Minor league baseball relief pitcher Solomon Bates came out after being cut from the San Francisco Giants.
“Being gay in this sport you don’t know what comes at you!” Bates wrote in an Instagram post.
The 25-year-old player has been out to fellow players since 2019 and used his unexpected release from the Giants as an opportunity to share himself with the world.
“I thank the Giants for giving me the opportunity to be myself and go out there and play the game that I love the most,” he said. “I’m still in shock [over] what just happened. But I’m not giving up on what I want to do….
“I ended on a high note from getting hurt to going out there and pitching my ass off. Baseball I’m not done with you. I’m leaving on my terms and my terms only. Gay men can play a manly sport if you give us a chance to.”
Bates is only one of two baseball players to come out while actively playing the game. Milwaukee Brewers minor leaguer David Denson came out in 2015.
No Major League player has yet to come out while actively playing. Former Dodgers and Oakland A’s hitter Glenn Burke along with Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres player Billy Bean came out once they had retired from the sport.
“Solomon has made a lasting and important impression on his teammates over the course of his college baseball and Minor League career,” Bean said in a statement. “I appreciate his decision and courage to share this part of his story with baseball and our fans.”
“The San Francisco Giants organization is extremely proud of Solomon for the courage he displayed in coming out and we support his decision to live his life proudly and openly,” the team said in a statement. “We applaud the example he is setting for those in the game of baseball and beyond.”
The relief pitcher has won approximately 75% of the games he’s pitched in. His record currently stands at 17 wins to 6 losses.
Bates did an interview with Cyd Ziegler of OutSports following his announcement, in which he explained his decision to come out at this point.
“I haven’t been out as my complete self because I’ve been hiding myself,” he said. “I’m a masculine man who loves the sport of baseball, and now I want to open up doors for gay athletes like me.
“I’m just thinking about my next team. Life is good right now. I’m confident I’ll be with a new team in the next few days.”
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