Advertisement 1

By bungling Anthony Bass mess, Blue Jays taking shine off Pride Weekend

Get the latest from Rob Longley straight to your inbox

Article content

Anthony Bass is sorry.

Advertisement 2

Story continues below

Article content

He’s sorry for causing a distraction to his team.

Article content

Sorry, as well, for how he employed social media in creating that distraction.

And by the end of Pride Weekend — normally a cause for celebration but now spiralling towards disaster for the Blue Jays — perhaps he will be feeling worse if a recent incident in which the relief pitcher shared hateful anti-LGBTQ+ continues to blow up in the team’s face.

Article content

But in getting his message out (after having it mightily bungled by the Jays), Bass made one thing clear on Thursday: He remains firm in his Christian beliefs that he clearly sees as being in conflict with the festivities that await during home games at the Rogers Centre on Friday and Saturday.

“Moving forward, I’ll know better than to post my personal beliefs on my social media platforms,” Bass said in the Jays dugout prior to his team’s game against the Houston Astros.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Story continues below

Article content

“The video (which he shared on his now retired Instagram account) itself, obviously I took it down. I felt it was too much of a distraction. But I stand by my personal beliefs and everybody’s entitled to their personal beliefs.

“Taking it down 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.”

Bass is indeed entitled to his beliefs, just as the team is entitled to its Pride Weekend celebration, one in which the Jays organization wonderfully devotes considerable resources and typically is incredibly well received by the city and its fan base.

But the mess created by Bass —some of which was avoidable — was made considerably worse by the Jays rather bizarre run and hide handling of it through obtuse and elusive commentary from senior team officials. The poorly attempted damage control and spin on Thursday would be comical of the subject wasn’t such an important one, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

Advertisement 4

Story continues below

Article content

Recommended from Editorial

  1. Blue Jays reliever Anthony Bass makes a statement prior to the start of the Jays-Brewers game on May 30, 2023.

    'GOOD SECOND STEP': Blue Jays reliever Anthony Bass meets with Pride Toronto director

  2. Blue Jays starting pitcher Kevin Gausman throws against the Houston Astros in Toronto on Tuesday, June 6, 2023.

    LONG BALL: Is Kevin Gausman the best pitcher in the AL?

General manager Ross Atkins spoke at length about the controversy on Thursday, his first detailed public commentary following the incident that blew up on a team off day on May 29. He spoke, but didn’t manage to say much to diffuse a situation that has the potential to be a huge distraction over the next couple of days.

Atkins admitted that he was “angry” at the post and that he asked the reliever to take it down. He also repeated what he told the Toronto Sun last week that the “authenticity” of the apology is what saved Bass from team discipline beyond apologizing to his teammates and showing contrition.

Advertisement 5

Story continues below

Article content

When we asked Atkins on Thursday how concerned he is about the Bass blowup causing a distracting for Pride events on Friday and Saturday, he replied: “It’s worthy. Whatever the distraction, we understand why it’s there.”

Atkins was evasive when asked if there will be added security measures in place in the Jays bullpen area, which is close to fans. Bass was booed heavily in his first appearance since the video aired and less so in his second outing. But with the incident and issues in the spotlight this weekend, it could get ugly at the Rogers Centre.

“I know that we are going to do everything we can to make it as inclusive as possible,” Atkins said, when asked if added security would be in place.

Bass, meanwhile, repeatedly made it clear that he was apologizing for the distraction and potential hurt he caused, but not for his Christian views.

Advertisement 6

Story continues below

Article content


We apologize, but this video has failed to load.
Try refreshing your browser, or
tap here to see other videos from our team.

“I apologized for any harm, hurt I made towards the Pride community,” Bass said. “Those were never my intentions and I stand by that … not being sensitive to what that community goes through, especially when they make such a big decision in their lives. I care for all people and I stand by that.”

“Making that decision of wanting to come out, I can’t imagine it would be an easy one. Being respectful of those that are deciding what they want to do and be more sensitive.”

Bass also made the point that he doesn’t think the video was hateful.

“I do not, that’s why I posted it originally,” Bass said. “When I look back at it, I can see how people would view it that way and that’s why I was apologetic.

“My focus should be on doing my job and being accepting of everyone’s decisions.”

Bass is indeed sorry, and there’s no reason to question the sincerity of that sentiment. The problem is, the aftermath of his actions have the potential to create a sorry mess over a weekend that has the power to be so much more.

Article content


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


To contribute to the conversation, you need to be logged in. If you are not yet registered, create your account now - it's FREE.

Join the Conversation

Latest National Stories

Advertisement 1

Story continues below

This Week in Flyers