“Pitch” was a one season gift

After a long period of uncertainty, the official word came down this week that Fox would not be renewing “Pitch” for a second season.

This seemed like an inevitable conclusion after the series failed to maintain its initial viewership, did not get picked up for extra season one episodes, and was left in limbo for so long after its finale. But for fans who hoped a summer season might be possible, and just wanted to see Ginny, Mike, Blip, and the other Padres, it’s as sad a loss as the last day of September is for many baseball lovers.

“Pitch” was a gift. It was a short gift that we only got to enjoy for a little while, but it was a triumph all the same.

What “Pitch” offered us was a wonderful look into the world of baseball, a charming female lead in Kylie Bunbury, a diverse cast, and a beefy, bearded Mark-Paul Gosselaar who deserves a new third act to his career after this. It offered little girls a narrative that, while based in fiction, was close enough to reality that they could see themselves in Ginny’s cleats.

It was a baseball story that got almost everything right. Some things were changed for easier audience understanding, some things were over-explained, some were downright fantasy, but at its core this was a show made with the blessing and support of the MLB. That level of inclusion, the real stadiums, the real teams, even cameos by players and commentators, allowed “Pitch” to feel incredibly authentic. That, by extension, made its premise of a female pitcher in the MLB feel more real. This was something the MLB endorsed. This was an achievable reality for the future.

Sure, there was drama, it was a TV show after all. Some of the non-baseball stories were silly, some felt too on the nose, but even still there was a beautiful heart to the series, and its showcase of a strong woman who was still allowed to be scared and vulnerable. The decision to cast a black actress as Ginny was all the better, because it genuinely represented league diversity, where forty percent of players are either Latino, black, or Asian. As the MLB works to improve access to baseball in inner cities areas, it is wonderful that the creators of “Pitch” showed not only a woman, but a black woman, becoming a sports icon in a game where it often seems black players get overlooked.

The supporting cast was also full of diverse characters, like Ginny’s best friend and teammate Blip, his wife Evelyn, and their beautifully realized marriage. How wonderful to see a loving relationship where the people involved are actual partners who worked together to overcome difficulty, rather than their marriage just being used as a ploy for drama.

There were more stories to tell in this series, but alas we won’t get to see them. What we have, however, is one beautiful little season where we were able to see a woman in a major league baseball uniform. Where we were able to see baseball itself take center stage.

“Pitch” might not have lasted long, but I for one am grateful we got to have it even for a little while.

 

 

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