When My Daughter Had a Question, Twitter Stepped Up To The Plate!

By Jason Klein

My daughter asked a question.

36,852 people answered.

Little league registration was due, but something bothered my 7 year-old.  She wanted to know if baseball was a sport for girls too.  I tried to reassure her.  Our town doesn’t have softball for her age group, so I reminded her how much fun she had last season playing baseball.

Jason-Ava Baseball

With My Daughter, Last Season.

I also pointed out the other three girls we had on our team.  We reminisced over all the times we’ve played catch and watched Yankees games together.  I even pulled up old YouTube videos of Mo’ne Davis’s dominance during the 2014 Little League World Series.  She still had her doubts.

I decided to do what any reasonable and resourceful parent would do in 2018.

I tweeted.

I asked Twitter users for their opinion: “RT to show my daughter she’s not alone…” I pleaded.  “I told her baseball is DEFINITELY a sport for girls, too.  She’s skeptical & I want to show her how many people agree with me.  Thank you!”

As a second grader, she doesn’t know what social media is yet.  She can proudly count “all the way to 100,” though.  I thought, if I could somehow get a hundred people to back me up, I’d make her a believer.

Fortunately, I did a little better than that.

Over 3,000 people retweeted my post within the first 24 hours.  That’s when Jessica Mendoza (@JessMendoza) of ESPN decided to lend her support.

Mendoza has her finger squarely on baseball’s pulse.  As an announcer for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, she consumes baseball daily.  She’s also been criticized for being a women broadcasting a “men’s sport.”  Certainly, my daughter’s concerns resonated with her.

“Sports, any sport, is for everyone,” Mendoza tweeted to me…and her 107K followers!  “Tell your daughter I not only agree with you but I’ve got her back!!! Go play!”

After that, my tweet’s statistics rose faster than Aaron Judge’s home run totals.

Major League Baseball’s official Twitter handle (@MLB) got involved, addressing my daughter’s trepidation with their 8.1 million followers!

“We agree!  Baseball is for everyone.” They tweeted.

Mo’ne Davis (@Monee__11) – the same Mo’ne Davis I had used as an example earlier in the week – then jumped in.

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

Even Little League Baseball’s official account (@LittleLeague) chimed in, urging me to “Tell your daughter we’d love to have her, and any other girl, playing Little League Baseball this year.”

If that wasn’t inspiring enough, the USA Women’s National Team (@USABaseballWNT), Play Ball (@PlayBall) and Justine Siegal (@JustineBaseball) – the first woman hired as an MLB coach and founder of Baseball For All – all chimed in with encouraging words.

From there, hundreds of celebrities, athletes, organizations, leagues and journalists caught wind.  So did thousands of everyday Twitter users: men and women, old and young, all willing to support my message and share their own personal stories with me.

Hundreds of parents sent me pictures and newspaper clippings of their own daughters playing ball.  Many told me that the best player on their son’s team was female.  All of them insisted that baseball was a sport for girls too, and wished my daughter luck with her upcoming season.

Ava-Baseball

Baseball Is For Girls, Too!

The response was humbling.

By March 11, 2018, my tweet garnered 36,852 retweets, 42,036 likes, over 2,600 personal comments and more than 3.7 Million impressions.  I also received direct messages from many supporters, including writer Jacob Bogage (@jacobbogage).  Bogage was so impressed, he decided to write a feature on us for the Washington Post.

Just incredible.

I set out looking to build my daughter’s confidence by having a little fun on social media.

I ended up starting a positive and empowering conversation for young girls looking to simply do what makes them happy…play ball!

I want my daughter to grow up believing she has the same opportunities as boys.  I want her to do what she loves, be confident in herself and accepting of others.  My tweet helped reveal thousands of other parents who feel the same way.

Twitter is often filled with so much negativity.  Many times, it’s directed at women.  I’m happy I could temporarily change the dialog and motivate thousands of people to join in the conversation.

Although my daughter is more impressed by candy and treats than Likes and Tweets, she is convinced that baseball is a sport all girls can play, watch and enjoy.  She even signed up for her second season of Little League.

No questions asked, this time.

Connect With Jason

https://jasonklein24.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/instagram-circle.jpg?w=50&h=50

Advertisements

New Players & Fans Set To Experience Yankees in ALCS For First Time

By Jason Klein  

I walked my daughter to the bus stop this morning.

It’s a short stroll, really.  Around the corner and down a hill – just enough steps to pad my Fitbit stats and see some familiar October sights.  There were pumpkins on porches, leaves on the ground, and an interlocking “NY” on my shirt.

Of course there was.

ALCS Logo

Yankee Stadium Prepares For The ALCS’s Bronx Return.

The Yankees will play Game 1 of the American League Championship Series tonight in Houston.  Watching the Yanks play baseball deep into October is typical of my childhood.  Not so for kids my daughter’s age.

The Yankees reached the ALCS or World Series 7 times from 1996-2004.  Then, 3 more times between 2009-2012.  Since then, their lone Postseason appearance came in 2015 when they lost to the Astros in the AL Wild Card Game.

So, tonight is special for kids like my daughter, born within the last 10 years.

A boy waiting for the bus noticed my shirt and asked if I was excited for the upcoming series.

“Of course,” I said.  “How about you?”

His face lit up.  His smile was huge, like an Aaron Judge homerun swing.

“Yeah!” He said.  “I’ve never seen them play in the ALCS before.”

He then gave me a “thumbs down.”

“When were you born?” I asked.

“2008.  But I was too young to watch the 2009 World Series,” he said.

His excitement reminded me a lot of myself back in 1996 – the first time I’d seen the Yankees win a playoff series.  He had a look of wonderment – like he was about to witness something he’d never seen before.

He is.

My Yankees – you know, Jeter, Bernie, Pettitte, Posada and Mo – are nice historical footnotes for today’s kids.  Now, Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and the rest of this young core of players are ushering in a new generation of Yankees success.  They’re bringing the new generation of fans along with them. Judge-Sanchez

The boy’s reaction did make me further appreciate the late-90s dynastic run.  It’s so difficult to sustain success from one year to the next.  Every opportunity to win a championship should be treasured.  You never know when it will happen again.

Many say these Yankees arrived ahead of schedule.  They weren’t expected to compete this soon.  They are “playing with the house’s money.”

I disagree.

It’s never the wrong time to win a Title.  Teams that get this close must capitalize.  “Wait ‘till next year” isn’t guaranteed.

Just ask the 2015 Mets.

It’s possible, this could be the only shot this young group of Yankees have to win a World Series.

Or, it could be just the beginning of another sustained run of success.

The latter would give kids my daughter’s age a childhood experience similar to mine.  Yankees baseball, deep into the Fall, would once again be a familiar October sight.

Like pumpkins on porches, leaves on the ground, and an interlocking “NY” on my shirt.

Connect With Jason

https://jasonklein24.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/instagram-circle.jpg?w=50&h=50

Have The Yankees Found Their Next Captain? You Be The Judge.

By Jason Klein

All Rise?

Honestly, why would you ever sit down in the first place?

There’s no time to relax between each one of Aaron Judge’s majestic blasts.  They fly out of stadiums at a record pace, travel record distances and leave me sounding like, well, a broken record.

Aaron Judge

All Rise For Aaron Judge.

“He hit another one last night,” is the first thing I say to my wife every single morning.

Forget Groundhog Day.  We’re all living Judgement Day over and over again.

Through 60 games, Judge is hitting .341 with 22 HR and 49 RBI.  It’s a small sample, but he’s showing no signs of laying down his gavel.  His at-bats are can’t-miss events, he comes up with a game-defining hit almost every night and he hears “MVP” chants…on the road!

Oh, and let the record show, Your Honor is a 6 foot, 7 inch, 25 year-old rookie!

It’s Judge’s courtroom.  We’re all witnesses.

Yup, Number 99 is everywhere: the front of Sports Illustrated, the middle of the Yankees’ line up, the back of fans’ jerseys and the top of prominent AL statistical categories, including HR, batting average and runs scored.

He is impressive on the field and poised off of it.  He handles the bright lights of New York with ease and deflects all adulation on to his teammates.

He tells you that he doesn’t pay attention to his individual accomplishments.  Instead, he only focusses on winning games.  For twenty years, Derek Jeter said the same thing.  I always believed him.  Now, I believe Judge.

Like Jeter, Judge has a good head, and a great bat, resting firmly on his shoulders.  His teammates respect him and fans adore him.  Is it possible the Yankees found their future Captain?  Do my two young daughters have their own Jeter to look up to…and grow up with?

There’s plenty of time to figure it out.

No time to sit down, though.

Judge is walking to the plate.

All Rise.

Connect With Jason

https://jasonklein24.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/instagram-circle.jpg?w=50&h=50

Jeter’s Latest Title Might Be His Greatest

By Jason Klein

You couldn’t pick just one.

We sat together, inside Yankee Stadium, and I asked you to decide which of your Titles meant the most to you.  You couldn’t do it.

“‘96, ‘98, ‘99, 2000, 2009…All five of them,” you said.  “We won all of those years.”

Well, Derek, the debate ends with your newest title:

ct-derek-jeter-wife-hannah-preganat-20170213

Jeter’s Going To Have a Baby Girl in 2017.

Dad.

There is nothing more special or rewarding than being a father – especially to a little girl. I’ve got two of them. They changed my life, and your little bambina will change yours too.

For twenty years, you played shortstop.  Now, you’ll stop short of nothing to make your daughter smile.  You once carried the weight of New York on your shoulders, but there is no greater responsibility than fatherhood.  Dressed in Jumpman, you’ll jump, man, every time she needs your help. For her, Mr. November will be Mr. Everyday.

You’ll flip for her!  You’ll want to dive into everything that interests her.  You’ll be her champion and her captain.  Number 2 will be her Number 1.

No doubt, being a Dad is hard work.  She’ll wear you out, like a doubleheader in mid-August.  You’ll get less sleep than a west coast trip.  She’ll throw you more curve balls than Pedro Martinez and ask more questions than the New York media.  She’ll demand your very best each and every day.

You’re battle-tested, though.  I saw you rise to the occasion for two decades in Pinstripes.  You were a role model for a generation of fans.  Now you’ll serve in the same capacity for your daughter.

jade-jason6-9-18-14

Her First Yankees Game!  Watching Derek Jeter’s Final Career HR with my Daughter in 2014.

The world needs more strong, successful young women.  Be sure to pass on your work ethic and leadership abilities to her.  Teach her to be classy, accountable, carry herself with dignity, be professional and respectful…just as you were.  Empower her to be confident, do what makes her happy and be who she wants to be.

These are all messages I try to convey to my two young daughters each day.

After your final game at Yankee Stadium, when reflecting back on your career, you said, “I’ve never taken it for granted, but it goes a lot quicker than you could imagine.”  Remember this while you’re rolling around on the floor playing with your new baby girl.  Enjoy it all.  Like your twenty years in the Bronx, it will go faster than you think.

Unlike your previous Championships, your latest title won’t have all the fanfare.  There will be no cheering, no press, no parades or rings.  Your fans won’t celebrate this title, but you should.  It’s your most important one to date.

Connect With Jason

https://jasonklein24.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/instagram-circle.jpg?w=50&h=50