Baseball and the Dominican Republic have had a healthy partnership over the years, a symbiotic relationship that can grow even stronger in the future. That sentiment was made clear Tuesday, as Major League Baseball and the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development completed a two-day symposium on improving the game in that island nation.
The symposium, entitled "Goals and Challenges of MLB in the Dominican Republic," was centered on addressing important issues regarding the sport's operations. The presenters -- a wide-ranging group of baseball luminaries -- dealt with several serious topics, including the improvement of education for players and ways to optimize the development of prospects.
Rob Manfred, the league's executive vice president for labor relations and human resources, was on hand, as was John McHale Jr., the league's executive vice president of administration and chief information officer. Sandy Alderson, currently employed as the general manager of the Mets, spent two days with the symposium, working on his previous area of interest.
Alderson, before signing on with the Mets, worked with the league's office in diagnosing the lay of the land in the Dominican. Alderson, in fact, still serves as a member of MLB's Latin American Oversight Committee.
Manfred released a statement lauding the diverse panel that took a look at the future of the game in the Dominican.
"I am very pleased that representatives from many different facets of baseball in the Dominican Republic took part in this great event and produced a thorough, thoughtful dialogue," said Manfred of the two-day event. "Major League Baseball is proud of the many contributions that the Dominican Republic has made to our game, and we are aiming to protect and enhance the vitality of baseball in the Dominican Republic in the years to come."
The symposium also included Jorge E. Perez-Diaz, the league's head of Latin American Oversight, and a host of government officials and club employees. Former Major League players were also involved in the panel discussion, as were members of the Major League Baseball Players Association, independent trainers and scouts affiliated with big league teams.
"Major League Baseball is working together with the appropriate parties to find solutions to many long-term issues," said Perez-Diaz as part of a prepared statement framing the symposium's stated goals. "The Symposium is a strong example of communication and collaboration, which are the keys to maintaining our progress going forward."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.