Please Help Provide Clean Water to Persecuted Christians

Blue Jays Cut Christian Pitcher after He Voices Support for Target Boycott, Quotes Bible

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Updated Jun 13, 2023
Blue Jays Cut Christian Pitcher after He Voices Support for Target Boycott, Quotes Bible

A Toronto pitcher who sparked controversy with comments about Target and LGBT Pride Month has been cut from the team.

The pitcher, Anthony Bass, is an outspoken Christian who shared a video on Instagram in May that quoted Bible verses and supported conservative-led boycotts of Target and Bud Light. The video labeled the company’s stances on certain issues “evil” and “demonic.” The post quoted Ephesians 5:11, “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”

Bass apologized and removed the video. But in a follow-up interview, he said his “personal beliefs” on the issue had not changed.

The Blue Jays last week “designated” him for assignment, a baseball term that means he has been immediately cut from the team’s roster. A different Major League Baseball team could still pick him up.

Toronto general manager Ross Atkins acknowledged that the comments played a role in releasing Bass.

“There’s a myriad of variables, and performance is usually the driving one,” Atkins said. “Performance was a large aspect of this decision. Distraction was a small part of it and something that we had to factor in.” Bass had been booed in Toronto, The Athletic reported.

Bass, 35, struggled this season with a 4.95 ERA in 20 innings but was solid last season for the Blue Jays, posting a 1.75 ERA in 25 innings. Prior to that last season, he had a 1.41 ERA in 44 innings with Miami. He recorded seven saves for Toronto in 2020. All total, he has played for seven Major League teams.

Although this season’s 4.95 ERA isn’t great, several Toronto pitchers rank below him.

On his Instagram page, he lists “Mark 10:27” as his life verse. (“With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”) His bio also reads, “Love God.”

When asked if his personal beliefs had changed since the post, he told media members, according to The Athletic, “The video itself, obviously, I took it down. 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. … As a team, our job is to win baseball games. And that’s my focus.”

Denny Burk, director of the Center for Gospel and Culture at Boyce College in Louisville, Ky., said the release of Bass is an example of society not tolerating basic Christian beliefs.

Burk wrote on Twitter:

“2010: ‘How does my gay marriage hurt you?

“2023: ‘Since this pro baseball player won’t deny his conscience and celebrate LGBTQ, we are cutting him from the team.’”

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Vaughn Ridley/Stringer

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.