Note: this review contains spoilers for all currently aired episodes of Pitch.
Last week I asked “What was up with that final scene between Mike and Amelia?” and my question was answered in the opening frames of episode three as we pan over their discarded clothing and find the two enjoying a nice morning after make-out session. As much as I like the subtle chemistry between Mike and Ginny, I like that they’re letting him enjoy time with someone who isn’t his pitcher. For a Mike/Ginny romance to work on the show it needs to be earned. And this episode we find out why the road there won’t be an easy one.
In the flashback sequences (which I’m actually starting to enjoy), we see that Ginny did once break her “no dating players” rule for a handsome catcher in Texas, Trevor. They had a fun rapport, and when he told her he intended to leave the minors and return to college, she decided it was okay to date him. This ended up blowing up in her face after she took their relationship public, and he decided to stay in the game for a chance at the big show. I had a bit of a problem with Ginny’s reaction to him staying in the game. I don’t think she was wrong to feel lied to, but at the same time her feelings for him shouldn’t have been contingent on him giving up his own dreams.
The main baseball plot of the episode revolves around a rivalry match up with the Cardinals, the team responsible for putting jerk pitcher Tommy on the DL. I really liked how they handled this, because these kinds of revenge beanball games are very real and anyone who has watched a lot of major league games knows it. Ginny insisting on taking her at-bat after nailing the Cards’ starting pitcher was great, and it’s obvious it endeared her to her teammates, specifically Tommy. I’d lamented in the first episode I hoped he’d be more than just a sexist antagonist to Ginny, and it seems like he’s warming to her, and thus toning down his asshole schtick.
The other Padres plot dealt with manager Al trying to save his skin. The fight with the umpire at the beginning of the game was phenomenal, and felt really true to life, in spite of how ridiculous it might look to an outsider. The general rule of thumb with umpires is that they’ll let players and managers get lippy, as long as the insults don’t turn personal. I’ve seen plenty of hilarious blow-outs between umpires and managers before, so Al getting ejected over the line-up card didn’t seem silly at all. (What did bother me about this, from a realism perspective, was people referring to it as the bench manager’s first game. If Al had really been managing that long, and with Buck at his side, there would have been plenty of previous opportunities for Buck to take the helm following an ejection.)
The script this week was excellent, no big speeches, and lots of quippy one-liners. “You struck me out three times tonight.” “Looking to make it four?” The clubhouse dynamics are fun and feel real, like the team sharing a laugh with their Korean pitcher who speaks no English. My only quibble is with their use of Amelia, who should probably have her access to the field taken away after trying to interfere with the team’s decision to let Ginny bat. That’s a big old hell-no.
Pitch continues to go strong, with the dynamics between the characters building, and set-up for a phone-hacking plot that Tigers’ ace Justin Verlander will find all too familiar. Fox has a real winner on its hands here, and I hope they give it a chance to go the full season.
Pitch airs on Fox Thursday at 9/8c. You can catch the episodes the following day on Hulu or Fox Online.