Sean Conroy, an openly gay professional baseball pitcher, will get his first start this Thursday, June 25, for the Sonoma Stompers. The Sonoma Stompers are an independent professional baseball team located in Sonoma, Calif, and play in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. Conroy has been coming out of the bullpen for the team since graduating from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute earlier this year.
"I've always played baseball because it was fun and I loved the sport," Conroy said in a team statement. "Being gay doesn't change anything about the way I play or interact with teammates. I hope that in leading by example, more LGBT youth will feel confident to pursue their dreams, whatever those dreams may be."
The team is currently celebrating LGBT Pride month, so it's a particularly fitting start for the gay pitcher.
Gay pitcher was waiting for the right question
Jason Burch played in the Minors for four different MLB franchises from 2003-2008. He played in college for Nebraska. He was gay the whole time, telling teammates when they asked. Looking back, he wishes he had come out more publicly while playing.
More on Conroy from the Stompers:
Conroy graduated in 2015 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was the team's senior ace. He was 6-2 with a 1.87 ERA in 82 innings, and allowed only 67 hits while striking out 87. Conroy was named Liberty League Pitcher of the Year and was a second-team Division III All-American. Over his four-year career at RPI, Conroy was 21-7 with a 2.05 ERA in 259 innings pitched, striking out 223 and walking only 49.
As an independent team, the Stompers are not affiliated with Major League Baseball.
Good luck to Conroy in his first start, and thanks to the Stompers for giving him the opportunity to continue the breaking down of barriers for LGBT athletes.