‘The Blue Jays Didn’t Stand Up for Us’: Queer Softball League President on Anthony Bass’ Anti-LGBT Statement
Longtime fan Shosh Cooper talks about the team’s lukewarm reaction to Bass’ homophobic comments, boycotting the upcoming Pride Games and whether baseball is the sexiest sport of all.
Unfortunately for fans and players, the Toronto Blue Jays learned nothing from last year’s game resumption periodically separately. In an Instagram story last week, pitcher Anthony Bass encouraged viewers to boycott Target and Bud Light during their latest pro-LGBTQ campaign. While that He apologized in a 33-second statement The next day, his social media post continued to generate backlash. As for the Jays themselves, they released a statement stating that Bass’s views did not reflect those of the team but that he would not face any further disciplinary action. While baseball and organized sports in general have a long history of bigotry, some LGBT people have chosen to participate on their own turf. Shosh Cooper is the current president of the Notso Amazon Softball League, a gay league entering its 40th year. We chatted with her about the Jays’ reaction to Bass’s comments, how Major League Baseball should spend its money, and whether softball is the weirdest sport ever.
I have been a lifelong baseball fan. This usually includes loyalty to a particular team. Who are you to root?
I’m originally from Los Angeles so my first love was the Dodgers. But my grandfather is from Toronto, and in 1993, when the Blue Jays won the World Series, he brought me a World Series Jays T-shirt with all the Looney Tunes on it. Since that day, I have also become a Jays fan.
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Do you have your favorite team?
They are completely equal. Fortunately, one is the National League and the other is the American League, so there is little chance that they will face each other in the World Series.
players Both teams The Choice recently made headlines for its public opposition to Pride-related campaigns. Major League Baseball is having an unpleasant time, to say the least. How did you feel when you heard about Bass’ message?
My first reaction was a mixture of disgust, anger, and extreme exhaustion. My second reaction was to call it a piece of human anatomy that I won’t repeat here – but it wasn’t very good.
Does all this surprise you?
The first time I can remember seeing a homophobe in your face at a baseball game was in 2012, when Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar was suspended for putting duct tape over his face. It caused an uproar because it was so blatant, but it is a manifestation of a widespread disease. I think it has something to do with the general aversion in the sporting world to femininity — it’s related to vulnerability. So I am not surprised to see a resurgence of homophobia. I was really disappointed with the Dodgers and Jays responses. The Jays’ statement wasn’t enough, and I don’t see MLB taking action as an organization to mitigate homophobia and transphobia within its ranks.
What is missing from the cyclic response?
It just froze. This is of no use to us. The Blue Jays are happy to put a pride flag on the back of their jerseys and say, Come give us your money. Pride Nights is a step in the right direction – it shows people that the queer community loves to eat hot dogs and watch the game as much as anyone else. But then we see that the patrols don’t come to our aid when we need them to. We want them to say that this is unequivocally unacceptable and that they will take concrete measures to ensure this does not happen again. It is not enough to wave a flag once a year and call it a day. We need a more aggressive ally.
What should they do?
The absolute minimum would be a swift and forceful condemnation of Bass’ actions followed by an obligation to make amends in a tangible manner. What exactly these steps are I’ll leave to those in our community who are more familiar with these scenarios – there are plenty of people to consult about this. I also wanted an actual apology from Anthony Bass acknowledging how disgusting his post was. The command it gave was like putting a router in ChatGPT. His hearing or release is also welcome.
Looks like Jay’s fans are on your side. Bass has been booed recently on the field.
It’s great to see the city next to us. At the time, I felt like our community was supported by Jay’s larger fan base.
For MLB, what will it take to fight homophobia in the league?
The best answer I have for you is: everything. They have more money than God. They should put it in the sense of hiring gay people to guide them on how to rid the sport of this evil. If the organization doesn’t do everything it can to get rid of homophobia and transphobia, then it’s clear that their only goal is to make money.
Are you going to Gay’s Pride this weekend?
The softball league I play in usually attends every year. But, because the response to Bass’ actions was so lacking, we wouldn’t go this time. It was a difficult decision to get the band I work with to collaborate. We have asked for a refund and will find replacement programming.
Well, because in addition to being a fan and player, you are the President of the Notso Amazon Softball Association. Can you tell me a little bit about that?
It’s a whole association of trans and non-binary women and men. It’s not for cisgender men or straight men — there are plenty of other leagues to accommodate people who identify this way. Today I’m the boss – we vote on the position every year – so I’m responsible for the smooth running of the season.
For starters, what makes an exotic softball league different from a regular league?
It’s a safe space. Many of our members have played in traditional leagues and feel like outsiders. In some cases, they were actively ostracized. You’d be hard-pressed to find a single weirdo alive today who hasn’t experienced some form of homophobia. I’m queer, black and Jewish, plus I’m a woman – I’ve heard it all. So it’s very important for us to ensure our players don’t have to worry about that intolerance or exclusion. We just want people to experience the fun of the game.
I imagine there is an extra layer of camp in the gay league.
certainly. One of my favorite players regularly wears embroidered disco shorts. I’ve also seen people sew tulle skirts to their shirts.
Despite the homophobia and transphobia, baseball and softball have a reputation as exotic sports. What do you think about the attraction of homosexuals to gambling?
I think they both have a historical connection to the mean blonde community. I mean come on periodically separately? At this point, sports are part of the fabric of the gay community. I don’t know, there is something about that. Sports and poor people go together like peanut butter and jelly. I can’t speak for all LGBT people, but I know I’d love to do so right away. I love to catch the ball. I love going out and partying with my team.
Would you say baseball is the sexiest sport?
If I say so, the football team certainly come for me But I will say that in the sports complex, softball and baseball are very exotic.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.