I am happily navigating the ocean of new television searching for my next fangirl island. One of them happens to have a baseball field on it. Fox’s much-anticipated new series, Pitch, and is a grand slam.
Starring Kylie Bunbury, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Michael Beach, and with a big assist from Major League Baseball, this emotional and riveting sports drama follows the fictional Ginny Baker, the first woman to play professional baseball.
Here are 5 reasons you should catch this Pitch—one of the best new shows of the season.
*It feels like real life. Hurry up and wait. It's the succinct truth of life. Everyone has dealt with the aggravation of tirelessly preparing and then waiting for a job interview, graduation or a vacation only when it finally arrives, it's almost never goes as expected. This principle was cleverly applied to Pitch, and it’s why the pilot is a near-perfect hour of television. It begins on Ginny's first day as a professional baseball player and tracks her through the swarms of press and adorable little girls constantly reminding her of the bigness of the moment to her receiving her jersey--a sentimentality selected 43, one number above Jackie Robinson's, to mark the occasion. It's a maddeningly effective way to flesh out this character and her world. By the time she actually makes it to the mound, I'm already invested in Ginny and an anxiety-ridden wreck.
*Ginny Baker is a badass. When team captain Mike Lawson (a very hairy Mark-Paul Gosselaar) slaps her on the ass like one of the guys, she checks him. And when he yells at her, she grins, all dimples and beauty, checks him again and punctuates it with an ass slap of her own. It's the baseball version of a mic drop, and a reminder that she's been doing with overgrown egos and rivers of testosterone for at least a decade. And yes, I already ship Ginny and Mike.
*The cast is phenomenal. In addition to TV veteran Gosselaar, Pitch is lucky enough to score the woefully underrated Michael Beach (ER, Third Watch, The 100)—the small screen’s equivalent to Denzel Washington. He portrays Bill Baker with an aggressive finesse that’s compelling to watch and more layered then you’ll catch on first viewing. Kylie Bunbury's (Twisted) acting chops proves she can hang in the big leagues. After Ginny’s first time on the mound descends into a disaster, she disintegrates under the pressure. Bunbury’s fearless performance sells every agonizing second of it. "I'm a robot in cleats, and I'm malfunctioning!" she screams to her stone-faced father, and you ache a little for her.
*It’s okay to fail. Gone are the days of the valor-draped heroes tirelessly crusading for the little guy. Viewers have embraced the anti-heroes, who are just as liable to shoot good people as they are to save them, so being inspired by this girlpower guru is refreshing and necessary in today’s turbulent times.
Making is history is a difficult, ugly and path that's riddled with just as many failures as successes. After her first pitching catastrophe, Ginny trains harder, returns to the mound under even more international scrutiny and does well, and it’s wholesome and inspiring.
*THAT TWIST. I had suspected from watching the promos than Ginny’s father either was going to die or had passed away earlier, and Pitch’s pilot offers the cruelest confirmation. While it makes for a jaw-dropping twist—even I was horrified to watch it unfold—it’s disappointing that there will never be a chance to examine this complicated father-daughter relationship, which is a rarity on network television.
Flashbacks explain Ginny's determination and her sugar-and-steel persona. It was really her childhood that thickened her skin and honed her near pathological drive. Her father-turned-coach is an intimidating blend of Joseph Jackson and Mr. Miyagi. You see his love of the game and his skill for nurturing technique, and yet his teachings can veer into the intense and possibly abusive, a side effect from his own failed attempt at reaching the big show.
But then Ginny’s relentless drive comes from her father and more importantly, because he died. She has literally accomplished the impossible, and yet she will forever haunted by her father’s last words: “We ain’t done nothin’ yet.”
The final harrowing minutes of Pitch, however manipulative, have had a massive impact on Ginny's life for better and worse, and I can't wait to see how that plays out.
Don’t miss the next episode of Pitch Thursdays on Fox at 9/8c. Check out the promo for this week's episode!
Photo Credits: theatlantic.com; cnn.com; etonline.com
Small Screen Girl
I am an unabashed pop culture and TV-aholic with no plans to ever seek treatment. Explore this blog and see just how deep my obsession goes.