baseball, a love story

After playing each other, these college baseball stars slid into each other’s DMs & the rest is gay history

Aiden Phelps and Cole Philpott.
Aiden (right) and Cole (left)

When college baseball players Cole Philpott and Aiden Phipps faced off against each other on the diamond last season, they were complete strangers.

But then Cole slid into Aiden’s DMs, and the rest is gay history, as they say.

Outsports’ Ken Schultz published a moving piece Wednesday about the romance between Cole and Aiden, two baseball standouts who started dating following their season.

In the process, Aiden came out.

Now, the cute couple is telling their story.

“I felt like as soon as I came out, an elephant stepped off my chest,” said Aiden. “I can be my 100% authentic self, which is super cool. It’s something I’ve never been able to do. It kind of feels like I’ve completely opened a new book in my life, which I think is super awesome.”

Their tale begins in late March. Aiden took the mound for the Beloit Buccaneers for a regular-season game against the Grinnell Pioneers. Though Cole wasn’t in the lineup that night, he still took notice of the opposing hurler.

Aiden picked up the win after pitching six strong innings.

But the real victory came when he saw that DM from Cole. They developed an easy rapport with one another, leading Aiden to delve into his sexuality with somebody for the first time.

“We just had that connection instantly,” said Aiden. “So I had no problems letting him know or telling him, and it kind of went from there.”

Aiden (left) posing with Cole (right)

A few months later, Aiden found himself on a bus ride home, cell phone in hand. He told his mother that night he was meeting up with Cole, but couldn’t find the strength to say they were seeing one another.

After conferring with Cole, he wound up texting her, and they had a warm conversation.

Aiden’s mother offered her full support when he came out as bisexual.

Cole was happy to help, and thrilled for his new boyfriend.

“I know how big a step that is, so it was really cool to find someone who was willing to take that step for me,” he said.

Cole is speaking from an area of expertise. He started coming out to friends and family during COVID, and once he started at Grinnell, an LGBTQ-friendly school in Iowa, he didn’t hide his identity.

Over time, the whole baseball team learned about Cole’s attraction to men, and had his back.

“All the guys on my team will go to war with me,” he said. “I absolutely love them so much. Those are my brothers, and I’m going to really appreciate that forever.”

Aiden’s teammates were accepting, too.

Cole and Aiden are far from the only sports couple. There’s a string of LGBTQ+ athletic power couples, led by Megan Rapinoe and Sue Bird. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, at least three couples competed on the same team.

Over the summer, Connecticut Sun teammates Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner got engaged.

But if you notice, all of those couples are women. There is a dearth of out gay male athletes at all levels, making Cole and Aiden’s visibility that much more vital.

They may not be the biggest names, but their stories show there are gay men playing team sports everywhere.

It also doesn’t hurt that Cole and Aiden are excellent players. The former reached base in half of his plate appearances last season, and the former compiled an 11-0 record, breaking Beloit’s single-season record in wins.

When they faced each other in the playoffs, Aiden held Cole to an 0-for-3 outing with two strikeouts.

They’re both excited for the rematch next season.

“You don’t realize how much support you have until after you come out,” said Aiden.

Aiden and Cole excelled last season when they started seeing each other. That’s a hopeful harbinger of what’s to come.

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