Pioneer League Indeed: David Denson Becomes First Active MLB-Affiliated Player To Come Out As Gay
So it's August, 2015 ... it is 2015, right? Yeah. It's taken that long for an active Major League Baseball-affiliated player to come out as gay, and while it's better late than never, that's still about 140 years since pro baseball was first organized into leagues. David Denson, a 20-year-old first baseman for the Helena Brewers in the rookie Pioneer League, revealed recently to his teammates that he's gay.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) August 16, 2015
The announcement came with the help and encouragement of Billy Bean, a former major leaguer who came out as gay followinghis baseball career. Bean is now Major League Baseball's first Ambassador for Inclusion. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
"Talking with my teammates, they gave me the confidence I needed, coming out to them. They said, 'You're still our teammate. You're still our brother. We kind of had an idea, but your sexuality has nothing to do with your ability. You're still a ballplayer at the end of the day. We don't treat you any different. We've got your back. '
"That was a giant relief for me," Denson said. "I never wanted to feel like I was forcing it on them. It just happened. The outcome was amazing. It was nice to know my teammates see me for who I am, not my sexuality."
Denson is not, as some outlets are reporting, the first openly gay player in professional baseball. In June, pitcher Sean Conroy of the Sonoma Stompers of the independent Pacific Association, revealed that he's gay. The Pacific Association is not affiliated with Major League Baseball.
Denson was selected by the Brewers in the 15th round in 2013 after playing for South Hills High School in West Covina, California. He spent last season with the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in the Class A Midwest League, hitting .243 with four homers and 29 RBIs in 68 games. He started this season with Wisconsin, hitting .195 with one homer and eight RBIs in 24 games before being sent to Helena. In 42 games with the Montana team, he's hitting .245 with four homers and 18 RBIs.
On Saturday night in a doubleheader at Idaho Falls, Denson was 1 for 3 in a 6-1, seven-inning loss and 0 for 5 with an RBI in an 8-7 loss in nine innings.
— Outsports (@outsports) August 16, 2015
Denson hits a 515-foot homer at Power Showcase at Marlins Park in Miami in 2012, a distance record for the event.
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