Retired minor league pitcher Jason Burch comes out publicly
Jason Burch was a pitcher in the minor leagues for six seasons and played for four Major League Baseball franchises.
He did so as a gay man.
Burch confided in some teammates who asked but was still largely closeted when he left the sport in 2008 to pursue a law degree.
'Looking back, I wish I had told the whole world that I'm gay from day one,' he tells Outsports in a story published Tuesday (24 February).
As a closer, he was used to teammates relying on him to seal a victory and now wishes people could have had that feeling about him knowing he is a gay man.
'I think that would have been a powerful message,' he says. 'If we are talking about changing people's opinions, I do think that would have been a powerful message. But I wasn't really thinking about that at the time.'
But some teammates knew - because they simply asked.
During a game in his final year, a pitcher from Latin America asked Burch if he had a girlfriend.
He replied: 'I'm not interested in girls. I'm gay. And I don't have a boyfriend.'
But he did his fair share of under the radar dating.
'I came of age as a gay man in those six years,' he says. 'It was difficult because the only way I could regularly meet men was on the Internet, and that's just not how I relate to people. I like to see how people talk and listen. That's the only way I can take an interest in a man, to see him talk and see him walk. So that was the real difficulty for me, the means by which I could reliably meet men, sites like Manhunt and Gay.com and Adam4Adam.'
Major League Baseball meanwhile still awaits its first active openly gay player. US soccer has Robbie Rogers, the NBA had Jason Collins and the NFL will have Michael Sam if a team takes him on.
This has been reposted from Gay Star News.