Note: this review contains spoilers for all currently aired episodes of Pitch.
It’s the All-Star break in San Diego. With only one player–Mike Lawson–expected to be on the roster, Ginny and Blip have made their own plans for the annual week-long summer break from baseball activities. Blip, who has never been named to the team, will spend his time in Anaheim with Evie and the boys. Seriously, has anything ever been sadder than hearing him say “We’re going to Disneyland” after finding out he wouldn’t be taking Mike’s place on the squad? The interplay between Blip and Evie later in the episode is gut-wrenching, as she lets him know things aren’t always sunshine and rainbows. I really love these two and the way they show how much work it is to be married to someone in the game.
Ginny has to deal with a visit from her mother, with whom she clearly has a very strained relationship. We haven’t heard much about Ginny’s mom up to this point. She’s been around in flashbacks, mostly as a counter to Ginny’s overbearing father, but in this episode we learn how difficult it was for her to be shut out of her daughter’s formative years, and why Ginny seems so cold towards her. The scenes between them were tough, but honest, and it was nice that they didn’t go an obvious route with Ginny having a too-supportive mother figure. Few things in life are so easy.
Meanwhile, Mike’s back continues to plague him, so Amelia works a little magic to get him in as one of the commentators for the game. He goes in expecting to be an instant pro, only to discover he doesn’t necessarily have the knack. I liked seeing Mike stumble a bit here, because it gave him new focus, and a new way to adapt his off-the-cuff speeches. Heck, he’s better than a bunch of the real color-commentary guys Fox employs.
The third plot of the episode revolved around Oscar heading to Amsterdam to sign a Cuban player who recently became eligible for offers thanks to an age discrepancy. This felt like a bit of a nod to the Yasiel Puig insanity of 2013, with teams tripping all over themselves to give him an offer. Ultimately, Oscar appeals to him on an emotional level, but the new guy makes it clear he won’t be a second stringer to Lawson. This should lead to some nice animosity in the clubhouse. We’ll see how good the newbie is with Ginny. Also, when is this show going to address catchers wearing nail polish? Tossing a new guy into the mix would be a perfect opportunity to mention this tidbit.
“The Break” offered us the best integration of real game footage yet. From Ginny, Mike, and Blip standing in line side-by-side with real All-Stars, or the very real home run Salvador Perez hit in the 2016 ASG being attributed to Ginny (Perez actually plays himself in this episode, re-creating the at-bat). The co-operation of the real MLB lends the series a great feeling of authenticity that helps a viewer totally immerse themselves in the world Pitch is creating. (Also, someone needs to get me one of those MLB headquarters mugs ASAP)
Corinne Massiah is wonderful as young Ginny, having to do a lot of her role with very little dialogue. She makes the most of it, and I genuinely want more teen-Ginny flashbacks if it means seeing more of her.
Overall, Pitch is really getting its feet under it, and the balance of baseball-drama and life-drama is maintained in “The Break.” They handle the game aspects well, and it’s real enough for sports fans to enjoy without being too bogged down and inaccessible for non-fans. Fox has yet to order a full season pick-up for the series, but I’m hoping they’ll do the smart thing and let it play out. It’s a great show, with a great female lead, and I’m enjoying the hell out of it.
Pitch airs on Fox Thursday at 9/8c. You can catch the episodes the following day on Hulu or Fox Online.