Here at Fangirlish, we are absolutely smitten with FOX’s new baseball drama Pitch. A hopeful, empowering story with phenomenal production value, lots of positive representation and an entire cast of relatable characters, it stole our hearts in episode one and still hasn’t given them back.
Join Fangirlish writers Beata, Lizzie and Lyra as we discuss Pitch episode seven, San Francisco.
What were your overall thoughts on this episode?
Beata: I didn’t think Pitch could surprise me any more, and then it showed a humorous side. After a serious of fairly dark episodes, this one was a nice change of tone that I’m sure a lot of people really needed this week. And yet, amid the pictures of naked athletes and jokes about Blip’s junk, there was also some nice social commentary that I really appreciated. All in all, a very solid episode.
Lizzie: The ending was good. I mean, did I say that? I meant the EPISODE was good. Yes. All of it. Because, despite the fact that I truly enjoyed the photoshoot, I will say that the way Ginny (and the show) handled this whole thing was absolutely the opposite of drama for the sake of drama. It was mature, it was smart, and it was – like Pitch tends to be – feminist as hell. The whole storyline with Livan was also brilliantly handled, because that’s the way of sports, and the show isn’t shying away from that, despite the fact that we might love Mike Lawson.
Lyra: Overall I think this episode was brilliant for tackling some hard subjects that people are afraid of talking about. It left us with a stronger understanding of our characters and maybe even a little bit of ourselves. The team is more united than ever, despite Livan’s behavior, and I’m looking forward to what’s next. You keep surprising and delighting me with your story, Pitch!
This episode introduced conflict between Mike and the new Cuban catcher, Livan Duarte. What did you think of the way both of them were acting? Did you sympathize with one more than the other?
Beata: I have a habit of defending athletes like Livan who have talent but aren’t exactly humble, mainly because I’m a hockey fan and most hockey fans/media put WAY too much stock into “intangibles” and “being good in the room” which essentially translates to “good north american white kid who never says anything interesting and also fights a lot.” So when I saw the way Mike was acting, I immediately thought of all those people who say that PK Subban celebrates too enthusiastically, or that Alex Ovechkin doesn’t backcheck enough. Like, the kid’s good at baseball. Give him a break.
That said, I absolutely understand why Livan got under Mike’s skin. The kid is so self-centred, so big-headed, that he definitely needs to be taken down a few notches before he can take Mike’s job. He needs to learn that in this industry, talent can only get you so far. You need to work hard too. And you need to learn from the pros.
Lizzie: Livan was 95% jackass – but then again, that was the best thing about him. He had reasons for being a jackass, or he thought he did, and the fact that the show doesn’t shy away from complicated portrayals or make it’s characters one dimensional is one of the things that keeps me interested. I think, knowing about baseball, gave me a greater understanding of why Mike – and the rest of the team, really, wasn’t buying into the Livan hype. And I do think he needs a lesson in humility to be not just a better ballplayer, but a better person. But I think with Mike and Oscar around to guide him, he’ll turn out okay.
Lyra: I loved the back and forth between Livan and Mike. Livan was trying to prove himself so hard and act like he was above it all.. Mike elevated himself in turn and showed Livan what a real baseball player acts like. The truth is that the way Livan is acting is not how you make friends in baseball or anywhere in life. It takes time and mentors who have lived in this world. I know Livan’s life has been hard but so has Mike’s. We’ve all gone through shit and that doesn’t excuse our behavior or give us a free pass to be a jerk to people.
Mike also got some backstory in this episode, as the flashbacks related to him instead of Ginny for the first time. What did you think of the flashbacks, and the way they related to Mike’s predicament in the present?
Beata: I can’t say I was as invested in these flashbacks as I was in previous ones, but I certainly appreciated the insight into Mike’s character. I think we learned two important things about Mike Lawson this week: he feels inadequate, and he doesn’t like change. When he was a kid, his mom rarely ever showed up to his practices or games, and offered new toys when he clearly wasn’t doing well. Now, he’s being shoved aside for some jackass with a head too big for his body. He was constantly moving as a kid, and because of that he’s afraid to lose the stability he’s found with the Padres.
Lizzie: I’m glad we got to see a little bit of what makes Mike tick, of what made him the man we’re seeing today. Because we care about that man, and we want him to be better, healthier, happier, and in order for him to do that, you kind of have to peel the layers back and see inside. It happened with Ginny too. The more we know the easier it is to understand her.
I think Mike’s thing is that he’s never felt like he was good enough – for his dad, for his mom even, for his ex-wife. He’s never been the thing other people would put first – and that leaves a mark. So, in a way, he’s holding onto baseball because of that, just as he’s holding onto his ex. And, as absurd and contradictory as that sounds, that’s why he’s afraid to truly let Ginny in. If he does, and she’s just like everyone else, what’s he gonna do?
Lyra: I was genuinely surprised by the fact that they did flashbacks for Mike. Does that mean we might get flashbacks for Blip too?! I’m getting ahead of myself. Mike’s flashbacks just made me fall in love with his character even more. He’s not perfect, didn’t start out that way, and he’s still moving forward and trying to kick life’s ass! And that friendship he’s been slowly building with Ginny? He needs it just as much as Ginny does. No one should do it (life & it’s woes) alone. So go forth and call Ginny, Mike!
Ginny was upset that she wouldn’t be able to pitch in the next game, which prompted Al to take her aside and tell her not to make baseball her whole life. What did you think of this exchange? Do you agree with Al?
Beata: I absolutely love this relationship, and I definitely agree with Al. Baseball can’t be everything to Ginny. She needs something else to fall back on because the truth is, baseball isn’t always going to go well. Sometimes, it’s going to cause her more pain or anxiety, and she won’t have anything to distract herself with. She needs hobbies, friends, a normal life. That’s been abundantly clear these last few episodes.
Lizzie: Ginny, dude. You’re the fifth starter. Suck it up. This is what happens when you’re the first starter. Pitch well and maybe you won’t be the fifth starter next year. That’s how baseball works. You know this.
Also, listen to Al. Go get a life outside of baseball, because baseball is only something you can do for so long. And you need something to fall back on when you’re done. Just ask Mike.
Lyra: After multiple talks with Lizzie to understand why Ginny was upset, I second her suck it up. You’ve just gotten into the major leagues. Take your time and don’t overwhelm yourself. You know how baseball works so stop acting like you don’t. Al’s advice to enrich her life with other things is a sound concept. Ginny needs other things to fall back on when the pressure gets too much or if she needs an escape from baseball. We should all do that with our lives for the very same reason.
Pitch didn’t shy away from the sexism in the way Ginny is treated compared to her male teammates, first with the bobblehead and then with the nude photos. What did you think of the way they treated the subject?
Beata: I loved it. It was realistic in that it presented the arguments of the other side, but made it very clear that sexualising female athletes, or blaming women for taking nude photos, is not at all acceptable. The message was explicit and unmistakable. It’s also a very real problem in the world that many fans can understand and that a lot of people need to learn. This is a show about women in sports. Of course it’s going to tackle sexism.
Lizzie: The most important thing they did, I think, was tackle it head on. HEAD ON. They didn’t shy away from it. Because it’s an issue. And a lot of other shows would have just tried to present one side, while Pitch just let it play out like it normally would, and in that way, it gave us a glimpse of both sides, even Blip’s well-meaning but misguided comment about Ginny needing to be smarter because she was a girl. What the situation needed was for someone to treat it just like Ginny did – as something that happens, that’s not a big deal, for a guy or a girl, and that’s it.
Obviously, that’s not how the world would treat it, but screw the world. The world is wrong. And Pitch is, and has always been, really, a glimpse at a better world than the one we live in, I think. One we aspire to be. One of decency, and diversity, and equality. I like the world of Pitch. I wish I could move to it. I bet they have a female President.
Lyra: I like that they’re not hiding it or shying away from this topic. They’re looking at sexism right in the face and saying, “I don’t like you and we’re gonna talk about.” In a way, it feels defining and sets this show apart from the rest. Pitch isn’t a show to escape in and ignore life and it’s woes. This is a show ABOUT life. That’s what makes us connect with it. That’s why I connect with it cuz I sure as hell know nothing about baseball. But sexism? Hell yeah. I know that. I can connect with that. And I can appreciate the way Pitch says, “Sexism is real and we’re going to flip it the bird and work through it.” Means I can do it too.
Finally, what was your reaction to the nude photoshoot? Gifs are just as acceptable as words.