Just a short bit ago (as of writing it’s not even on the transactions page yet), to facilitate room in the Minor Leagues for their new crop of drafted players, the San Francisco Giants released right-handed pitching prospect Solomon Bates, who had spent the year working out of the bullpen for the AA Richmond Flying Squirrels.
And then, shortly after his release, Bates did something far more important: he came out as a gay man.
In an Instagram post, Bates announced the release, and opened up about his sexuality.
Here are his full remarks:
Being gay in this sport you don’t know what comes at you! 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. I’m still in shock on what just happened. But I’m not giving up on what I want to do. I’m still going to open up doors for gay athletes like me. Still will strive to be one of the greatest to do it. 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. Thank you giants, you guys made a new fan. But gave me a chip to keep going. I love all the new friends that I’ve made. I’m not going to cry. I’m going to keep pushing.
In an interview with our sister site Outsports, Bates said that he has been out to his teammates since 2019, but admitted that “I haven’t been out as my complete self because I’ve been hiding myself. I’m a masculine man who loves the sport of baseball, and now I want to open up doors for gay athletes like me.” Of his release from the organization, Bates, who posted a picture of his season stats alongside his caption, noted that, “I want people to see my stats and let people know that gay men can play baseball. I was on the verge of doing that, my shot just ended up short.”
Bates was drafted in the eighth round of the 2018 MLB Draft by the Giants, after attending USC. He’s flashed plus-strikeout stuff his whole Minor League career, and particularly excelled in 2019, when a 3.81 ERA and a 2.68 FIP in Low-A earned him a midseason promotion to High-A.
This was his first year in AA, and while he had a 4.02 ERA and a 5.95 FIP, his 47 strikeouts in 40.1 innings mean he’ll likely catch on with another organization, where you can bet we’ll be rooting for him.
According to Outsports, Bates is the second active Minor League Baseball player to be openly gay, following David Denson, who came out in 2015.