Note: this review contains spoilers for all currently aired episodes of Pitch.
I’ll give Pitch this, they certainly know about the ebbs and flows of the real baseball season. Following the All-Star Break (early July), this episode is all about the trade deadline (July 31). Everyone in the Padres clubhouse is on pins and needles leading up to the big day, because in baseball, nothing is a certainty, and come trade time, almost anyone is fair game.
The show focused heavily on Mike having a no-trade clause (but did not mention he’d also be a 5/10 player–meaning he’s been with the Padres at least 5 years and in the majors for 10, and as such can’t be traded without his consent), so he was safe, but everyone was fretting seriously over Blip.
The trade deadline plot was great for some characters (Oscar and Blip decidedly got the meatiest performances out of this) and less awesome for others, specifically Ginny. When she calls Amelia’s assistant to ask him about his fantasy team, and whether he thinks Blip might get traded, she outright says she has “no idea what he’s talking about” when he suggested some big-league roster moves that might occur. For Ginny, who has been surrounded by baseball her whole life, I simply don’t believe she wouldn’t understand this kind of basic logistic rosterbating. She would know this stuff. Equally unrealistic was the Katie Nolan background preamble that opened the episode, explaining the trade deadline, but I get that this was necessary for exposition to ease non-fans into the tension of the plot.
We’re also introduced to the new President of Baseball Operations, Charlie, a peppy younger guy played by Kevin Connolly. He’s meant to be a bit of a foil to Oscar, forcing him to cut $2 million from payroll while also building a contending team, which as most armchair managers know, is nigh on impossible. Oscar, fighting an impacted tooth, is thrown together with Ross, played by Josh Peck, a young analyst who got the job out of family connections. Ross, as far as I can tell, is only around to explain things to people in the audience who don’t know how baseball works, and that’s fine. Peck is reprising a role he played on a failed Amazon pilot about football, as someone in a position he didn’t necessarily earn, who accidentally does his job well. Mark Consuelos, meanwhile, has his best performance to date in this episode when he rips Ginny a new one for overstepping her bounds about Blip (also, omg Amelia, what were you thinking suggesting a rookie pull this shit?) His speech about baseball players and trades was phenomenal, and definitely the highlight of the episode.
There were two sub-par side plots this week, one dealing with a friendship from Ginny’s past, and revelations about her father’s death. Snore. The other was more Mike/Amelia drama, where I’m probably supposed to care that they’re getting more serious, but they’re just undermining Amelia’s toughness by turning her into a flighty girl with a crush and a mouth-guard (I am not making this up). Also Mike calls her a groupie by accident then tries to make it better by giving her a car. Wow.
This wasn’t the strongest episode to date, but still very watchable. I like the small details, like how Oscar’s working payroll is almost EXACTLY what the Padres real $126 million payroll is. They’re building up some future drama with Charlie wanting Mike gone to make room for younger players, but with his no-trade clause and the aforementioned 5/10 rule, that’ll be all up to Mike. Should be interesting. (I don’t see him going anywhere. He’s old-guard, he’d want to retire a Padre). I would have liked more out of the flashback, but they can’t all be winners.
Pitch airs on Fox Thursday at 9/8c. You can catch the episodes the following day on Hulu or Fox Online.