Previously on Pitch, “Wear It”
Out to Pasture
Pitch has a formula. It’s a good one, but it’s still a formula. It’s like a good recipe for familiar food; so imagine my surprise when they threw some new spices into the mix. This week, Mike Lawson, our hero’s mentor, friend, and maybe eventual lover, was the focus of the show and its signature flashbacks. It happens because Livan Duarte, the catcher Oscar signed two weeks ago, is finally coming up and being tried out in Mike’s position. From the opening, when we see Mike’s knees cracking as he stands, we can tell his longevity as a ball player is weighing on him. But what makes Mike a great ball player isn’t just his skill on the field. It’s his skill as a team captain and his love for the game that really shows us what he means to the team.
Flashbacks of a young Mike, learning baseball from his couch while being taught hard life lessons from his mother, who seems like a transient and a grafter, are juxtaposed with his attempts to get through to the young, brash Duarte who’s tossing his bat after homeruns and ignoring the press disrespectfully. Although I have to admit I chuckled when he pretended not to know English to evade the press. You would think more journalists would know Spanish given how many baseball players are Latino.
Mike has always had a strong sense of right and wrong, and he clearly cares about this team so he plays first base and even gives Duarte his chance to work with Ginny as her catcher rather than calling the shots like he could have as the senior player. And it definitely didn’t go unnoticed by everyone in the locker room. Duarte might be the hotshot young player, but he’ll have a hard time leading this team if he doesn’t eventually show Mike the deference he’s earned.
I am VERY glad they did that
Meanwhile, Ginny is benched. Not because of her meltdown last week; it’s just a quirk in the schedule to make sure they can play the hitters they want against the right teams, but Ginny is taking it as a slight. Additionally, the nude photos are about to leak so she’s trying to avoid another scandal. Fortunately, Al sees her getting in her head again and takes her out to let her know that the pitcher’s mound “can’t be [her] normal”. He tells her that she has to be able to find normal and calm off the field. This is a great lesson that Mike probably also needed before getting this close to retirement.
Ginny experiences even more love from the team when they all rally to pose nude with her for the ESPN Body Issue and the pictures are released early to counteract the negative press from the hacked photos. It’s great to see Ginny bonding with the team and like I’ve said before, the team coming together to protect Ginny actually bonds them tighter as a group. It’s been lovely to watch and there were some cute, flirtatious moments with Mike as well.
- Oscar has really stepped up as a team manager. He’s confident in his decisions but he handles criticism and channels it well. He never told Mike that he was right about Duarte but he did go to Duarte and let him know he was messing up but he believes he can do better. It was a great balance.
- There’s a rumor that the team might put Mike on the waiver list since he has a no-trade clause in his contract. Basically, this would allow another team to pick up Lawson’s existing contract which technically isn’t a trade. I don’t think Oscar’s going to do it but he’s also (unfairly in my opinion) keeping Mike on his toes.
- There were two great moments in this episode from the women. When Amelia goes to tell Oscar about the nude photos he tries to go hard about it and Amelia calls him out for mansplaining and the double standard. Ginny similarly calls out Blip when he tries to slut-shame her too. They were both good moments where the men reacted stereotypically and the women shut it down immediately. It was great.
- Check out this tweet from Mark Paul Gosselaar if you really want to see the hottest bodies in the Pitch family:
— Mark-Paul Gosselaar (@MPG) November 11, 2016
I’m really glad Pitch deviated from its usual formula. Mike’s backstory was intriguing and I had tears in my eyes when he wanted to reconnect with his father. They’ve all come to baseball for different reasons and I’d love to see more of Blip’s backstory as well. With the team’s photoshoot, the show definitely chose to go the warm and fuzzy route, but keeping the focus on Mike made for a richer episode this week.