CLEVELAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Major League Baseball is taking over Cleveland for the next week. The All-Star game is, of course, on Tuesday, but before then, MLB’s Play Ball Park, an outdoor/indoor experience for fans, will be shown off.
At the park, fans can jump into a virtual reality batter’s box and even see some of the memorabilia from Cooperstown from the Hall of Fame.
“Awesome time,” said 10-year-old Rayonni Smith, of Cleveland, on Wednesday.
Media members along with some kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland got the first look at Play Ball Park, which will be featured downtown at the Convention Center.
“If you are a baseball fan, it is heavenly,” said Jackie Secaira-Cotto, director of Special Events at MLB.
This baseball paradise started construction about two weeks ago and is like living a dream. There is everything from outdoor batting cages to a virtual reality home run derby. You can also take a trip down memory lane and see the roots of the game from the Negro League to women in baseball. There will even be some big-time swag from Cooperstown.
“A whole case of Cleveland stuff,” said Erik Strohl, vice president of Exhibitions and Collections at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “And there is going to be all sorts of Cleveland history highlights from the early 20th century to very recently. Then we have many exhibit cases that are on six different topics, so a total of seven cases.”
Fans will also get the chance to meet some of their favorite All-Stars as meet and greets are scheduled not only with them, but with some well-known legends, too.
“If they are a baseball fan and they see Francisco Lindor, their faces just light up,” Secaira-Cotto said. “They remember it for the rest of their lives. It is creating those lifetime memories.”
“I would like to be a kid again!” said Indians legend Carlos Baerga. “If I am a parent, I would bring my kids to have fun. They are going to have the chance to meet the legend players like Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton, everybody [is] going to be here. And then with all the grand players, the All-Stars guys, it is going to be fun. I am happy that this is my second city. I am born in Puerto Rico, but I feel like Cleveland is my second city and I love it.”
All the fun begins on Friday! Hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Then on Tuesday, the fun begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m., before the All-Star game’s first pitch.