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BASEBALL: Anthony Bass gives back
MLB pitcher remembers Downriver, WSU roots
Trenton grad Anthony Bass, now a pitcher for the Major League San Diego Padres, will host a pitching camp at Wayne State University Jan. 26. Bass, who was an award-winning pitcher during his three years at WSU, will work on fundamentals and drills with the campers. The camp is open to players in grades third through 12th and the registration deadline is Jan. 21. The cost is $65 per player. To sign up, go to the athletics portion of the Wayne State website at www.wayne.edu.
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The saying is true for Wayne State graduate, Anthony Bass.
“Wayne State has done more than I can ever do to repay them for the chance to play baseball at the collegiate level,” he said.
Bass, who graduated from Trenton, now plays Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres.
Bass, a pitcher, has been playing baseball since he was five years old has been pitching as long as he can remember, although as a youngster he did play shortstop or second base when he wasn’t on the mound.
His earliest memory of the game was when he was just five years old and was watching the Tigers on the television in his parent’s kitchen. The game caught his attention and he asked his dad to play catch.
“Without hesitation, he stopped what he was doing and we started playing catch with a tennis ball,” Bass said. “I fell in love with the game.”
During his time at Wayne State, Bass studied finance and made quite the impression on the baseball field in his three-year career there.
Bass recorded numerous impressive statistics and ranks in the top 10 all-time in many categories, including, second in strikeout/walk ratio (3.38), third in victories (21), tied for third in winning percentage (.700), fourth in strikeouts (206), seventh in starts (33), eighth in innings pitched (213.0) and tied for 10th in complete games (14).
In 2008, Bass was named to the Rawlings/ABCA All-America First Team as well as the NCBWA All-America third team.
He was also named to the Daktronics, Inc and Rawlings/ABCA All-Region first teams, where he earned Pitcher of the Year as well as the Gold Glove for outstanding defense.
Bass was also named the GLIAC Conference Pitcher of the Year.
Ryan Kelley has been coaching baseball at Wayne State since the 2003 NCAA season and was Bass’ pitching coach during his collegiate career.
Kelley’s overall impression of Bass has always been high. He believes that to advance to higher levels, while talent is important, it is more about how you use the talent and make adjustments.
“Anthony has a world of talent athletically,” Kelley said. “Yet, I have always been impressed by his mental make-up. Combining his physical abilities with his mindset has been a remarkable experience to witness.
“His success on and off the field is a sincere result of his mental toughness, work ethic, determination to succeed and ability to push forward.”
Kelley enjoyed the opportunity to witness Bass’s success both on and off the field and admires him for his team-first attitude and his efforts.
“He never let the major league mentality and bright lights get the best of him,” Kelley said. “He is a man who is always thankful to those who helped him along his path.”
In 2008, Bass was drafted in the fifth round to the Padres and has pitched for the team the past two seasons after making his MLB debut June 13, 2011.
When Bass was drafted by San Diego, he said he knew that the task ahead of him was not going to be an easy one and that he had to stay focused in order to conquer his dreams of playing in the MLB.
The day of his debut happened fast and Bass was nervous but pushed through.
“I had the nerves going but I kept reminding myself that this is the same game I’ve been playing my whole life now it’s just on a bigger stage,” Bass said. “Once I let go of the first pitch, I was locked in.”
He has pitched in 51 games for the Padres, including 18 starts, and has recorded a 3.72 ERA with 104 strikeouts through 145.1 innings pitched.
Overall in his five seasons of professional baseball, Bass has a 33-25 overall record in his 149 appearances with 420 strikeouts and a 3.30 ERA.
During the offseason, Bass returns home to Trenton to spend time with his family and close friends.
This year, Bass has come together with Kelley to arrange an Anthony Bass Pitching Camp at Wayne State.
The camp will be held on Jan. 26 and is open to aspiring pitchers from grades 3-12 at the cost of $65 per person.
Highlights of the camp will include specific station and drill work with focuses on pitching development, mechanics and concepts involved for success on the mound.
Kelley was thrilled with Bass’s decision to move forward with the camp and believes it will be a great experience for all involved.
Bass, a natural leader and teacher, according to Kelley, will work alongside the rest of the Wayne State coaching staff and other NCAA student-athletes during the camp.
Kelley said he hopes Bass’s messages to camp participants will inspire their dreams and show they do not have to be from a warm weather region to play baseball.
“Anthony is living proof that you can be from the Detroit area and make it to the big leagues,” Kelley said. “With hard work and desire to reach your goals, it can be attained.”
Bass is excited for the opportunity to host the camp and give back to the school that helped him reach his dream.
“This is the least I can do for Wayne State athletics,” he said.
It’s not every day that a local community member makes it to the big leagues and Bass describes the experience as humbling.
“I want to be a testament that through hard work, dedication and discipline, anyone can achieve their highest of dreams,” Bass said.
Kelley describes Bass as a true role model and said he was a fixture in Wayne State’s community outreach activities before moving on to the MLB.
“He understands the opportunities presented to him as a major league baseball player and is very aware of the responsibilities that come with it,” Kelley said. “Anthony is a proven leader and I know this camp is very important for him because he is so excited to help aspiring players from our metro Detroit community.”
Bass is excited to be back in the city he attended school. Although he grew up not far from the city, it wasn’t until he went to Wayne State that he really got to know Detroit.
“I learned about the history of not only the university, but the city which was interesting to me,” Bass said. “I would say learning about the so called ‘hidden gems’ of Detroit was an experience I really enjoyed.”
While the Padres have not faced the Tigers in the past few seasons, Bass says that the next time the teams meet it will be surreal.
“I grew up watching the Tigers at old Tiger Stadium and Comerica Park, so playing against the team I looked up to growing up would be special to me,” he said.
Growing up, Bass idolized Cal Ripken Jr, and after playing professional baseball and experiencing the amount of games played in a season, he said he has even more respect for Ripken’s consecutive games-played streak record.
After hosting the inaugural pitching camp, Bass will return to the West Coast in March to prepare for the 2013 MLB season.
But Bass’s community work will be far from over, he says.
“I pray that I am blessed with many more years of health so it can allow me to touch as many lives as I can.”
Last Updated: 1/7/2013 10:52:46 AM EST