‘Pitch’ 1×02 Review: ‘The Interim’

Following the incredible success of last week’s pilot, a lot of fans were concerned that Pitch wouldn’t be able to keep the momentum going. Once you’ve introduced the first female pitcher to the MLB, and she’s done a good job, what more is there to explore?

As it turns out, a lot. Pitch didn’t miss a beat in its second episode, continuing to explore Ginny’s trials and tribulations as the first female athlete in any of the four major American sports leagues, and consequently the most important woman on the planet. It dove further into sports culture and feminism while continuing to be wonderfully realistic and highly entertaining.

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You’re bigger than the game right now, rookie

In my review of last episode, I pointed out that the Padres’ management needed to stop thinking it’s enough for them to treat Ginny like she’s just another guy. I said they needed to acknowledge her importance as a feminist icon. This episode, Ginny learned that same lesson.

Because the truth is, Ginny doesn’t want special treatment. She doesn’t want to be a feminist icon. Like she said, she just wants to play ball. Except just like the GM can’t send her down after one bad game, Ginny can’t pretend she doesn’t have incredible influence in the world right now.

Ginny didn’t say anything revolutionary on Jimmy Kimmel. The idea that we need to tell boys not to rape instead of telling girls not to walk into boys’ dressing rooms is something that feminists have been saying for decades. But she echoed it, and in doing so she brought attention to a serious issue that needs to be discussed more. Most athletes don’t like using their platform to talk about politics, which in some cases might actually be a good thing because a lot of them aren’t very smart, but they do hold a lot of influence. Since Ginny’s very presence in the MLB is a statement, she’d be wise to use her power to do even more good in the world.

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I need to work harder than everyone else

Ginny knows perfectly well that she can’t throw as hard as the guys on her team. She also knows that she’s never going to make it unless she really excels on the field. And because she’s a ridiculously determined girl, she’s working her butt off every day to be the best she can possibly be at her sport.

Could this be the key to winning over the room? If Ginny’s teammates can finally get over the fact that she’s a girl, they might realise that they can learn a lot from her. She has far and away the best work ethic of all the players, and if I’ve learned anything from watching professional sports, it’s that team executives are obsessed with work ethic. Maybe if the players see how hard she’s working, they’ll finally gain some respect for her, or at least treat it like a competition.

But this could also be another dividing factor in the locker room. Pitch has made it clear that the Padres players don’t like being shown up by a girl (no surprise there), and if she’s doing better than them off the field too, they might not take that very well. It’s stupid, but it’s the way these guys work.

PITCH: Mark-Paul Gosselaar in the all-new “Pilot” series premiere episode of PITCH airing Thursday, Sept. 22 (8:59-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co.

Legacy. What is a legacy?

Well, that didn’t take long.

I knew I’d come to like Mike Lawson eventually. I figured in a few episodes he would turn out to be a more nuanced character than the pilot made him out to be, and I’d decide he was a good guy after all. But I don’t think I expected to like him so soon.

I still think Lawson is a narcissist who lets fame and fortune get to his head and gets a free pass with the fans because he’s pretty and funny, but he’s also a lot smarter than he pretends to be. He respects Ginny and understands what her presence on his team means. He knows what she’s doing to the locker room, but rightfully blames his teammates for their behavior, not her.

And he’s also a guy who is facing the end of his career without ever having won anything important. For someone so clearly obsessed with his own image and legacy, that can be a tough pill to swallow. Athletes play to win, from the time they’re kids dreaming of one day winning the big game, right up to the very end of their career. Every sports legend has carried their team to victory. How many baseball legends can you name who never won the World Series? How many famous hockey players can you name who never won the Stanley Cup? Football players who never won the Super Bowl? To reach the end of your career and realise that you’re never going to achieve your dream is devastating.

Mike Lawson is nearing the end of his career. Right now, he’s a valuable mentor and an excellent captain. He’s holding this team together. But sooner or later he’ll stop being useful on the field. Hopefully, Pitch can give him a nice dramatic exit. 

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Amelia Slater

One of the standout performances in the Pilot was Ali Larter as Ginny’s agent, Amelia Slater. She may not be much of a sports fan, but she’s fierce, she knows what she’s doing, and she believes in Ginny. In the flashbacks this week, we got to see a bit more of her backstory, and how she found our protagonist.

When Ginny accepted Amelia’s help, she finally acknowledged the astronomical implications of her making it to the big leagues. She understood that she needed someone more capable than her brother if she was going to become one of the most important women on the planet.

I think that the key to creating engaging flashbacks is to have them tie in to the main story of the episode. Pitch has done that so far. In this episode, the flashbacks fit the theme of legacy, and of acknowledging that your situation is not normal, that you’re making history. In both timelines, Ginny had to embrace her fame and stop pretending she was just another guy.

Random thoughts:

  • I definitely don’t think Pitch is going to introduce a romance between Ginny and Mike, but I absolutely love their relationship. He’s becoming a kind of mentor to her and it’s great.
  • I forgot to say this last episode, but Kylie Bunbury has blown me away so far. Her acting in the scene with Jimmy Kimmel especially was amazing.
  • This Tommy guy needs to go, and soon.
  • Alright, so I jumped the gun a bit with Al. I assumed he would be fired right away. But hey, he seems slightly redeemable now.
  • That “I have three daughters” excuse isn’t gonna cut it, but it’s something. At least Al is starting to understand the issues with his comments.
  • Mike’s face when Ginny kicked his butt in the gym was priceless.
  • I loved how Pitch introduced the ridiculous superstitions athletes have with Blip’s lucky shirt.
  • Will’s going to come back, right? We’ll get to see more of that adorable brother-sister relationship?
  • Is it just me or were they kind of maybe hinting at something between Amelia and Mike at the end there?

Pitch airs Thursdays at 9pm on Fox.

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