Brewers minor leaguer David Denson becomes first openly gay player in MLB-affiliated ball

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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.

Andrelton Simmons, Shohei Ohtani both injured in Angels’ loss

Associated Press
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The loss of a close, well-pitched game is hard enough for any team to take, but when you lose two key players to injury in the process it’s gotta be damn nigh intolerable. That’s what happened to the Angels last night in their 3-1 loss to Minnesota, losing Andrelton Simmons and Shohei Ohtani. And it happened on consecutive plays in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Simmons is likely to be gone for an extended period after suffering a sprained ankle which was later deemed “severe”. Indeed, they weren’t sure it wasn’t broken until the X-rays came back negative. He sustained the injury running to first base, trying to beat out an infield hit. He came down on the ankle and it twisted in ugly fashion — there are Gifs of it on Twitter and stuff, but you don’t wanna see them — before tumbling over the bag to the ground. Simmons will have an MRI today to see how bad things really are.

Ohtani got off more easily, getting hit in the right ring finger with a pitch while striking out. His X-rays were also negative, but they will reassess him today.

Simmons is hitting .298/.323/.415 on the year while playing his usual spectacular defense. Ohtani, who just came back from Tommy John surgery as a hitter a couple of weeks ago, is hitting .250/.345/.375.