Why I Wrote YES PEPPER

By Jason Klein 

Girls play baseball.

My daughters play.  So do thousands of other girls.

Some of them are good.  Some are really good!  All of them make a choice.

Girls who play youth baseball have to decide how comfortable they are playing alongside boys.  Sometimes, that’s hard to do.

YES PEPPER is an empowering new book for girls who play baseball.

A few years back, my daughter questioned her place in the sport.  She asked me if baseball was for girls.  I tried to reassure her but could tell she still had doubts.

To show her how many people supported the idea of girls playing baseball, I asked Twitter for help.

“Show my daughter she’s not alone,” I tweeted.  “She doesn’t think she can play little league with boys this year.  I told her baseball is DEFINITELY a sport for girls, too.  She’s skeptical and I want to show her how many people agree with me.”

The tweet went viral.

My post garnered 5.1 million impressions and 80,000 combined likes and retweets! It received support from Major League Baseball, Little League International, USA Women’s Baseball and Baseball For All.  The Washington Post even wrote a feature story about us.  

Celebrities, athletes, pro sports teams and global brands responded with retweets and direct messages.  I also had thousands of parents reach out to encourage my daughter and to share their personal stories with me.

Jessica Mendoza, a top ESPN baseball analyst and advocate for girls in the game, tweeted, “Tell your daughter I not only agree with you but I’ve got her back!!! Go play!”

Justine Siegel, the first woman to coach at the Major League level & the founder of Baseball For All, told my daughter to, “Go Play and have fun! Baseball is a sport for everyone!!”

The response left me humbled.  It also left me wondering how many other little girls out there have similar concerns. Who is supporting their passions and helping them overcome society’s stigmas? 

I decided to write a book to help build their confidence and inspire them to do what makes them happy.

YES PEPPER is an empowering story of inclusion for girls who play baseball and is set to be released this Summer.

The story’s heroine, Abby, loves eating peppers and playing baseball, but both make her the subject of schoolyard teasing.  Classmates start calling her “Pepper” and claim that “girls can’t play baseball.”  This leaves Abby feeling lonely and insecure.

With some encouragement from her parents, Abby agrees to do what she loves and play in the local baseball league anyway.  What happens next is inspiring and comforting for anyone who has ever felt like they don’t belong.

YES PEPPER sends a positive message to any little girl who doubts herself.  My wife and I are raising our daughters to know they have every opportunity to do what they love.  With this book, I hope to spread that same sentiment to others.

Today, women continue to take on some of the most important professional roles in the world.  They are doctors, they are lawyers, they are CEOs and they are even Vice Presidents of the United States.  The same is true in baseball.  

This past year, Kim Ng was hired as the General Manager of the Miami Marlins and Rachel Balkovec was promoted to Manager of the Tampa Tarpons, a New York Yankees affiliate.  Just last month, the New York Mets hired Elizabeth Benn as their director of Major League Operations.  

Eight years ago, a 13 year-old girl named Mo’ne Davis dominated the Little League World Series.  She graced the cover of Sports Illustrated and captured America’s heart.

She also had advice for my daughter who was trying to decide if she could play baseball with boys, too.

“I definitely think she can hang with them and be better than them,” Mo’ne tweeted to me.  “That’s coming from a girl who has done it before.”

Mo’ne chased her baseball dreams, but still, many girls haven’t.  Maybe they don’t believe they can do it.  Perhaps they were teased or told they couldn’t simply because they’re a girl.

I wrote YES PEPPER for them.

I wrote it to build their confidence and help them feel more comfortable with their choice to play ball.

I’m hopeful that young female ballplayers find Abby’s journey relatable and inspiring.  I want them to know that they’re not alone.

Girls play baseball.  They can, too.

PRE-ORDER TODAY! Reserve your copy of YES PEPPER here!

Follow YES PEPPER on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok!

Contact Jason Klein:

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