By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – Major League Baseball previewed the free fan experience it has created for All-Star Week at the Colorado Convention Center on Thursday, a celebration of the sport created in just over two months. League staff who created Play Ball Park say it will be an upgrade from previous offerings during the All-Star Game including the last time the event was held in Colorado.

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“We have a new version of it so really excited to show that off and hey we’ve been cooped up for over a year and this is really the first opportunity I think for fans to come out and celebrate,” said Jacqueline Secaira-Cotto, the director of special events for MLB.

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Occupying 400,000 square feet inside the convention center, Play Ball Park includes three indoor diamonds with multiple interactive destinations for fans to work on their pitching and batting skills. Part of the setup includes an outdoor batting cage as well. The history of the league and the sport in general will be on display as well with sections devoted to women in baseball and the Negro leagues.

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“They taught me how to hold the bat, get good position on the bat,” said Robert Hunter, 13, a student with the Boys & Girls Club visiting Play Ball Park the day before it opens. MLB invited members of a local club to help test out various experiences on Thursday. “I think they should try it out because it’s fun, good competition, you can do it with your friends and family.”

MLB says 100,000 tickets were already released to the public in advance for the five days Play Ball Park will be available starting Friday and continuing Tuesday, the day of the All-Star Game. Another section will be devoted to the league’s Hall of Fame and trophies. The event even houses the world’s largest baseball.

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Hunter and other students at the convention center got tips from some of the best in the league including former Rockies All-Star Vinny Castilla. Not only is he excited to see the event back in Colorado but he appreciates the chance to help more teens learn about the sport.

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“How you grab a bat, how you strike through the ball, just the basics for hitting,” he said on Thursday. “I think it’s great, I think it’s great to keep promoting the game.”

Advanced tickets are no longer available for Play Ball Park. Fans can check the website each day to find available tickets for various time slots on the same day.

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LINK: Register for Tickets to Play Ball Park

Shawn Chitnis