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Stage set for colorful Caribbean Series

MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- There will be a chorus of air horns, deafening noise-makers and flags flapping in the stands at Estadio Quisqueya this week.

Expect to see cheerleaders dancing on the dugouts, grown men dressed in costume jumping up and down in their seats and plenty of people wearing Mexican wrestling masks.

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- There will be a chorus of air horns, deafening noise-makers and flags flapping in the stands at Estadio Quisqueya this week.

Expect to see cheerleaders dancing on the dugouts, grown men dressed in costume jumping up and down in their seats and plenty of people wearing Mexican wrestling masks.

There will be roars from the crown and vibrant rhythms from across Latin America blaring in the stands, on the concourse and outside of the stadium.

And of course, there will be baseball.

Welcome to the Caribbean Series.

Complete Caribbean Series coverage

This year's Caribbean Series pits Winter League champions Leones de Escogido from the Dominican Republic, Mexico's Venados de Mazatlan, Cangrejeros de Santurce from Puerto Rico and Venezuela's Tigres de Aragua against each other, beginning on Monday afternoon at Estadio Quisqueya.

Ciego de Avila, the Serie Nacional champion, will represent Cuba as a special guest. Cuba's Pinar del Rio squad won the Caribbean Series last year.

This year's tournament, which is dedicated to Hall of Famer and Dominican Republic legend Juan Marichal, will also feature a home run derby on Wednesday, an event which is expected to include David Ortiz, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Vladimir Guerrero and Cuba's Alfredo Despaigne.

The initial design of the series was 12 games, with each team squaring off against each other twice. A new format extended the double round-robin format an extra day in 2013, with a championship game played between the teams with the two best records. The latest format pits each team against each other once, followed by two semifinals and a championship game.

The history of the Caribbean Series can be traced back to the union of the leagues in Cuba, Panama, Puerto Rico and Venezuela and the formation of the Caribbean Federation in 1948. The first tournament was held a year later.

The Dominican Republic has won the Caribbean Series title 19 times. Puerto Rico has the second-most championships, with 14. Cuba has won eight times, including the 2014 title, Mexico has won eight and Venezuela has seven Caribbean Series championships.

It's an even field this year, with no clear-cut favorite. And it's easy to see why each team likes their chances to bring the title home in 2016.

The field

• A team from Mexico won the Caribbean Series championship in 2013 (Yaquis de Obregon) and '14 (Naranjeros de Hermosillo). Obregon also won the title in '11. Mazatlan won its first and only Caribbean Series title in 2005 in Mazatlan.

• Overall, Escogido has won four Caribbean Series titles and is the most recent team from the Dominican Republic to win the championship, taking home the title in 2010 and '12.

• A team from Puerto Rico has won the Caribbean Series 14 times, but the island has not taken home the title since Santurce won in 2000. Overall, Santurce has five Caribbean Series titles.

• Venezuela's Tigres won its lone Caribbean Series in 2009 in Mexicali, Mexico, marking the most recent time a team from the country captured the title. Venezuela has won seven Caribbean Series championships.

• Cuba, the defending champion, boasts a roster with familiar names like Yulieski Gourriel and Despaigne. In 2014, Villa Clara became the first team from the island to participate in the Caribbean Series since 1960, and it was eliminated in four games. Last year, the island defeated Mexico for the title.

The schedule (all games available live on Gameday)

Monday: Puerto Rico vs. Venezuela, 2 p.m. ET; Mexico vs. Dominican Republic, 7 p.m. ET.

Tuesday: Cuba vs. Mexico, 2:30 p.m.; Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela, 6:50 p.m.

Wednesday: Venezuela vs. Mexico, 2:30 p.m.; Puerto Rico vs. Cuba, 6:50 p.m.
Home run derby featuring Cabrera, Cano, Ortiz, Guerrero and Despaigne, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Venezuela vs. Cuba, 2:30 p.m.; Dominican Republic vs. Puerto Rico, 6:50 p.m.

Friday: Mexico vs. Puerto Rico, 2:30 p.m.; Cuba vs. Dominican Republic, 6:50 p.m.

Saturday: Semifinal game between second seed and third seed, 2:30 p.m.; semifinal game between top seed and fourth seed, 6:50 p.m.

Sunday: Final, 3 p.m.

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.