Tim Green and Derek Jeter were recently featured on CBS This Morning to discuss the release of their new book, Baseball Genius. The duo discussed some of the background information of the book and how it came to be.
Baseball Genius tells the incredible story of Jalen DeLuca, a teenage boy who wants to join a baseball travel team, but cannot afford it. In an attempt to get some quick money, Jalen breaks into the house of New York Yankee, James Yager, and steals some baseballs. After getting caught by Yager, Jalen uses his unique ability of being able to tell what kind of pitch a pitcher will throw to help Yager’s at-risk career.
Green and Jeter discussed a variety of topics on the show, including how the two came to work together, the real life influences on the book and the novel’s message to children.
In the segment, Green stated that after receiving a phone call from two of Jeter’s publicist’s, he jumped at the chance to pen a novel with the baseball legend. Jeter also revealed how his real life influenced the story, with the main character sharing the same name as his nephew, and how his deep insight into Major League Baseball played a large role in the novel.
The two also discussed how the book tackles contemporary social issues, such as immigration, poverty and bullying. “What we’ve tried to do is incorporate the lessons that I’ve learned through my parents…and what we teach our kids through our foundation…and we try to do that with diverse characters and interesting stories. And, you know, these are issues that kids are facing nowadays. It’s front and center and you really can’t shy away from it, and we decided to tackle that,” said Jeter when asked about the novel’s bi-racial main character.
Green also noted the importance that reading has, not only on education, but on behavior and acceptance as well. “You know the thing about books is, when kids read, they get smarter, they perform better in school. But most importantly, [when] kids read, they get a little kinder, because they put themselves in someone else’s shoes. So that’s why I think it’s important that our characters are a little different.”
For the full interview, see the video below. If you are interested purchasing a copy of Baseball Genius, click here.