Toronto Blue Jays fire pitcher Anthony Bass following anti-LBGTQ comments

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Toronto Blue Jays’ Anthony Bass delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning of a game at Target Field on Aug. 4, 2022, in Minneapolis.



CNN

The Toronto Blue Jays Pitcher Anthony Bass was hired following an anti-LBGTQ post the 35-year-old shared on social media last month.

Hours before the Blue Jays’ first game of Pride Weekend, the team faces the Minnesota Twins. Paz was expected to participate in the festivities, including throwing the ceremonial first pitch on Friday.

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said Friday that Paz’s performance on the field was primarily a baseball decision.

“Performance is a big aspect of the decision,” Atkins told reporters. “Distraction is a small part of it and something we have to factor in.”

Atkins insisted the move was made to improve the team.

“I’d say we’re trying to build the best team we can, and it’s a baseball decision to make our team better,” Atkins said.

Atkins added that the group respects the LBGTQ community and regrets the mishandling of the situation.

“We certainly don’t want anyone to get hurt,” Atkins said. “We care about the environment. We care about this community. We care about our fans. I’m very sorry if people feel that way. That’s certainly not our intention.

In May, Bass shared an Instagram post that called out anti-LGBTQ boycotts of Target and Bud Light for their support of the LGBTQ community and called the support “evil” and “demonic.”

Bass later apologized for the post while speaking to reporters, but was booed by fans at the Rogers Center.

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On Thursday, Bass expanded on his original apology, saying he regrets “any harm or injury” he may have caused to the Pride community. However, he added that he stands by his “personal convictions”.

“The video itself, obviously, I took it,” Bass said. “I felt it was too much of a distraction, didn’t I? But I stand by my personal beliefs and everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs, right? But I mean no harm to any group. I felt that taking it a second time was right and not a distraction. As a team, our job is to win baseball games. That’s my focus.”

Bass said he didn’t feel the post was “hateful,” but said he understood why some people might find it “distressing.”

The 12-year veteran said he had a “productive” meeting with Pride Toronto executive director Sherwin Modeste earlier this week to learn more about the LGBTQ community in the city and learn about Modeste’s story.

“Before I said anything, I really wanted to hear what he had to say. It was my intentions to go to the meeting and I felt like it was really helpful,” Bass said.

Bass met with Atkins and team manager John Schneider last week, and Bass apologized to them and his teammates for “causing any harm and hurting others,” according to Atkins on Thursday.

“That was not his intention,” Atkins added. “His passion, like mine, was very strong. I was personally hurt, myself. He sensed my disappointment and anger. It was a highly charged exchange.

Atkins said Bass’ apology was “genuine” and that he felt he was being held “responsible”.

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“That’s the most important part, he’s accountable,” Atkins said. “He wanted to apologize, not only to me, which is very important, but more importantly to our community and this community. Without that, like I said, we would have had a very different outcome. And then the willingness to do something about it, to be proactive and see the step taken is a good first. I think step.

As for the message for fans opposed to participating in the weekend’s festivities, Atkins said, “We will continue to work hard to make sure this is an inclusive environment, and we will not stand for behavior that happens otherwise.”

Pass has a 4.95 ERA in 22 relief appearances for the Blue Jays this season. Paz also pitched for the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers, Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners and Miami Marlins.

In a related roster move, Toronto recalled right-hander Mitch White from the 60-day injured list.

Appointed for duty That means the Blue Jays can trade Bass over the next seven days, and if they don’t, put him on irrevocable outright waivers — where he’ll either be released or claimed by another team.

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