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Bryan Ruby, the only current professional baseball player at any level to come out as a gay man, sang the national anthem at Sunday's Los Angeles Dodgers-San Diego Padres game and also spent time with players and manager Dave Roberts before the first pitch.
In an exclusive to USA TODAY Sports on September 2, Ruby revealed his identity as a gay man and spoke about the difficulties he had faced in his career as he remained in the closet.
Ruby is a member of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, one of the three teams in the Mavericks Independent League in the Salem, Oregon area. He's also a country musician and has written two songs that reached the charts.
Ruby was representing the Global Field Day Challenge charity initiative, raising money for the Sports Equality Foundation before he sang the anthem.
The Dodgers played the San Diego Padres Sunday and won 8-0 after a dominant performance by pitcher Max Scherzer, who eclipsed 3,000 career strikeouts and recorded an immaculate inning, but fell five outs shy of a perfect game.
"I kept thinking about the little 14-year-old me, who was scared because I'm a baseball player who loved country music," Ruby, 25, told USA TODAY Sports. "Those are worlds where people like me are told they can't belong. I'm not a hot-shot prospect. But today, you can't find a single active baseball player who is out publicly. I want to help create a world where future generations of baseball players don't have to sacrifice authenticity or who they really are to play the game they love."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Bryan Ruby, active gay man in pro baseball, sings national anthem