SAN DIEGO -- With All-Star Game banners and logos sprouting up around San Diego this week, the first Major League Baseball-sanctioned event began Thursday with the opening of Play Ball Park in the East Village.
The venue will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Sunday in front of the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel, One Park Blvd. Monday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park, which looks like the Wiffle Ball stadium at the Park in the Park, will be open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday.
Among the scheduled free programs are skills instruction from USA Softball and USA Baseball, games run by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and coaches training by the Positive Coaching Alliance. Otherwise, youth ages 5-17 can just go out and play.
"I had the opportunity through the Padres to bring my team out there," Kevin Ward, a coach of the San Diego Stars team, told NBC San Diego. "This close to the All-Star Game and all the Major League Baseball logos -- all the atmosphere -- it's everything I want to convey as a coach and a manager."
The MLB All-Star FanFest is set to open Friday at the San Diego Convention Center, where more than 40 former players will offer instruction and take part in question-and-answer sessions. The event will also include hands-on activities like home run derbies, pitching and stealing bases.
The FanFest will also include artifacts from the National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum, batting cages, and activities like home run derbies, fielding and base stealing.
Baseball's All-Star Game is scheduled for Tuesday at Petco Park.