miami on Wikipedia it tells you the city is "known as the capital of Latin America." Miami also is the second-largest U.S. city with a Spanish-speaking majority, and the largest with a Cuban-American plurality.
Give the Marlins credit, they have stopped running from this reality. Instead they have staked everything on thriving because of it.
Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig desperately wanted the Marlins to accept this challenge. He could have easily paved the way for the team to move elsewhere in recent years when it looked like a new stadium was never going to happen. But he knows that his sport, like America itself, is becoming less black and white every year.
Going forward, outside of New York and Los Angeles, Major League Baseball will only grow and thrive if it can get the growing Latin American communities throughout this country to invest more than just their time to his sport.
It needs their money.
Which is why the Great Experiment has begun.
The Dodgers may have sold for $2 billion, and the Yankees may be the engine that drives the sport.
But the most important MLB franchise the rest of this decade is none other than the Miami Marlins.
David Moulton is a freelance writer who co-hosts "Miller and Moulton in the Afternoon." The show airs weekdays from 2 to 7 p.m. on WWCN/AM 770 ESPN. His column appears Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.