Out of all the new shows this Fall season (American shows that is), Pitch is by far my favorite. Somehow, the series completely missed my radar at first so perhaps it missed yours as well. A new baseball show didn’t exactly scream riveting to a non-sports fan (I watch figure skating and that’s about it). Not to mention, I love sports films almost as much as I love sports itself. But there are exceptions. Most notably, A League of Their Own, a film about the women who played baseball while men were out at war. Something about this film just spoke to me.
While not a period drama, if you like A League of Their Own, you might just like Pitch because the themes of endurance, dreams, and misogyny are similar. Sure, there’s no Tom Hanks to entertain us with witty, dry asides. But what Pitch does have is awesomely layered female characters and a potential romance that has me hooked only three episodes in.
In an alternate present day reality, Ginny Baker is the first woman to play in the Major Leagues. A nationwide phenomenon, Ginny is a pitcher with a secret pitch, a pitch that puts her in the boy’s game, a game her father has been drilling into her since she was a child (think Michael Jackson’s father and you will begin to get an idea of her intense training).
With flashbacks of her childhood and earlier experience in the minors mixed in with Ginny’s current day entrance into the Major Leagues, the show creates a juxtaposition of time that will draw you into Ginny’s world. You want her to succeed almost as much as the little girls rooting for her in the sold-out stands. Ginny even has the magical number 43, one number above the infamous Jackie Robinson.
But joining the Major Leagues is no walk in the park. Most of the guys on her team just don’t take her seriously. They think this is all a ploy to sell tickets and make money. Even her coach has made sexist remarks in the past about her looks.
Then enters famed and seasoned baseball player Mike Lawson (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) who comes across as an arrogant playboy. He’s team leader and just as much of a hard worker as Ginny. Being the oldest player on the team at 36 and with a major knee problem he tries to underplay, Lawson has a lot to live up to if he wants to continue playing the game.
Of course, Ginny and Mike seemingly clash at first, but it is a kind of clash that leads to a promising mentorship and potential attraction down the line. This is clearly going to turn into a love story and I have to say that I am absolutely thrilled about that! I haven’t been this charmed by Gosselaar since his Saved By the Bell days. And coming from the co-writer of the old-fashioned romantic fairy tale Tangled, there is A LOT of potential to be had. The chemistry and build up works thus far unlike most of the drivel bore snores of couples people call romance these days. Ginny and Lawson are going to be a slow build of the best kind. If the writers take another turn, I will not be happy…
Aside from the slow burning romance (of which I’m sure will cause some eye rolls for those who despise any kind of love story), some sexist naysayers out there will likely also complain about the ‘realism’ of a girl playing baseball (just like they whined about Supergirl’s focus on female empowerment). But I don’t believe the show aims for realism. Rather, Pitch aims to showcase gender politics in a way that is both identifiable for women and romantic at the same time. Pitch is about finding hope as you attempt to achieve your dreams. It is the themes that stand out, not the nitpicky misogynistic complaints thrown at the show for not being realistic enough. Hello! This is a TV Show. How many TV shows are ACTUALLY realistic? Let’s be real.
On a side note, the side players are also compelling onscreen, particularly Ginny’s icy agent/publicist, Amelia Slater. She can be cold, full of emotions, and tough. Amelia is probably the most layered character on the show with Ali Larter just killing the performance. I can’t wait to see where her character goes from here.
Romance, the plot, the actors, and the characters make Pitch one to keep an eye out for in a sea of so much sameness. Give it a chance! Is the show perfect? No. Still, this is one new series definitely worth giving a chance to. Pitch airs on Thursdays on Fox at 9/8 c. You can also catch up on Hulu.
Content Note: Pitch would be rated either TV-PG or TV-14 for sensuality and language.
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Photos: Fox Television
“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My
feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me
to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”