Denson, 20, plays first base for the Milwaukee Brewers rookie affiliate in Helena, Montana. He came out to his family and Helena Brewers teammates first, then came out publicly in an article published over the weekend in the Milkwaukee Journal Sentinel. Denson said he got the confidence he needed to come out by talking with teammates, who assured him that it is his ability as a ball player that matters to them, not his sexual orientation.
Former Major Leaguer Billy Bean — who came out after he retired and is now MLB’s first ambassador for inclusion — told the Sentinel Journal that Denson is an excellent baseball player, and that by coming out, he can possibly “be an example that can help change … the stereotype that there would never be a gay person on a men’s professional sports team.”
Bean said Denson is a “humble” young man who had decided to come out not for publicity but in order to be “his best self. He’s a great baseball player, but he needs to be his best self to get to the big leagues.”
Denson told the Milwaukee newspaper that he had kept his sexuality hidden since being tapped by the Brewers in 2013, but that the weight of keeping the secret had been weighing on him: “It became a depression level. I wasn’t being myself. It was visible in my body language. I didn’t know if I should still stay in the sport.”
Denson is batting .245 with four home runs and 18 RBIs in 42 games for Helena. He was selected by the Brewers in the 15th round of the 2013 Major League Baseball Draft out of South Hills High School in West Covina, Calif., and is the Brewers’ 27th-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com.