Anthony Bass

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Anthony Edward Bass

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Biographical Information[edit]

Anthony Bass was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 5th round of the 2008 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Jeff Stewart and made his pro debut that summer.

Anthony debuted with the 2011 San Diego Padres, posting a sparkling 1.68 ERA in 27 games (3 starts). The Pads gave him 15 starts the next year as his ERA ballooned to 4.73 and he was flipped to the Houston Astros on December 12, 2013 for Patrick Schuster, becoming a free agent following 21 games in 2014. After spending the 2015 season with the Texas Rangers and putting up a 4.50 ERA in 33 decision-less games, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners on November 16, as part of the deal that sent outfielder Leonys Martin to Texas in return for James Jones, Tom Wilhelmsen and prospect Patrick Kivlehan. He did not put on a Mariners' uniform, as the M's gave him his release on January 7, 2016 so he could be free to pursue an opportunity to play in Japan. In 2019, after stops in Japan, back in Texas and with the Chicago Cubs, Bass finally suited up with Seattle, making a career best 44 appearances.

He was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays following the 2019 season and through circumstances, he became the team's principal closer in 2020, after Ken Giles went down with an arm injury in his second appearance of the year. As Giles' set-up man, Bass was asked to step into his role and did well, collecting 7 saves and striking out 21 batters in 25 2/3 innings. He was not the Jays' sole pitcher to receive opportunities to save games, as Rafael Dolis and A.J. Cole also were used in these situations, manager Charlie Montoyo being careful not to overwork anyone, and sometimes deciding to use Bass earlier in the game depending on which part of the batting order was coming up. His contribution was a major factor in the Blue Jays making it to the postseason that year. He also made his postseason debut that year, pitching a scoreless inning in relief against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card Series. He was a free agent again after the season and turned his solid 2020 season into a two-year contract with the Miami Marlins.

He pitched 70 times for the Marlins in 2021, going 3-9, 3.82 as a set-up man for closers Yimi Garcia and Dylan Floro. He also made his first start since the 2012 season on July 9th against the Atlanta Braves, giving up one run as the opener in the 1st inning and being charged with Miami's 5-0 loss. In 2022, he was excellent in 45 games for the Marlins, going 2-3, 1.41 again as a set-up man. On August 2nd, the Blue Jays reacquired him alongside youngsters Zach Pop and Edward Duran (as a player to be named later) in return for top infield prospect Jordan Groshans. He continued in a similar role for the Jays, going 2-0, 1.75 in 28 games. That gave him an overall mark of 4-3, 1.54 in 73 games. The Blue Jays won a wild card spot and Bass made an appearance against the Seattle Mariners in the Wild Card Series, but it was disastrous. In Game 2 on October 8th, the Jays had built an early 8-1 lead, but the Mariners began to claw it back. The lead was down to 9-5 in the top of the 8th when Anthony entered the game in what was a familiar role: handling the 8th inning to set the table for closer Jordan Romano. However, he gave up a double to Eugenio Suarez, and back-to-back singles to Cal Raleigh and Mitch Haniger, leaving manager John Schneider no choice but to bring in Romano early. All three runners eventually scored and Romano allowed the tying run as well before the Jays lost the game, 10-9, on a 9th-inning run.

Bass was back with the Jays at the start of 2023 but struggled badly at first with his ERA rising to 7.71 by May 3rd. This coincided with a time the Jays were doing well, but when they started losing games by the bundle to AL East opponents in May, Bass pitched better, lowering his ERA to 4.50 by May 27th. That's when off-field controversies surfaced, mainly his support of anti-LGBTQ causes through his social media account, a rather surprising turn of events for someone who was used to flying under the media radar. This created a huge backlash among the Jays fanbase, not surprisingly given that central Canada is known for very progressive politics, and some commentators even asked for the Jays to drop the pitcher for his unacceptable political views. In his first home game after these revelations on May 31st, he was booed relentlessly by the crowd at the Rogers Centre, with the noise lasting through the entire half-inning he was on the mound in spite of efforts by stadium announcers to drown it out with loud music. He was not too shaken as he faced four Milwaukee Brewers batters and allowed just one walk. On June 9th, however, the Blue Jays announced that they had designated Bass for assignment. Sure, they wanted to activate Mitch White from the injured list, but the move also came after Bass first apologized, and then stated that he still held the problematic views that had caused the whole furor... and this -just as the Blue Jays were about to celebrate Pride week-end in very public fashion.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Nick Ashbourne: "Blue Jays designate Anthony Bass for assignment in wake of controversy: Anthony Bass was also performing poorly on the mound, posting a 4.95 ERA for the Blue Jays in 2023.", Yahoo! Sports Canada, June 9, 2023. [1]
  • Kyle Cantlon: "Blue Jays fans boo Anthony Bass into oblivion during appearance vs. Brewers: Anthony Bass set off a firestorm after sharing an anti-LGBTQ video this week, and Blue Jays fans let him have it during his first action since.", Yahoo! Sports, May 31, 2023. [2]
  • Arun Srinivasan: "Blue Jays fans donating to LGBTQ causes in Anthony Bass' name: Toronto Blue Jays fans are trying to turn a negative into a positive after Bass alienated baseball's LGBTQ community on Monday.", Yahoo! Sports, May 30, 2023. [3]
  • Gregory Strong (The Canadian Press): "Former Jays reliever Bass says his release last June 'was not a baseball decision'", Yahoo! Sports, October 11, 2023. [4]

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