“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,” part of the post read.
Bates is the second minor league baseball player to come out as gay, after David Denson did so in 2015. An active MLB player has never came out.
In an interview with Outsports, Bates said that he came out to his teammates in 2019. He hopes to continue playing baseball and lead the way for other gay athletes to follow in his footsteps.
“I haven’t been out as my complete self because I’ve been hiding myself,” he told Outsports. “I’m a masculine man who loves the sport of baseball, and now I want to open up doors for gay athletes like me.”
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Bates was an eighth-round pick by the Giants in 2018 and was pitching for the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels before his release. He has a 4.30 ERA and 219 strikeouts in 165.2 career minor league innings.