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Washington's Bat Boy Comes Out, Finds Acceptance

Washington's Bat Boy Comes Out, Finds Acceptance

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Spenser Clark is the bat boy for the Nationals as well as the ball boy for the Washington Wizards basketball team and a senior in college.

By day, 21-year-old Spenser Clark is taking classes at Howard University, working toward graduation in June and considering law school. By night, he's shoulder to shoulder with the biggest sports stars in Washington, D.C.

He's currently a ball boy for the Wizards basketball team, and when baseball is in season, he's a bat boy for the Washington Nationals.

And he's gay.

Clark wrote about coming out for OutSports: "I work in Major League Baseball and I'm gay."

During baseball season, his job is to pick up bats, give balls to the umpires, and do anything else a player needs before or during the game. His job is to be inconspicuous.

"After years of keeping the fact that he is gay a secret, Clark knows how to blend in," wrote the Washington Post in a report on his revelatory article.

Clark wrote how he prepared by reading the stories of others who'd come before him, including Billy Bean, Robbie Rogers, Jason Collins, Conner Mertens, Chandler Whitney and more:

"Coming out to my Nationals coworkers was a completely different experience than any of the others. At work I was tired of trying to fit into conversations about women and having nothing to say. I couldn't express myself the way I wanted. I didn't want to hide anymore. I was unsure about how "sports people" would feel about having a gay co-worker. I was worried about getting fired or ostracized, all because of who I am.

"None of that happened. I told everyone individually and everyone had similar reactions. They were proud of me and congratulated me for feeling comfortable enough with myself to be myself. They told me that nothing would change - and nothing did."

Right now, there's not one active major league player, coach, manager or owner who is out. Clark says he hopes to be a general manager of a team someday, perhaps the first one who is openly gay.

Clark recalled that his "best moment on the field" came not in the form of anything he did, but the fact he worked a game with out umpire Dale Scott:

"His story inspired me, and seeing him do what he loved while being completely open was awesome. In that moment we were both just doing our jobs, and at the end of the day that is the ultimate goal."

Read Spenser Clark's coming out story in OutSports here.

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