‘Pitch’ 1×01 Roundtable: ‘Pilot’

One of the most anticipated shows of the new season, Pitch is finally here, and here at Fangirlish, we want to take a moment to discuss this monumental new drama.

Because Pitch is a show about sports, yes, abut it’s also a show about feminism, and about going after your dreams, and about family. It’s a little of everything.

And shows like that don’t come along very often.

So join us as we discuss the “Pilot episode, and share your own thoughts on the comments below.

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What were your overall thoughts on this episode?

Beata: I have never felt so pandered to. Even as someone who doesn’t know much about baseball, I felt like I was watching a show that had been written with me in mind, like the writers had looked into my brain and created the perfect TV show for me. It was realistic, emotional, empowering and everything I could have possibly wanted out of a sports story. I had really high expectations going in, but it somehow managed to surpass them, and I am beyond excited to see where they take things from here.

Alyssa: It was so much more than I could’ve ever hoped for. There’s no denying that the hype for this show has been at high altitudes since the show was announced. Heck, they moved it from midseason to the fall because of the hype. So the expectations were high. But the actual episode shattered those expectations. This episode meant so much to so many people. Whether it was how the show handled the expectations and realities of a woman in professional baseball or how it handled the relationships in the show. Nothing was overtly sexual. That’s not what this show is about. Everything was raw. There was a point where I forgot that I was watching a television show — it was that real.

Lizzie: I have a hard time expressing how much I loved this episode, a real hard time. Mostly because I came into this with absurdly high expectations, and I was absolutely not disappointed. In fact, I think this episode surprised even me. It probably has to do with the fact that TV, in this day and age, is not as inclusive or as female-friendly as it prides itself on being, but I watched this show and, as a girl who loves sports, I felt myself tearing up more than once (even before the heartbreak at the end), because I saw that, even if it was fiction ….this was still a big step. It was about telling little girls that yes, you can be anything you want to be. Even President. Even a MLB pitcher. And that’s everything.

Lyra: It blew me away with it’s heart and ability to portray a young, courageous, well-rounded, and beautiful woman. She’s all sorts of greys and so is this story. There’s no black and white. And those cliches that people love to use so much for female led dramas? Let me wave at you as you pass by. Out of here! I’m not into sports and was so sure that I knew what this show was when I came in. I was wrong and I’m glad I was. This is a show that touches and resonates with sports fans of all sexes and women in particular. Can’t wait for more!

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Ginny is already starting to make friends in the big leagues. Is there one relationship in particular that you’re looking forward to seeing develop?

Beata: There are so many! I’m excited for Ginny/Blip and Ginny/Evelyn, but I must say I can’t wait to see her interact more with Mike. After watching the trailer, I assumed there would eventually be romance between the two of them, but now it’s clear that though they might get there eventually, it won’t be for awhile and it’s certainly not on their minds at the moment. They’re both such strong characters and Mike clearly has a lot of influence on the Padres players and fans, so gaining his respect will go a long way toward Ginny finally winning over the room (and the stands).

Alyssa: One of the relationships I’m really looking forward to seeing more of is Ginny and Mike. They had such a natural rapport that there is so much they can explore with these two. These two are obviously both strong-minded individuals that are likely to butt heads, which will make for interesting evolution in their relationship. And even though this show isn’t about romance, I can see those two eventually getting there. But there are other relationships that I can’t to see evolve, as well. Whether it’s Ginny and Blip (because we need more friendships between a man and woman) or Ginny and Evelyn (because we need more friendships between women).That’s the beauty with this show — there is so much to explore.

Lizzie: I’m looking forward to more Mike/Ginny, because I feel like that’s going to be a push and pull relationship, and those are always interesting. But what I’m more interested in seeing is how they keep developing the relationship between Ginny and Blip. Full-on bromances between a man and a woman don’t exist in TV, and guess what, they do exist in real life. And I think it’s a big step forward that, in a show like this, they’re willing to be real about the way man and women relate to each other, outside of romance.

Lyra: Ginny/Zach. What do you mean his name is not Zach and actually Mike? Fine! Ginny/Mike. I want to see their relationship develop because there’s not one iota of sexual tension between them. He’s asserted his position as allie who wants the best for his team, which now includes Ginny. I’m looking forward to something different besides them looking across the locker room with heart eyes and changing the dynamic of the show. This isn’t a love story. This is a friendship. I’m ready.

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Let’s talk about Ginny. Women in sports are often badly misunderstood by the media, and a lot is riding on her portrayal. What did you think of her character?

Beata: She felt so real! She’s tough, but not emotionless, unbelievably calm and focused yet still allowed to be human. She knows exactly where she stands and what the world thinks of her, but she’s not complacent with it. You can tell that she’s grown up playing with boys and knows exactly how to deal with their bullshit. I can totally see how this girl could have made it all the way to the majors. I also loved that there wasn’t any awkwardness about her being in the locker room or hints at possible romance, which are things that people bring up a lot with female reporters. Like she said, she’s just here to pitch.

Alyssa: I thought her portrayal was very raw and real. It was her portrayal that was part of the reason why this show felt so very real to me. The fact that she’s the first woman in professional baseball is obviously a lot of pressure for someone to carry, but at the same time we saw how this was just Ginny going about her life. She’s played baseball all of her life, which we saw in her determination and desire to deflect distractions, but at the same time the media made a circus of the situation, which led to the overwhelmingness of the situation. But one of the things I really admired about this pilot was how it showed the reaction in mainstream media and general public. For all the haters on the fictional show and in our nonfictional reality: “Today a girl was the lead sports story in the world.” So get over it.

Lizzie: I think they portrayed her in a very realistic way. She was confident, and you’d need to be if you were in her position, but she wasn’t immune to the pitfalls of the position she was placed in. Of course she was nervous, and of course she felt the pressure, and like any human being would, she didn’t really react the best way at first, and she questioned who she was even doing it all for. That’s all very real, not just for the first girl to pitch in the majors, but for any athlete in a high-pressure situation. So, I liked that they didn’t make her ups and downs be all about the fact that she was a girl. It was all just amplified by the fact that she was. And that’s 100% real too.

Lyra: Speaking as someone who doesn’t like sports, and doesn’t know to what extent women are treating like withholding second hand accounts, I absolutely love Ginny! She’s passionate, yet hesitant. Poised, but slips into panic. Brave, yet nervous. She’s human and I admire her portrayal to be just that. I think women in sports isn’t the only thing at stake here when it comes to Ginny. What’s at stake is well rounded and realistic portrayals of women that show that we’re not one trick ponies. We’re complex creatures and deserve to have our stories told well.

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What did you think of Bill Baker? Was it wrong of him to treat his kids the way he did? Or did the ends justify the means?

Beata: It’s a tricky situation because obviously nobody should ever hit their kid, or treat their kid like a ticket to fame and fortune, but it’s also clear that Ginny was passionate about the game from the start and that her dad gave her the push she needed to take it to the big leagues. It was way too much, and I think she would have made it even if he hadn’t taken things as far as he did, but to a certain extent he did help her. I hope we get to see more of him in flashbacks, because looking back, I felt like everything happened too quickly. At first, I got the impression that I was supposed to like him, though the way he constantly pushed Ginny and seemed to care more about raising an MLB player than being a good dad really bothered me. And then suddenly he hit his son and it was like wait, what? And I thought the show would explore that relationship a bit more, but they skipped right to his death.

Alyssa: I definitely didn’t agree with how Bill Baker treated his children in some regards — with the physical slapping of his son — but I feel like he gave Ginny the drive she needed to become what she has. Sure, he might’ve been too much at times. But if Ginny didn’t truly love baseball then she wouldn’t have gotten to this point.

Lizzie:  I don’t think the end ever justifies the means, but I do like that, once he saw that Ginny had talent, he treated her just like he would have treated a boy. If Ginny believed she could do it, it was because her dad believed she could do it. Was he too hard on her? Yes. Did he chose this path for her? I don’t think so. I think this episode proves that Ginny ultimately wanted this for herself, not just to please her Dad, and he merely provided the push that she needed.

Lyra: It was absolutely wrong for him to treat his kids like this. You see this over and over again with parents who never achieved their dreams and discover that their kids hold the same talent. They push too hard to satisfy a part of themselves that says, “I could’ve done this.” 

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This episode was obviously extremely emotional. Which scene hit you the hardest?

Beata: There were so many ups and downs, but the montage of Ginny’s failures in her first game really got to me. She’s worked so hard for this moment, and now everything’s crashing down around her and she’s let down every girl in the stands. Even though I knew it was coming, it all felt so real, and I really felt for her in that moment. What made it worse was that I was already bursting with pride from that beautiful shot of her entering the stadium.

Alyssa: I was a mess throughout the episode. Obviously the ending scene was emotionally blindsiding. Unlike some I didn’t see it coming, which made it all the worse. I was so wrapped in the emotional aspect of the first woman in baseball storyline that I wasn’t even thinking beyond that. But then it’s something that made sense when I watched the episode again. It showed that Ginny was doing this not only for her father but for herself, as well. Then there was the moment Ginny stepped back on the mound following her disastrous first start. Not only did she have the courage to get back up there, but she then proceeded to dominate and show that winning had absolutely nothing with being a woman. She won because she pitched a hell of a game and had her teammates’ support.

Lizzie: The end was brutal, even though a part of me was just waiting for something to happen to her dad, because that’s sort of the way these stories go. I didn’t quite expect it to have already happened, I thought we’d see it develop, but when I finally got it, well, I’m not too proud to admit I cried. I’d teared up a lot during this episode, mostly at the good moments, but this was full on weeping. Because she’s not doing this for him, but a part of her is, and will always be doing this for him. I can relate to that.

Lyra: I was going to jump on the bandwagon and say that the ending killed me but…there’s another scene. When Ginny was first getting to the stadium and had all those young girls cheering her on, the feels hit me. Ginny is doing something that many never thought possible. Even better, she’s inspiring the next generation to reach out for whatever the hell they want. Now, that is beautiful.

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There has been some concern that Pitch won’t be able to keep it up for the rest of the season. Thoughts?

Beata: Speaking as a sports fan, I’m not very concerned. I watch my hockey team play 82 plus games a season and I love it. If Pitch can make me invested in this team, and the storylines surrounding it, I have no doubt that I’ll eventually follow the fictional Padres’ season as religiously as I follow my pathetic yet lovable Senators. Sports are full of drama and emotion. And even for people who aren’t into sports, I think there’s so much they can explore with Ginny’s story and the challenges that women face in male dominated environments.

Alyssa: That was my initial concern, but then I think about all of those involved with this show, and there’s just no way they’d let that happen. This first episode was undeniably the most significant episode of this series, let’s be honest, but I don’t think this is the best it gets. There are so many more challenges that Ginny faces in her journey as the first woman in baseball. But then there’s also the challenges that come with sports. I have no doubt that Pitch will continue to bring the drama, emotion, and storytelling needed to make this a hit for a long time to come.

Lizzie: I have hopes. I mean, I can’t go and say I’m 100% sure they will, because even good shows make mistakes, but the people involved seem to have a really good idea of where they want to go with this, and more importantly, what it means to be making this show, and that’s very important if they’re going to continue taking Ginny to a place that feels not just real as a ballplayer, but as a woman. So, high hopes. Really, truly high hopes.

Lyra: I share the same fears, to be honest. The premise of Pitch seems like it would do a killing if it were a movie, but this is a show and the risks are even higher. The producers will have to expand on her character, introduce outside conflict, and make us invested in all parts of her life and not just the baseball. In addition, they’re going to have to flesh out other characters to get their hooks in us so we’re invested in all facets of this show. It’s a tricky situation but I have no doubt that they’ve thought about all of this. Now all we need is a little faith. You’ve got some faith to spare for Ginny, right?

Pitch airs Thursdays at 9pm on Fox.

Beata

Reader, fangirl and aspiring writer. Obsessed with horses, hockey and Herondales. Frequently has her heart broken by fictional characters and terrible hockey teams. Contact: beata@fangirlish.com.