Originally Published (With Video): ABC-7 News
Katie Marzullo, Reporter
The Sonoma Stompers are an independent minor league baseball team and they celebrated a shut out win and pride Thursday night, by acknowledging their starting pitcher, Sean Conroy, as the first openly gay pro baseball player.
"Having all the fans here and having Pride Night. It was just amazing," Conroy said.
In his first professional start, Conroy pitched a 7-0 shutout against the Vallejo Admirals. He is an openly gay player, which is a first for professional baseball.
"If you can play, you can play, so it doesn't matter your sexual orientation, whatever. If you love something do it," Conroy said.
It was his teammates' idea to wear something special to honor Pride Night and they couldn't be prouder of him. They wore rainbow socks to help celebrate the occasion. Fellow pitcher Jon Rand hopes the message reaches beyond the Bay Area.
"Anybody can play. You have Mo'ne Davis; you have a female baseball player. This game does not discriminate against anybody. It's a fair game," Rand said.
The fans at the game loved watching baseball and loved the message.
"An out pitcher, starting, is phenomenal. It just doesn't happen; so it's really cool to see it and I'm thrilled it's in my community and that I can be part of it," Santa Rosa resident Brenda Hays said.
The game may have served as a platform for gay rights, but don't forget, Conroy also served up a big win.
"He's here because he can pitch. He's here because he deserves a chance to pitch professionally. This isn't some sort of sideshow. He's here because he can get guys out," Theo Fightmaster, the vice president and general manager of the Sonoma Stompers said.
It's a winning team making history.