‘Pitch’ 1×03 Review: ‘Double Switch’

Three episodes in, Pitch is already becoming one of my favourite shows. In the pilot, I got what I expected: a wonderful blend of female empowerment and sports culture. In episode two, they took it a step further, diving into real world issues and Ginny’s influence in the world. And in this one, they blew me away with a comment on toxic masculinity in sports, while developing their characters so well that I’m now extremely confused about how I came to love people that I was ready to fire into the sun just one episode ago.

I keep waiting for Pitch to fall back down to earth and deliver an episode that’s simply okay, but so far, it’s been consistently phenomenal. I’m crossing my fingers that it will manage to keep it up for a full season.

Preserving her image

There are a lot of people in the world who don’t think women have a place in sports. Any female sports fan can tell you about all the times people have doubted their knowledge or credibility as a fan. A girl who doesn’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things related to her favourite sport is a poser. A girl who does is “too obsessed,” and the men are threatened. If you find athletes attractive, you’re only watching for the eye candy, or because you want to marry rich.

It’s the same way for female athletes. If they’re not aggressive enough, it’s proof that women are too weak to play sports, but if they’re too aggressive, they must be on their period. If they’re not into their teammates, they’re probably lesbian, but if they date other athletes, they’re sexualised.

There’s so winning, and I hope Ginny will eventually realize that. But it’s also hard to blame her for worrying about the way the world perceives her.

PITCH: Kylie Bunbury in the all-new “Double Switch” episode of PITCH airing Thursday, Oct. 6 (8:59-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  Cr: Ray Mickshaw / FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co.

I don’t date baseball players

Ginny’s rule about not dating baseball players makes perfect sense. Relationships with people playing at the same level as her could get complicated, and it’s easy to understand why she’d want to stay out of it. 

I’ll admit that I didn’t like Trevor at first, and still don’t really. Sure, he’s cute, but his persistence really got on my nerves, and I think Ginny deserves a guy who respects her wishes instead of withholding important information in order to keep her from breaking up with him.

Trevor shouldn’t have lied to her about quitting baseball. He made Ginny think he was safe, that soon he would retire and she wouldn’t have to deal with the awkwardness of dating a ball player, and then he threw it back in her face. He told her she was silly for sticking to her rule, which proves just how little he understood about her situation.

Trevor should have known that their relationship wasn’t going to last if he lied to her, and he should have discussed this issue with Ginny, given how concerned she was about her image. Could they have worked it out then? Maybe. But it doesn’t look like they will now.

If those pictures get out, the scandal won’t just be about Ginny and Trevor’s failed romance. It will be about the fact that Ginny Baker, the only woman to ever play in the MLB, has dated baseball players before. Which makes her a dateable person. That’s what’s going to make things awkward.

What’s a girl gotta do to get beaned?

There’s a fine line between sticking up for your teammates and sheltering them. No, Ginny probably shouldn’t have beaned the pitcher who hurt Tommy. But that’s part of the game. You defend your teammates, you stick up for yourself, and yeah, sometimes you get hurt. That’s what earns you respect. Right now, Ginny sure could use some respect from the rest of Major League Baseball.

Toxic masculinity runs rampant in sports, which is bad news for female athletes. Everyone already thinks Ginny needs to be protected because she’s a girl. They don’t expect her to escalate a beanball fight, and when she does they’re afraid of the backlash they might face if they hit a girl. The only way for Ginny to combat that is to go out there and be as tough as she can possibly be. So if Buck wants his new pitcher to gain some respect in the MLB, he should be ready to send her out to bat just like he would any other player.

And that Mountain who refused to hit her? He did more to ruin her reputation in that move than he would have if he’d just gone out and beaned her. Getting into a fight was a way for Ginny to prove to the world how tough she really is, despite the efforts of everyone around her to make her look like someone who needed to be protected.

PITCH:  Mark-Paul Gosselaar (R) in the all-new “Double Switch” episode of PITCH airing Thursday, Oct. 6 (8:59-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.  Cr: Ray Mickshaw / FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co.

Let’s talk about this Tommy guy

One week ago, if you had asked me what I thought of Tommy Miller, the misogynist who makes sexual innuendos about Ginny and gets all butthurt when she shows him up, I would have said he was my least favourite character on the show. I would have said that he needed to leave the team immediately, whether or not his play warranted it. He was creating problems in the dressing room. He was a horrible human being. The Padres needed to load him into a rocket ship and fire him into the sun.

But now… I kind of really like him? I feel dirty for saying this, because he’s still a misogynist and this episode doesn’t erase that, but I can definitely say that I sports-like him, the way I sports-like Bobby Ryan.

A new vocabulary word, for those who don’t watch sports

Sports-like, for the uninitiated, is when you’re overwhelmed with love for an athlete even though a small part of you knows you would probably hate him if you knew him in real life. You know he’s kind of a jerk, but he’s such an exciting player and he tries so hard and always sticks up for his teammates so as long as he’s not assaulting people or saying really offensive things you’re willing to ignore his shortcoming and pretend he’s a god. It’s the opposite of sports-hate, which means hating a player who you know perfectly well would be your favourite if he played for your team (for example: up until a few months ago, P.K Subban was probably the most sports-hated player in the NHL).

Anyway, that’s how I feel about Tommy right now. I won’t ever forgive him for the way he acted in the first two episodes, but the respect he showed for Ginny in this one warmed by heart. He was the only person who wanted the manager let Ginny go to bat. He was the first person to join the brawl in her defence. Even his “one of us has to go back down” comment at the beginning didn’t have as much malice in it as I might have expected. And that fist bump won me over.

He respects Ginny now. He’s treating her like part of the team, which is all she wants. Their relationship is developing into a wonderful bromance, and I’ll admit that I’m a total sucker for sports bromances.

People who underestimate me tend to be surprised

Next on the list of “people I used to hate who turned out not to be total dicks” is Al Luongo, whose firing I have been anxiously awaiting since his very first scene. Last episode, he showed the tiniest bit of self-awareness by apologising to Ginny for his sexist comments. This week, he proved that he has genuine respect for her by expressing concern that his firing might be blamed on the new addition to the locker room. He also encouraged Buck, his assistant manager, in his dream of taking over the team. And apparently he speaks Korean?

He’s not a feminist, and he’s not doing enough to help Ginny, but he’s a good manager, who cares a lot about his players and understands the implications of his comments about Ginny. He’s also treating her like every other player which, though it might not be enough, is exactly what Ginny wants.

Mostly, Al is learning. So is Tommy. And that means something.

Random thoughts:

  • I totally foresaw that Mike/Amelia hookup. It’ll be interesting to see where they go with that relationship.
  • Alright Ginny, I know you admire the guy, but keeping your teammate’s poster on your wall is a little creepy.
  • I am 100% sure that real athletes play EA Sports games as themselves and chirp each other about the results.
  • I can’t wait to hear how that “date” with Drake goes. Please tell me how it goes, Pitch.
  • Ginny putting her arms around Trevor to teach him how to play golf was absolutely adorable.
  • “Come on Blip, get in there!” Was the best quote of the episode, hands down. I love you, Evelyn.
  • I love how Trevor advises her to “let someone in,” clearly hoping that someone will be himself, and she immediately goes to talk to Mike. These bromances, guys. They’re really getting to me.

Pitch airs Thursdays at 9pm on Fox.

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