SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- This year's Caribbean Series has found a home in Cooperstown, N.Y.
National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum president Jeff Idelson and Jean Fruth, the Hall of Fame's traveling photographer, are on the island this week gathering items and documenting the annual tournament between the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. Cuba, an original member of the Caribbean Confederation, is participating in the tournament as a special guest for the third consecutive year.
"The Baseball Hall of Fame represents the game in other countries, not just in the United States, and the Caribbean Series is an important part of the baseball calendar," Idelson said. "It's an opportunity to come down here, renew some relationships and make some new friends, and bring some artifacts for our Viva Baseball! exhibit as well."
Last year, Idelson attended the Caribbean Series in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and returned to Cooperstown with several items, including the championship jersey of Pinar del Río outfielder Roel Santos from Cuba.
This week, Idelson has met Major League Baseball officials, Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal and Heriberto Suarez Pereda, the commissioner of baseball in Cuba. Idelson's been busy inside and outside of Estadio Quisqueya before and after games, gathering items that tell the tournament's story.
"As the number of Latino players continues to be significant in the Major Leagues, and those players having a significant role in shaping the American game, Viva Baseball! continues to grow," Idelson said. "There are a growing number of players from Cuba, and the Dominican, of course, has a big presence.
"It's really about documenting the culture of the game in these countries for Americans who have not been here to understand, as well as for Latino fans who can come and see their culture on display in Cooperstown."
The Viva Baseball! exhibit was opened in 2009 to recognize the impact of Latin America on baseball through an exhibit that celebrates Caribbean countries and its players. All of Fruth's work will reside in the permanent archives, and some will be used in the Viva Baseball! exhibit.
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.