David Denson, a first baseman and corner outfielder for the Brewers’ team in the rookie-level Pioneer League, has revealed to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that he is gay. He is the first openly gay player in MLB-affiliated ball — Sean Conroy, a pitcher for the Sonoma Stompers of the independent Pacific Association, came out back in June.
Here’s an excerpt from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel piece, which was put together this week with the help of former major league outfielder and current MLB Ambassador for Inclusion Billy Bean …
For so long, David Denson desperately wanted to reveal to his baseball teammates that he is gay. He just never envisioned it happening in such impromptu and unstructured fashion.
A first baseman for the Milwaukee Brewers’ rookie affiliate in Helena, Mont., Denson had just entered the clubhouse a month or so ago when a teammate jokingly referred to him using a derogatory term for a gay male. It was the kind of profane, politically incorrect banter heard in that environment since team sports have been around.
That teammate had no way of knowing Denson actually is gay, but the 20-year-old slugger of African-American and Hispanic descent quickly seized the opportunity.
“Be careful what you say. You never know,” Denson cautioned the player with a smile.
Before he knew it, Denson was making the emotional announcement he yearned to share, and the group around him expanded to the point that he soon was speaking to most of the team. Much to Denson’s relief, when the conversation ended he was greeted with outward support and understanding instead of condemnation.
The whole story is obviously worth a read. Denson was a 15th-round pick in 2013 out of South Hills High School in West Covina, California. The 20-year-old has batted .240/.355/.379 in 179 professional games.