David Denson: A pioneer for baseball

Bianna Golodryga
·Yahoo News and Finance Anchor

Billy Bean, Major League Baseball’s first ambassador of inclusion, helped Milwaukee Brewers farmhand David Denson make history over the weekend. No, Denson didn’t hit for the cycle or bat four home runs in one game. He didn’t steal home or take part in a triple play, either. Denson, a 20-year-old player for Milwaukee’s Single A Helena, Mont., Brewers, broke the news to the public that he is a gay man playing America’s pastime professionally, and with that, he becomes the first openly gay player in affiliated baseball.Billy Bean, Major League Baseball’s first ambassador of inclusion, helped Milwaukee Brewers farmhand David Denson make history over the weekend. No, Denson didn’t hit for the cycle or bat four home runs in one game. He didn’t steal home or take part in a triple play, either. Denson, a 20-year-old player for Milwaukee’s Single A Helena, Mont., Brewers, broke the news to the public that he is a gay man playing America’s pastime professionally, and with that, he becomes the first openly gay player in affiliated baseball.

Bean told Yahoo news and finance anchor Bianna Golodryga that he could not be prouder of Denson, someone he counseled as he struggled to reveal his sexuality to teammates and eventually to the world. “I was fearful for him as a big brother in a mentoring role. … I made sure that he had been open with his family, his parents — he has a very strong support group. That was the first message that I thought: You don’t have to make this disclosure behind a microphone. You can have a village of one or two and work toward being your best self,” he said. Bean added that the young first baseman contacted him earlier in the season and told him that he had revealed who he was to his teammates. “I got a call late at night about three or four weeks ago, and you’ll never know what I did today. They’re young players, and someone made a comment, and he challenged that person, and he came forward to his team, and then he really felt that he was more comfortable.”

Denson broke the story over the weekend through the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, telling writer Tom Haudricourt, “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.’”

While telling his teammates was one thing, telling the world was another matter. He was helped breaking his story to the public by Billy Bean, a former MLB player who is now its ambassador of inclusion.

Bean, who played in the major leagues with the Dodgers, Tigers and Padres without ever revealing that he was gay, said of Denson, “It’s been a long process for him. He’s in a place that I never was close to, as a player.”