Last August David Denson, a first baseman and corner outfielder in the Brewers organization became the first openly gay player in MLB-affiliated ball. Yesterday Scott Miller of Bleacher Report wrote a story catching up with Denson. It’s a good read.*
The best part: Denson has received total acceptance from the Brewers, his friends and his teammates. It’s a story which illustrates just how people feel about those who are different from them when they actually, you know, know someone who is different than them as opposed to when thinking about those differences only in the abstract. I’d assume that some ballplayers, in their heart of hearts, are wary of having a gay teammate. But once they actually have a gay teammate it seems obvious that it’s not an issue for anyone. It shows that there are about a zillion more important things that go into a relationship with teammate than his sexual orientation.
The only regrettable note in the story is that Denson’s relationship with his father has apparently been complicated since he came out. It has to do with his father’s religious beliefs and it’s explained pretty fairly in the article. It was notable to me, however, that then-Brewers GM Doug Melvin personally reached out to Denson’s father to assure him that the Denson’s career would in no way be negatively impacted due to his coming out. Which may not have ever been a thought that crossed the Brewers’ collective mind but which Melvin worried was something that Denson’s father was himself worried about. I think that it speaks volumes about Melvin’s thoughtfulness and empathy for both both Denson and his father, who obviously see the world differently, that he made that effort.
There’s no telling if Denson’s baseball career will go as far as he wants it to, but if he doesn’t end up reaching the majors it’s good to know that it won’t be because his club and his teammates aren’t accepting of him.
UPDATE: The original version of this article linked to the New York Daily News. It seems, however, that the Daily News’ story was based primarily upon Miller’s story in Bleacher Report, using its quotes and building around it and I had missed that on first read. While we here at HBT are obviously not averse to aggregation — and while the Daily News did link to and credit the Bleacher Report story — we prefer to post links to original reporting. Especially when, as is the case with Miller’s story, that reporting is much more substantial. Apologies to Bleacher Report and Miller for not paying closer attention to this earlier.