TV: Pitch

Title: Pitch
Network: FOX
Airs: Thursdays 9/8 c
Starring: Kylie Bunbury, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Ali Larter, Mark Consuelos
Rating: TV-14
Reviewer: Audra Jennings
FA Scorecard: B

Desperate for something new to watch, I’ve taken to recording all sorts of new shows the past week with the start of the fall TV season. I’m ready for a little variety, and am giving up a couple of shows that used to be regulars for me. (For example, I am only watching Dancing with the Stars for Laurie Hernandez and refuse to watch The Voice because I will not watch Miley Cyrus regardless of how much I like Adam Levine. I also think I’m done with How to Get Away with Murder and am losing my enthusiasm for some others.)

I grew up in a family that loved to watch baseball. I can actually talk baseball along with the guys, and have a fondness for baseball movies. That’s what led me to give FOX’s new drama, Pitch, a shot.

Pitch tells the story of 23-year old Ginny Baker (played by Bunbury) who has just been called up from the minors to pitch her first game in the major leagues for the San Diego Padres. As the first woman to make it to the majors, the spotlight shines brightly on her. There’s a media storm. Crowds are huge. Her agent (who admittedly has never watched a baseball game) knows she’s got a star on her hands and plans to reap the benefits of the attention her new star client is getting.

The team’s owner and general manager are excited about the attention their team is getting. The owner is over the moon to be selling tickets and filling the stands with new fans, especially little girls who look up to Ginny. The general manager is cautiously optimistic.

The team, however, is another story. The team’s manager is an old school kind of guy who thinks all the hoopla surrounding the team’s latest pitcher is just a distraction. For the most part, the players aren’t too excited to have a woman in the clubhouse. The only friendly face for Ginny is Blip Sanders (McRae) who played most of a season in the minors with her a few years ago. Blip and his wife, Evelyn, are the only people to support Ginny in her big moment. There’s a lot of pressure to perform, and perform well, especially in this man’s world.

Among the skeptics is team captain and veteran catcher, Mike Lawson, played by Gosselaar (let’s just say ol’ Zach Morris from Saved by the Bell doesn’t look like he used to and I didn’t recognize him). In his first interaction with Ginny, he slaps her butt which doesn’t set well. After all, he’s a butt slapper. He slaps everyone’s butt. Of course, it’s not sexual harassment for everyone else.

A nervous wreck by game time, Ginny’s first outing doesn’t go well. She lasts about 10 pitches into the game, and each pitch is wilder than the one before it. When the manager visits the mound, she asks to leave the game. If her teammates weren’t skeptical before, they are now.

The owner isn’t giving up on her though everyone else is. Will her second outing be any better?

Along the way, we get flashbacks to the events that brought Ginny to this point. It all started when her father, once a minor league pitcher, tries to get Ginny’s brother to play ball in the backyard. When the brother ran into the house scared of being pitched to, little Ginny (three or four at the time) picked up the ball and impressed her dad with her arm, right from the start. We see Ginny as she pitches through the years and how her dad taught her to compensate for not having the same physical strength as the guys. She’s only as good as she is because her dad pushed her. It’s his pushing that keeps her going to this day.

Ginny’s second game does get better. After a Yogi-Berra-déjà-vu-all-over-again-moment, she finally earns the respect of her catcher. It looks like she might slowly get some respect from her teammates. It’s sure not to come all at once.

And Ginny’s dad? There’s a little bit of an unexpected twist there. 

I’m interested enough in the show to keep watching to see where they go with it. I’m afraid it will lose some momentum with the baseball playoffs coming up which will be televised on FOX. (There’s cameos from the real life FOX broadcast team during the show, by the way.)

I liked it, but won’t say I loved it — yet. Not a home run right off the bat, but a solid double. If you’re a sports fan, or just looking for a drama without a cop, government agent, or doctor, step up to the plate and give it a swing.

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