Previously on Pitch, “Beanball”
As exciting as the first three episodes of Pitch have been, it was nice to take a breather from all the game-centered drama to focus on how being a professional athlete can take its toll elsewhere in life. Of course, this is kind of an ongoing theme for the show in general – we’ve seen how Ginny’s entire world has changed since making the majors. But “The Break” offered some bits of character development by further exploring the sacrifices and struggles Ginny, Mike, and Blip have had to make and endure to get where they are. It also highlighted the phases we experience in life, and how to accept when it’s time to settle in to one or to move on. This week, Ginny faced both sides of that coin.
When Ginny makes the All-Star team she’s hesitant to accept the opportunity with open arms. Partly because, in some sense, the spot should have gone to Blip so she feels guilty, but also because it’s not typical for rookies to make the team. She feels she’s been given special treatment because of her current high-profile status. Surprisingly, Al is the one to push her into accepting the spot on the team. I’m not sure I love his analogy in comparing her situation to his first date with his wife but, hey, it helped Ginny realize that despite having earned this chance under unique circumstances, she should make the most of it. In general, I think it’s hard for a lot of women, especially young women, to consider themselves worthy of these types of opportunities, so it was slightly cathartic to see Ginny finally go for it. Hopefully, this can further assist Ginny in accepting the fact that she’s made it this far and deserves every bit of good that comes along with it.
Part of making the All-Star team though, meant she would have to sacrifice time she’d already set aside for a visit with her mother. After much speculation about where Ginny’s mom, Janet (Chastity Dotson,) had been during this epic time in her daughter’s career, “The Break” finally put their relationship into perspective. Ginny and Janet have been on rocky terms for quite some time. At first, it’s hard to get a read on Janet’s character. We knew there was tension between her and her daughter – we saw Ginny try to use Evelyn, Amelia, and even Mike as a buffer for their impending visit. But when Janet learns the news about the All-Star game, she’s happy for and supportive of Ginny. That is, until she realizes it means less time for them to spend together. It would seem then, that Janet doesn’t completely approve of Ginny’s life as a ballplayer. Flashbacks scattered throughout the episode say otherwise however, as we see that Janet was more than encouraging, and even offered to help Ginny break free from her father’s strict control should she ever want to stop playing ball.
The flashbacks go on to highlight just how much Ginny had to give up in terms of a normal adolescence in order to focus on her dream. Young Ginny has a moment of doubt about her future, thinking it might be nice to blow off practice and go to just one school dance, but her excitement is crushed when she finds her mother with another man, (her now current boyfriend,) Kevin (Darius McCrary.) From that moment, Ginny focused on baseball and, seemingly, chose to become distant from her mother. The audience finally gets clarity on Janet, when she confesses to Ginny how baseball ruined her marriage and took her daughter away from her. It’s also what helps Ginny realize her mother made significant sacrifices for her baseball dreams, too. As an adult, Ginny is now able to re-contextualize her mother’s indiscretions with Kevin, accept it, and choose to move on. I will say, it’s somewhat cruel to let Janet go on thinking it was simply baseball that drew her and Ginny apart, but I guess there’s no sense in bringing up old shit?
Speaking of old – OK, this segue might be a little unfair – Mike is also dealing with an imminent new stage in his life. As his injuries flare up, making him unable to play in the All-Star game, he has to consider what comes next. Like many retired/retiring athletes do, Mike sees himself moving into the role of sports commentator. He tries his hand at the job when he gets a gig sitting in on the roundtable covering the All-Star events. At first he’s awful, but once he settles in and speaks from the heart it’s easy to see a new career forming. During the show however, news of Livan Duarte’s signing to the Padres reignites Mike’s desire to play baseball for as long as he can; despite the inevitable consequences to his body. Still, this looks like the beginning of the end for Mike as a catcher.
Last but not least, Blip’s realization of all the sacrifices Evelyn makes for him was a much-welcomed plot point. As much as their #couplegoals marriage is a joy to watch, exploring this conflict only served to enrich both characters and add nuance to their dynamic. With Blip, we see that he’s not always the perfect, appreciative husband. In fact, he can be extremely oblivious and fairly selfish. When she needs to, Evelyn can step out of the 24/7 supportive wife role and tell Blip what’s what. Her speech to her husband about the things she and their sons must forfeit in order for him to be a success was honest and raw. For now, it’s satisfying to see Evelyn step up for herself in this regard, but it would be nice to delve even a little deeper into her life. We know she truly loves Blip and baseball – despite their argument, she and the boys cheer him on from a hotel during the All-Star game – but there has to be so much more to who she is.
Blip’s recognition of his failings as a husband and father did resolve itself rather quickly. While it’s easy to believe Evelyn’s words woke Blip up to the reality of the situation, these two seem to do a “reset” at the end of every episode. It’s starting to walk the line of becoming a little sitcom-y. Having some conflict last for longer than an hour wouldn’t be so bad, or point towards any weakness in their marriage. In fact, watching them work through the interference of Blip’s professional life into their personal lives for a little longer may have offered even further depth to their relationship; delivering a greater impact when they reunited stronger and all the better for it. To be fair, they are secondary characters, so if this is the most development we get for a while, I’m content enough.
- I love the way Oscar recruited Livan Duarte; it offered so much insight to his past, and relationship with Al. It’s going to be interesting to see if/how the team dynamic shifts with Duarte’s addition. Will this make things better or worse for Ginny? Maybe the media will finally have something new to focus on?
- I’m fine with flashbacks, but we really don’t need to see the same scene twice in an episode. Pitch did a little too much handholding when they reminded us of the words Ginny’s mother said to her as a child, just so we could make the connection when Ginny says the same thing to her mother in present day. Pitch, have a little confidence and trust your audience.
- On the other hand, at least Pitch didn’t take the easy route with Ginny and Blip. They could have easily made her place on the All-Star team a source of tension between the two, but it would have been conflict for conflict’s sake. These two have had such a great friendship, I’m happy to see it remain supportive.
- It’s interesting to consider what Ginny’s path may have been had she never seen her mother with Kevin that day. Would she have stuck with baseball? Ginny genuinely seems to love the game now, but we continue to learn about external factors that had big impacts on her decision to pursue the sport. I hope future episodes continue to explore Ginny’s relationship with baseball and flesh out her true feelings towards it.
- The chemistry building between Ginny and Mike is really natural and I could see them hooking up, which is great. The problem is, Amelia and Mike also have a genuine chemistry, and the longer their little tryst goes on the closer we get to the dreaded love-triangle. I’m here for either relationship, but I’m not here for a woman-vs.-woman-over-a-man conflict. But, who knows, maybe Pitch can pull it off in a fresh way.
Pitch S1E4 = 8.8/10
User Review( vote)