Sean Conroy becomes the first openly gay player in professional baseball


It is statistical and logical certainty that many gay men have played professional baseball. One, Glenn Burke, may have been out, may not have been, depending on your definition of “out.” He was out to many teammates, but not to the public at large. And to the extent he was out to teammates is subject to some debate. Unfortunately Burke isn’t around anymore to give his thoughts on the matter.

But we know for sure that Sean Conroy of the Sonoma Stompers — an independent team in the Pacific Coast Association — is gay and is out and, last night, he became the first openly-gay player in professional baseball. He also became the first openly-gay player to pitch a shutout, striking out 11 men and allowing only three hits in his nine innings of work. There’s a good, full story about Conroy in the Sacramento Bee that is worth your time.

Rob Neyer has some more stuff on the game, including comments from the Stomper’s radio announcer, who provides a basic scouting report on Conroy and how he pitched last night. He’s a sidearmer who only throws in the low-to-mid 80s, so don’t expect him in the big leagues any time soon, but he certainly got the job done last night.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.