Political commentator and all-around baseball nut George F. Will once said "Baseball is Heaven's gift to mortals."

If this is true then the All-Star Game's baseball theme park that is taking shape in and around the Cleveland Convention Center is a gift to the kid in all of us.

Encompassing some 600,000 feet inside and outside of the convention center spreading out on the adjoining parks, there is something for everyone from those who dream of taking the field to those who relish in the history of the game.

It is free to wander around the outside exhibits that include super cool giant speakers that play the walk-up music for each of the game's best set to take the field on Tuesday night at Progressive Field.

There are various skill challenges set up outside from running to hitting and even a long and scary tall zipline that will carry those brave enough to try it high over the ball caps of fans below and even the famed Budweiser Clydesdales who will be in the city.

Workers were busy Wednesday putting the final touches on the place that will open to the public on Friday and be open through Tuesday.

To check out the indoor attractions, it does require a $25 ticket.

But you will feel like you just signed a multi-million-dollar contract once you check in and stroll down the entrance tunnel that is wall-to-wall video screens and speakers setting the stage for the showcase celebrating the game.

It is inside where there will be daily autograph signings by current players, former All Stars and even Hall of Famers.

There will also be talks by players and commentators and even one featuring Indians former player and current coach Sandy Alomar Jr., his brother Roberto Alomar and their dad Sandy Alomar Sr.

Jacqueline Secaira-Cotto, director of special events for Major League Baseball, said great care was taken to ensure Cleveland is well represented at Play Ball Park from the giant Francisco Lindor pictures that include video highlights from the season to artifacts from the Baseball Hall of Fame celebrating the fact the city has hosted the game six times — a record for a single franchise.

All aspects of the game are celebrated, Secaira-Cotto said, from the game's current giants to past legends.

A large area is set aside like a museum to note the accomplishments of players who stepped up to the plate when the game was segregated as well as to honor those women who played the baseball and softball as well as Latin American players.

There is an interactive area where fans can put on a jersey and put their mug on a baseball card then literally walk through a House of Cards constructed with some 750,000 baseball cards.

Fans will find themselves in the game in some virtual reality attractions including a home run derby.

Scores will be kept over the weekend and the top sluggers will be invited back for a final video game home run derby.

When the attraction debuted at the last All-Star Game in Washington last year, some 9,000 would-be sluggers participated with a 9-year-old kid ultimately winning it all.

Secaira-Cotto said they have doubled the number of virtual reality home run derby cages this year in Cleveland.

There will be a virtual All-Star Experience Pass available at MLB.com where fans can participate in scavenger hunts and even hold virtual places in line for attractions and even the popular autograph sessions that are included in the price of the ticket.

"This is all about the fan experience," Secaira-Cotto said. "Not everyone can afford a ticket to the Home Run Derby or the All Star Game."

Curtis Danburg, communications director with the Cleveland Indians, said hosting the All-Star Game is a big deal and will have a $65-million impact on Cleveland's economy and that's not including another $5 million in charitable works and donations.

Danburg said this all has been years in the making and a lot of work has gone into ensuring it goes off without a hitch as Cleveland takes baseball's world stage once again.

A good trial run came when the Indians made the World Series in 2016.

Another test will come at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday when the Red Carpet parade of All-Star players makes its way through downtown along East Ninth Street to Progressive Field.

"This could be a great dress rehearsal for November and a World Series victory parade," Danburg said with a grin.

Craig Webb, who once led his Little League team in getting hit by pitches, can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com.