Before the pilot even aired, I predicted that Pitch would be an emotional roller coaster. Because the truth is, sports are really damn emotional. They hurt, even when there isn’t a championship on the line. Seeing one of your favourite players get traded? That sucks. Stressing out about trade rumours because you’re worried your team will make a giant mistake and trade away one of your favourite players? Terrifying.
Well, Pitch succeeded, and I am not okay. Not at all. Episode five was stressful, terrifying, devastating, and delivered more than a few punches to the gut. It was also probably my favourite episode so far.
The worst day of the year
The trade deadline is amazing for fans and broadcasters, but really sucks for players. It’s rare that a team gets through the deadline without making at least one trade: like they said at the beginning of the episode, they’re all either loading up for the playoffs or holding a firesale.
And the thing is, nobody is really safe. Even if you have a no trade clause, your team could ask you to waive it. Even if, like Blip, you know you’re one of the best players on your team, you also know that that makes you an extremely tradeable asset. On a day in which star players are being shipped around like crazy, you never know who your team might offer in order to land one of them.
It’s clear from the beginning of the episode that the deadline is the only thing on anyone’s mind. Even people like Ginny who know perfectly well that they won’t get traded are worried that their friends will leave, and that they’ll suddenly find themselves with a completely different group of players.
And like we saw last episode, this life doesn’t just affect the players themselves. They have to uproot their families as well. One of the lines that really got to me was Tommy’s when he talked to Ginny about Butch being traded: “You know the worst part, is that our kids are best friends.”
Can you imagine being a kid and having to change cities all the time, often in the middle of the school year, because your dad keeps getting traded? Especially when you think of those guys who constantly bounce around between teams, often getting traded more than once each season. How horrible that must be for their families.
Blip Sanders needs to stay on this team
It was pretty obvious the whole episode that Blip was not getting traded, but that didn’t make it any less stressful. We understood how the deadline was affecting his family: Evelyn couldn’t look into buying houses just yet, and the kids faced the possibility of moving at a moment’s notice.
But Evelyn and the kids aren’t the only people who would be affected by Blip being traded. Blip and Evelyn are Ginny’s only real friends in San Diego, and she’s rightfully scared that if they move away they might grow apart.
Ginny’s lonely. Her dad always made her think that she couldn’t have a social life if she played baseball. And don’t forget that Blip and Evelyn have left her before, back when Blip got called up to the big leagues. She doesn’t want that to happen again.
Was it out of line for her to go to Oscar about it? Yes, but can you really blame her? Sports teams often hold on to players who are “good in the room” because they recognize the importance of having a good team dynamic. Demanding the GM keep her friend on the team might not be the best way to go about it, but Ginny had to try.
I can’t say I didn’t see it coming.
You know someone important is getting traded hen the show dedicates an entire episode to the trade deadline. And it can’t be Blip, or Ginny, or Mike, because they’re all too important. But Tommy? He’s not a series regular. His redemption arc is pretty much complete. We love him. His departure would be just emotional enough.
But oh, that hurt. I can’t believe how much I liked Tommy, and how upset I was about his departure. His relationship with Ginny is so sweet, and it’s clear that he cares so much about all of his teammates. Just look at him during his “quality time” with Ginny. The guy is torn apart at the idea of one of his best friends having to leave.
Tommy is defensive, he’s mean, and it’s really hard to win his respect. But once you’ve won him over, he will defend you at all costs. I’m going to miss that.
And given his personality, I’m curious to see how he’ll get along with the Padres next time he plays them. He strikes me as one of those guys you love when he’s on your team, and hate when he’s not. Like Ryan Kesler or Brad Marchand. We’ll see how the Padres’ attitude toward him changes the longer he stays away from the team.
Another piece in the puzzle
As always, the flashbacks this episode mirrored the main storyline, focusing on friendships between teammates, and how fleeting they can be. The sad truth about being an athlete is that your teammates, your best friends, will probably all leave you at some point. And it will be completely out of you control.
This week, we saw Ginny make friends with Jordan Collins, the new guy on her minor league team who had some serious daddy issues and really wanted a friend. We saw the two of them hit it up almost immediately, despite Bill Baker’s attempts to control every single aspect of his daughter’s life. And we saw things go wrong in the most horrific way imaginable.
I knew there had to be more to Bill Baker’s death, but I certainly didn’t expect to get to know the guy who killed him. The worst part is that Bill died trying to give Jordan the one thing he never failed to give his daughter: someone to cheer him on from the stands. He saw this kid who played with so much joy and passion, but whose dad didn’t even care enough to attend the biggest game of his son’s life, and he thought, this is wrong. Baseball was always the one thing that he and Ginny shared. He probably thought he could repair the relationship between the Collins, but unfortunately, some people never change.
- “If one of you were getting traded, you’d hear from the GM, not Twitter.” Um…. Mike? You’ve heard the stories about players finding out about trades via Twitter, right? There are a lot of them.
- “They’re only seven!” “And a half!” I love that Ginny has basically become a Sanders kid.
- Nothing embodies the craziness of trade deadline better than Butch Hunter’s situation. Traded over and over again until he ended up right where he started. I love it.
- “So who’s gonna play third for us tonight?” “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re a bit of a killjoy, Ross.”
- Mike teasing Blip about Cleveland is my favourite thing about this episode
- “Making a deal is like dating. You don’t want to seem too desperate.” “Well for what it’s worth, my best move is to call the girl over and over again until she finally agrees to have dinner with me.”
- WHY do you think you’re safe the second the deadline passes, Blip? You know it takes a few seconds for them to let you know when you’ve been traded! That’s why some players find out about trades via twitter!
- So… Ginny knows about Mike and Amelia, and she doesn’t seem too happy about it. I must admit I don’t see any romantic tension between Ginny and Mike at all, but I’m starting to wonder if the show might be headed in that direction after all.
Pitch airs Thursdays at 9pm on Fox.