As the only known out gay broadcaster in professional baseball, Eric Bach is blazing a trail for LGBTQ sports media figures in the summer game.

Bach, 24, who came out publicly on Outsports while studying at Michigan State in 2019, is calling play-by-play in the minor leagues for the Class A Fredericksburg Nationals. Thanks to his efforts, our community is represented on the air every night in affiliated baseball.

However, as a New York Times profile this weekend makes clear, Bach is also realizing that working as a barrier breaker also invokes occasional feelings of loneliness and isolation. By definition, being the only out LGBTQ person in his industry means that there isn’t anyone in the game who can fully relate to his experiences.

Over the long grind of a minor league season, doing his job every day as the only gay man with the team has led to moments of intense self-consciousness and occasional exhaustion.

“My filter of what I can say and where I am is turned up to 11 all the time when I’m at work,” Bach said to Times writer Zach Buchanan. “I feel like that’s the burden a lot of gay people live with — trying to be perfect for straight people.”

That’s a familiar feeling for a lot of LGBTQ people in the sports world, where simply attending a game and walking through the concourse surrounded by straight people can inspire a sense of “Oh, I’m different from everybody else here.”

While Bach has found that he checks himself frequently when he’s at work in the locker room, it appears he’s established a good working relationship with Nationals management and players.

He told of an early-season conversation with Nats manager Jake Lowery where the two were making small talk and discussing the game at a rooftop bar. Suddenly, Bach changed the topic, asking Lowery, “You know I’m gay, right?” After Lowery acknowledged him with a simple “Yeah,” they moved on to other things.

In a six-word exchange, Bach confirmed his sexuality to Lowery while the manager acknowledged his truth and implied that he accepted Bach for who he was. As coming out conversations go, it was brief but the result was optimal.

However, Bach also admitted that he’s unsure how many players in the Nationals clubhouse know that he’s gay and that’s exacerbated his feelings of self-consciousness.

He concluded that the only way to help assuage those feelings is through more LGBTQ representation throughout baseball. “People on the ground just being visible and existing and thriving in the baseball space is the way it gets better,” he said.

While it has been a struggle at times and despite there being no other out gay announcers in baseball, Bach remains resolute to break through the glass ceiling and represent the LGBTQ community at the highest level of broadcasting.

“Those of us that are in this very small minority in sports have to keep on earning these conversations, keep on working really frickin’ hard to earn your spot in this space,” he said.