“I filled in for my little brothers baseball team when they were desperate for a right fielder. I threw the ball during warm-ups and a monster was born.”
Since that “monster moment,” Jessica Kleinschmidt has been involved in sports.
Kleinschmidt’s name might sound familiar to you if you are a follower of Major League Baseball, as she has worked for “pretty much every baseball site you can imagine,” and currently holds a Digital Correspondent gig with NBC Sports. “Obviously being a woman playing baseball and back in the early 2000’s, there wasn’t much future for me. So I decided to make a career out of writing/talking about it. I quit my very cozy government job to pursue this, and it was the dumbest, best decision of my life.”
Jessica notes that being a female working in the male dominated sports media world is not an easy task. When asked what advice she has for young ladies aspiring to get in the field, she jokes, “don’t do it!” She too was given this advice, and gives that same direction to yield a reaction and see if a person is serious about it. “It’s a tough industry and I was told not to do it. It’s not for everyone, and that’s OK. You have to try that much harder. When I make a mistake, I’m a joke and women shouldn’t work in the industry, when a male counterpart does it, he made a simple mistake. This has happened to me since little league.”
Thankfully, despite the harshness that can come with the territory, Kleinschmidt has a great group of ladies keeping her on task. “Melanie Newman is the reason I kept going. I wanted to quit the industry and I remember calling her one day saying ‘I’m done, I can’t do this anymore.’ She said to keep fighting. Just a few hours later, I got a call from MLB’s Cut4 and they offered me a job. She doesn’t know how much that meant to me.”
Corresponding through social media outlets also gives way to a meanness of it’s own…couch critics and cruel comments. “Julie DiCaro reminded me to just be myself and that getting upset over the awful and harassing messages online is OK. I can message her anytime about anything and she’s willing to listen–her ‘More Than Mean’ video changed my life.”
Jessica turns to a favorite quote as a reminder, “an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus and keep aiming.”
“I’m constantly being pushed back, both in industry and in life. Every time I’m about to give up, I’m blessed with a new opportunity. My dad passed away when I was 19, and one of the main things we shared was our love for baseball, so I’m lucky to know that I can keep his memory alive by doing it every day. The rewarding feeling I get when I hear someone got a job because I inspired them to keep going, (sports media-related or not) that’s worth it.”
Follow along with Jessica Kleinschmidt and her work on Twitter – @KleinschmidtJD.
Keep representing, sister, I’m rooting for you!