Anthony Bowens is known for punishing opponents in the ring. But before stepping into the squared circle, the out gay pro wrestler was a baseball star.

Bowens’ followers on social media may notice the reigning AEW World Trio Champion spends a significant amount of time in the batting cage. He wows his fans with sweet strokes, lining up the ball perfectly.

A diehard San Francisco Giants fan, Bowens played college ball at Montclair State University in New Jersey, where he roamed the outfield for two seasons. He finished with a respectable .254 batting average, to go along with three home runs and a .342 on-base percentage.

This week, Bowens returned to his collegiate stomping grounds, to give the current Redhawks a pep talk ahead of their season. Never content to sit out, he got a piece of action, too. Bowens stepped into the batter’s box and played the field.

His presence appeared to be widely welcomed.

Bowens, 33, often ties together his loves for baseball and wrestling. He recently trademarked his in-ring moniker, “The Scissor King,” and created a special bat.

And we must say, his wood is pretty sweet. Its bright red coloring ensures it sticks out.

The phrase “Scissor King” is also transcripts on the bat, along with Bowens’ signature scissor logo. It was released earlier this month, just in time for the MLB season!

There was also his batting challenge against “Hulk Hogan.”

To kick off the year, Bowens issued a challenge to elite NCAA pitcher Robbie Salvatore of Kean University. If Salvatore could strike him out, he would receive two tickets to one of AEW’s signature PPV events, World’s End.

Their first encounter was a battle, as Bowens worked the count full before smashing a changeup. Eager for another crack, Bowens challenged Salvatore to face him again, though this time the hurler came out on top.

As Bowens says at the end of the video, a deal is a deal. Salvatore had the tickets in hand.

As much as Bowens enjoys his life as a wrestling star, it’s apparent that baseball is his first love. After graduating college, he worked at MLB Network as a production assistant.

He returned to the network’s headquarters in February, appearing on the morning show and taking a tour of the facilities.

We love everything about his experience, right down to his wardrobe selection: a wide-open bright pink baseball jersey. Bowens may no longer play competitively, but he still knows how to throw down some heat 🥵.

In all seriousness, it’s awesome to see Bowens as such a visible figure in the sports world. While pro wrestling has a reputation for pushing atavistic values, baseball isn’t that far behind. It can be a conservative sport, and young players are often encouraged to suppress their personalities for the sake of fitting in.

But Bowens, a prominent out Black athlete, feels at home in the dugout. That’s pretty neat!

He plays a similar role in the wrestling world as well.

“We’re in a lot better place than where we were when I first started, because there’s a ton of open LGBTQ wrestlers out there,” he said in a cover story interview last summer with Between the Lines. “Some on television, a lot of thriving [ones] on the independents. So hopefully we continue to grow and get more in, because there are a lot more in other sports and entertainment.”

One of the hallmark moments in Bowens’ journey as an out gay wrestler came last June, when a raucous crowd showered him with one of the most self-affirming chants imaginable: “He’s gay!”

A female commentator, Harley Cameron, said she could tell Bowens was attracted to her. 

He quickly corrected the record, with the help of thousands.

Since coming out in 2017, Bowens has used his platform to promote LGBTQ+ rights wherever he goes. When Bowens captured the AEW World Tag Team championships with his partner Max Caster, they celebrated with pink and white confetti.

When addressing the crowd, Bowens didn’t hide from his gay identity. He leaned right into it.

“I never thought that I would be able to live my dream because there was a time when I was very confused. And I didn’t know how to accept myself,” he said. “But I fought through that [bleep]. I fought through all that [bleep]. And now I cry because I’m a champion. Max, and I, The Acclaimed, we are champions!”

Resiliency is paramount in baseball, a sport in which even the best players fail seven out of 10 times they step into the box. Bowens has a lot to teach athletes of all stripes. It’s great to see them listening.

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