Ahead of the team’s Pride Weekend celebration, the Blue Jays are planning on having relief pitcher Anthony Bass as part of the festivities. Bass is set to catch the ceremonial first pitch before Friday’s game against the Twins, according to MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson.
Last week, Bass came under scrutiny after sharing an anti-LGBTQ video on social media. After deleting the video, which urged viewers to boycott brands like Bud Light and Target for supporting LGBTQ causes, Bass spoke to the media and issued an apology for his actions, but did not field any questions.
Bass did speak with reporters on Thursday, saying that he’s learned that he should keep his focus on “being accepting of everyone’s decisions and views in life,” and said that he will “know better than to post my personal beliefs” on social media platforms going forward. He said he still stood by his opinion on the issue, but regretted that he caused it to become a distraction to his team.
“I just felt like it was too much of a distraction. But I stand by my personal beliefs,” Bass said, per Matheson. “And everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs, right? Also, I mean no harm towards any groups of people. I felt like taking that down a second time was the right thing to do and not be a distraction to this team. Our job is to win baseball games and that’s my focus.”
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins also told reporters Thursday that he and Bass shared a “very charged exchange” after the team learned about the post. Atkins said that the pitcher’s apology and subsequent actions have moved the team “one step closer to a more inclusive environment.”
Bass, meanwhile, shared a message to fans that he’s been making an effort at self-improvement following the strong negative reaction his post garnered.
“I just want them to know that I’m working hard on myself,” Bass said. “There’s a lot of self-reflection and working, obviously, with [Pride Toronto's executive director] Sherwin [Modeste] to help understand the Pride community and what they’re going through. I think it’s really helped me grow through this process and is something I’ll continue to work on.”