PITCH is so basic now, guys. It’s barely even worth watching except out of the vague hope that maybe it will magically become somewhat decent again. “San Francisco,” apparently having exhausted Ginny’s traumatizing childhood, moves on to giving Lawson ridiculous flashbacks instead. The new catcher behaved in ways that are not acceptable and that only really show up in low-level minor league players who are eighteen years old. For a bit of feminist flavor, Ginny’s nude photos finally hit the internet and it just didn’t even seem that important. Oh, Pitch. What are we going to do with you?
First, I’d like to address a logistical concern that I have with every single character’s childhood being weird and awful. Obviously things that happen to you as you’re growing up have a huge impact on the person you grow into. But in the case of high-level elite Major League baseball players this is just statistically improbable at best. To make it to the Majors as an American athlete you typically have to be in incredibly expensive youth baseball programs with your parents dedicated enough to your sport that they ferry you hundreds of miles to your games. Sure, a lot of people don’t do that. But if you’re an Amercan and you’re serious about baseball, you’ve got to do AAU. Drifting around with your vagrant mother isn’t going to give anyone the opportunity to become a Hall of Fame catcher. Just what. Also, oh my god, the baseball coach was his actual father. Of course he was. What the hell am I watching? This is the sort of show that you couldn’t pay me to watch except that the lure of a woman in the Majors sucked me in. I thought I had signed on for something else. Please stop the trolley. Anyway, I’ll just retcon it in my own head that Lawson had an awesome stable high school career. Because otherwise I’ll just start laughing hysterically in this show’s face. It’s quickly losing credibility with me.
A second logistical concern is Leroy the cocky catcher. I mean, I know some players actually act like that but they’re players that I hate deep in my soul. Zambrano, Ortiz, and a few folks I knew in college come to mind instantly. So maybe it’s just personal loathing speaking, but come on. No rookie busts onto the scene like that. Also, it is no excuse whatsoever for someone to behave like a dick because they had to escape hardship. I guess this episode sort of demonstrated that with the ultra-tacky flashbacks about Lawson, but the GM Oscar was hammering that “he got sent back to Cuba five times!” point too hard. The show definitely is trying to wring every drop of melodrama out of every possible situation and I’m annoyed. It’s one thing to do that with a show like Empire which is structured like a soap on purpose. It’s another to try to tell a story about a woman breaking gender barriers and mire something that interesting in unnecessary dramatics.
The swipe at gender related issues was a combination of a sexy bobblehead version of Ginny and her nude photos being leaked. I liked the ESPN Body photoshoot solution to the nudes. Presenting your naked body in your own way is a good demonstration of how to reclaim personal autonomy. But the whole scandal was weirdly subdued. After the awful way they introduced us to this issue and then the show basically ignoring it until now, it all just seemed like a ploy to get everyone naked. The moment when all her teammates showed up for the photoshoot didn’t even touch me. I felt like they were trying to play my heartstrings but were instead banging on a piano in the building next door. Not only the episodes have lost their classic obstacle-failure-triumph sports plot but the entire season makes basically no sense on a narrative level. Ah well.
And can someone please give me a timeline on this show’s baseball schedule? They obliterated most of the season in a few weeks so what are we even doing right now? What’s even happening? I can’t wait until they start making noise (a month from now) about how the Padres are in playoff contention. Ha! Ha, ha, ha! This show edges further and further into Absurd Fantasy Soap Opera Land the farther along they get.
There was one thing about this episode that I was glad to see return and that was the baseball gameplay as an actual plot concern. This is a show about baseball players. Either make it 100% about their trashy escapades or actually bring the baseball back into it more. About half of this episode’s plot had to do with what was happening on the field and so we got to see that actually occur. I loved Ginny coming in in relief and accepting that role. I was worried they were going to have her flip out about coming out of the bullpen given how she flipped out about trades and various other things that anyone who’s been playing ball as long as she has would already be cool with. I liked Lawson handing over the reins to the cocky catcher and said catcher getting the guy to ground out on the first pitch. My favorite, though, was Lawson who is error-prone at first base picking that grounder out of the dirt and turning a slick 3-2-3 double play. That was the moment of triumph in this episode for me, not the saccharine photoshoot scene. If you give Lawson a purpose, he’ll play his heart out.
I’ll be perfectly honest: if I wasn’t reviewing this show I’d have stopped watching it weeks ago. It’s tedious and trashy at this point and has very little left to make it worth the time and energy. My philosophy is nothing is worth the extra anger, so if I show upsets you just drop it. This show doesn’t upset me, but I’m bored and annoyed. At this point it’s definitely fun to nitpick to death, though.
Season 1, Episode 7 (S01E07)
Pitch airs Thursdays at 9PM on Fox
Dana is a digitization archivist by day and a masked pop culture avenger by night. She spreads the gospel of science fiction and fantasy wherever she goes.
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Dana Leigh Brand | Contributor