The empty lot northeast of Nationals Park at the intersection of First and M streets SE will transform into Play Ball Park, a space for baseball and softball activities, ahead of this month’s All-Star Game. The 56,000-square-foot venue, which will feature a youth-sized turf diamond and daily programming for fans of all ages, is free and open to the public for five days beginning July 13.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr., Red Sox great David Ortiz and Olympic softball gold medalist Jennie Finch are among those scheduled to make appearances. Fans can also expect to see members of USA Baseball and USA Softball’s national teams, MLB mascots and players from the Futures Game, set for the Sunday before the All-Star Game.

Unlike FanFest, which runs from July 13-17 at Walter E. Washington Convention Center and requires the purchase of a ticket, Play Ball Park is free. In addition to the turf diamond, the space will feature batting tunnels, pitching stations and interactive games primarily targeted toward youth players. Children ages 4-7 are invited to participate in MLB’s “Fun At Bat” game, which involves an oversized rubber ball. Other programming includes “Backyard Ball” — a plastic bat-and-ball game for players ages 8-12 — and “Around the World Softball,” a point-based game for players ages 4-12. Instructional infield and hitting drills for baseball and softball players will be offered throughout the weekend, and adult baseball and softball programming will be offered Friday and Saturday nights. A full schedule for Play Ball Park will be available here.

MLB on Thursday also announced the All-Star Commissioner’s Cup and Jennie Finch Classic, youth baseball and softball tournaments to be held during all-star week featuring teams from several of the league’s youth academies. Games will be played at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy, Gallaudet University and George Washington University, and participants from the 20 teams will attend several events during all-star week, including Monday’s Home Run Derby.

Play Ball Park Schedule

Friday, July 13: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
‘Free Play’ (no programming scheduled): Noon-1 p.m.
Adult baseball and softball programming: 8-10 p.m.

Saturday, July 14: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
‘Free Play’: Noon-1 p.m.
Adult baseball and softball programming: 7-10 p.m.

Sunday, July 15: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
‘Free Play’: 11 a.m.-noon and 3-4 p.m.

Monday, July 16: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
‘Free Play’: 1-3 p.m. and 5-6 p.m.

Tuesday, July 17: 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
‘Free Play’: 11 a.m.-noon, 4-5 p.m. and 7-8 p.m.

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