It’s been 10 days since Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Anthony Bass shared a post on social media multiple times that cited Biblical verses as a reason to boycott Bud Light and Target for their support of LGBTQ+ initiatives.
On Thursday, the journeyman right-hander finally took questions on the matter, and spouted one vapid statement after another. The Blue Jays were also planning to have Bass catch the ceremonial first pitch to kick off their Pride Night festivities Friday.
The insulting gesture prompted waves of deserved backlash. And now, it won’t happen. Because the Blue Jays released Bass Friday afternoon, hours before game time.
What a debacle!
Breaking news from the #BlueJays:
Anthony Bass has been designated for assignment.
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) June 9, 2023
Guess Anthony Bass won’t be catching the ceremonial first pitch tonight on Pride Night in Toronto, after all.
The Toronto #BlueJays just designated him for assignment.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) June 9, 2023
It was a brutal 24 hours for Bass, who didn’t indicate Thursday that his feelings towards LGBTQ+ people have changed. In fact, he explicitly only expressed regret for broadcasting his anti-LGBTQ+ views on Instagram.
“The video itself, obviously, I took it down,” he said, via The Athletic. “I just felt like it was too much of a distraction, right? But I stand by my personal beliefs and everyone’s entitled to their personal beliefs, right? But also I mean no harm toward any groups of people. And I felt like taking that down the second time was the right thing to do and not being a distraction. As a team, our job is to win baseball games. And that’s my focus.”
When Bass first addressed his post last week, he vowed to use the Blue Jays’ “resources” to better educate himself on the issue. He said Thursday he spoke to the head of Toronto Pride; but again, made sure to say he still holds his “personal beliefs.”
“It definitely shed light on the Pride community for me,” he said. “I have my personal beliefs, but I understand that everyone’s free to feel and think the way they want and in being accepting, welcoming and making people feel comfortable to make a decision in their lives. To be more accepting of it definitely was something I self-reflected on and realized that I need to be better at.”
It’s also worth noting that Bass repeatedly referred to the LGBTQ+ community as the “Pride Community,” a phrase that nobody uses. Did all of his supposed education not include learning what we’re actually called?
Or can he not bring himself to say “gay” or “LGBTQ+”?
It’s funny how everyone telling reporters who are writing about Anthony Bass to “stick to baseball” is missing the fact that none of this would be happening if Anthony Bass had, quite literally, just stuck to baseball. #BlueJays
— Jenn Smith (@Baseball_Jenn) June 9, 2023
Anthony Bass was invited to catch the 1st pitch at tonight’s Pride game by the person throwing, as an olive branch to help mend relations.
The intent of the decision was excellent, but the impact is causing hurt across our community.
I am very disappointed the #BlueJays agreed.
— Chronic The Head Fog she/her (@samanthafraser) June 9, 2023
Still seeing a lot of people talking about specific consequences Anthony Bass should face. That’s honestly no longer relevant to me. The issue now is the Blue Jays as an organization pretending he’s evolved, and then letting him catch the ceremonial pitch as part of Pride.
— Eephus Curve (@eephusasher) June 9, 2023
It’s been a mixed Pride season for MLB.
Last month, the Los Angeles Dodgers faced backlash from performative right-wingers for their decision to honor the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at their Pride Night. The team capitulated to the outrage and disinvited the Sisters, only to re-invite them days later.
Multiple players, including star Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, have spoken out against the Sisters. But this week, star Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle expressed his support for the charitable group, highlighting their service during the AIDS crisis.
Lotta people just found out about @SFSisters but they were on the front lines during the AIDS crisis & are literally woven into the fabric of the AIDS Quilt. For 44 years they have been doing corporal works of mercy and spreading love to the most marginalized members of society. pic.twitter.com/jWFrbn0btc
— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) June 6, 2023
Along those lines, Chicago Cubs pitcher Marcus Stroman and Seattle Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez tweeted their support for the LGBTQ+ community at the start of Pride Month.
Speaking of the Nationals, they hosted a successful Pride Night this week, featuring Drag Race star Lady Camden.
On the negative side, the Boston Red Sox called up a homophobic hurler days before their Pride Night, which is slated for June 13. The pitcher in question, Matt Dermody, tweeted in 2021 that gay people are going to hell.
When questioned about his offensive tweet, Dermody, who was released after a horrible spot start Thursday, said the “last thing” he wants to do is “hurt people.”
Apparently, he didn’t think that proclaiming an entire group of people are bound for eternal damnation was hurtful in any way.
Bass said something similar Thursday in his session with reporters. “I have no ill intentions of ever being hateful or harmful towards any group. I care for all people and I stand by that,” he said.
Yet, he thinks businesses should face boycotts for partnering with LGBTQ+ celebrities and selling Pride merchandise.
Talk about a contradiction. It’s apparent that Bass isn’t sorry for his views, but sorry that he got caught.
And somehow, the Blue Jays thought it was a good idea for him to catch the ceremonial first pitch of Pride night?
Bass was booed out of the ballpark when he entered a game last week. On Friday, the reaction probably would’ve been even worse.
If Anthony Bass’ ‘personal beliefs’ were that ‘Nazis had some good ideas actually’ and he openly and proudly expressed them, would people still call that ‘free speech’ and think it’s fine for him to remain on the Jays?
I challenge you to tell me what the difference is now.
— Ruth Kapelus (@RuthKapelus) June 8, 2023
OPINION: Having Anthony Bass catch the ceremonial first pitch on Pride Weekend is a fucking PR stunt by the Blue Jays. This is a terrible look. They just don’t get it.
— Dan Clark (@DanClarkSports) June 9, 2023
What I don’t get is why the Blue Jays are working *this* hard for … Anthony Bass, completely replacement-level reliever
— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) June 8, 2023
The Blue Jays finally got it right Friday afternoon, almost certainly thanks to their fans’ sustained outrage. Nobody is going to miss Bass and his mediocre 4.68 ERA.
Scroll down for more response to Bass’ well-deserved release…
Starting an anti-woke baseball league where Anthony Bass can live in his truth/put up a 4.81 ERA in lower-leverage usage.
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) June 9, 2023
On the field Anthony Bass didn’t pitch particularly well this year (4.95 ERA, 5.06 xERA). He wasn’t trusted in leverage anymore. #BlueJays‘ bullpen will be totally fine without him.
Anyways, happy Pride Weekend to all ????
— Ben Nicholson-Smith (@bnicholsonsmith) June 9, 2023
ANTHONY BASS IS GONE GOODBYE BOZO pic.twitter.com/qRsXcpSJEc
— Toronto sports depression (@SadLeafFan17) June 9, 2023
Anthony Bass says he’s glad he got DFA’d pic.twitter.com/rsZsqUwZEF
— FAX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFAX) June 9, 2023
anthony bass got fired during pride month?
— jordan (@notbubbawallace) June 9, 2023
The Toronto Blue Jays dragged their heels on Anthony Bass and questions should be asked of why they took so long to do the right thing, but you hafta admit DFAing him on Pride Night is funny as hell. pic.twitter.com/mqIA8xUVZc
— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) June 9, 2023
Congratulations to Anthony Bass on undergoing a roster reassignment procedure
— Richard Staff (@RichardStaff) June 9, 2023
It’s really difficult to give the Jays any credit for doing what needed to be done with Anthony Bass.
He didn’t get DFAed for his repellent post. He only got DFAed because he embarrassed management after they protected him on multiple occasions.
— Mike Beauvais (@MikeBeauvais) June 9, 2023
Please tell me that the Blue Jays’ official who thought it would be a good idea to have Anthony Bass catch tonite’s ceremonial 1st pitch has also been “designated for assignment”.
— Dave Hodge (@davehodge20) June 9, 2023