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Pitch: Mark Consuelos talks season 1, episode 5

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Ray Mickshaw/Fox

Every week, a member of the cast or crew of Fox’s Pitch — the fictional story of the first woman to play Major League Baseball — is taking EW behind the scenes. For each episode, a cast or crew member is sharing thoughts on what went down, what’s coming up, and walking us through the ins and outs of the show. This week, actor Mark Consuelos walks us through the fifth episode, “Alfonzo Guzman-Chavez.”

As told to Nivea Serrao:

On his latest obsession:

In doing preparation for this episode, I really wanted to understand the trade deadline. I drew a diagram back at the house. I needed to figure this stuff out. I really wanted to understand what we were trying to accomplish, even if it took me a while. About 30 percent of it is how to put a team together, and it was so difficult to understand. There are so many factors. I started reading through the manuals of sabermetrics. I must have read it 30 times. Now, I have a kid in college, and kids in high school now, and I get on them about not studying. I have to tell you: Any kind of learning difficulties they have, they got from me because I said, “Wait a minute! I don’t understand this. This makes absolutely no sense.” But I just kept on going and going and going.

I have some knowledge of it now. A couple of episodes later, we were on set in the locker room. I’m walking through and I see the last name on a guy’s jersey. I said, “We traded that guy! He’s not in this episode.” They replied, “What?” I said, “That uniform! I traded him.” They said, “You’re right.” I said, “You change uniforms. You can’t give him that uniform.” Or, we traded for a left-handed pitcher and he’s got a right-handed glove. I said, “He’s a lefty. He wouldn’t have that glove. You have it on his right hand. He’s a lefty.” And they said, “You’re right. How do you know this?” I replied, “I’ve been studying this for the past three weeks and I’m obsessed!”

As general manager, you have to be obsessed with the details in the mix. You have to know what the make up of the team is. It’s a big deal. That’s the one thing I realized. Some guys — such as the old school guys, the coaches, and the general managers — would put a team on the field by feel. That does work, but now, with sabermetrics and the math, it all factors in. 

On Oscar’s karmic justice:

They threw in this serious toothache at the beginning of the episode, which they brought back from a previous episode. It’s funny. It’s that thing where you fake having something and next week you get it. So each scene this toothache gets worse and worse and worse. I was consulting with the script supervisor, saying, “Where am I at in the ‘toothache portion’ of this episode? I want to track this.” There are only two things worse than dental pain. Aside from foot pain and childbirth, I would probably rank it up there. Not knowing what childbirth feels like, I would say it’s right there.

On finally sharing a scene with Kylie Bunbury:

I’m like the rest of America — I’m a huge fan of Kylie Bunbury. She’s a star. I’m so in love with her. We laugh because we never really have scenes together. We kind of just walk past each other. I haven’t had anything since the one scene where I welcome her to the team. That’s it. I loved being thrown into this scene — which is not an easy scene — right in the middle of the season. We played a lot with the idea. The thinking is, listen — you’re a young player and you’re the most famous baseball player in the world right now, but you never walk into a general manager’s office and tell them not to trade someone. That just doesn’t happen — especially if you’re a rookie.

Again, Oscar has a toothache and he’s really, really pissed off. He’s got this boss and the ownership just crushing him. At every turn, you’re running out of time and being told, “If you don’t do this, I’m going to get rid of you.” There’s that pressure. And then you have a rookie walking directly into your office and tells you that you need to do something. In the back of your mind, you know she’s dealing with a lot: she’s getting sudden stardom, and you’re wondering how she’s going to handle it. At that point, it was the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps it would have been better over a cup of coffee is she said, “Hey, I really want this guy to stay. I hope he can stay.” But she tells me, “I’ve got pull. I’ve got leverage, and you’re going to do this.” Of course, Oscar flips. He says, “No. I will not. I will not take this from one more person at this time.” That was the impetus for the scene.

Executive producer Paris Barclay directed the episode. If he wants something different from you, he’ll tell you — and he won’t stop until he gets it, which is great. It’s never a question of, “Do we have this? Did we get that?” If you know you’re moving on, you’ve got it. He got what he needs.

On that Grandfathered mini-reunion:

What I like about the show is that Dan Fogelman uses actors from all his previous shows if he likes them and they’ve done a good job. I think that’s a testament to them and to him. Kelly Jenrette, who plays my assistant Rhonda, was on Dan’s last show, Grandfathered, and so was Josh Peck. With actors who keep the ball in the air, you already feel in good hands. Josh and I hit it off almost immediately. He’s an amazing guy, and he’s got such a great sense of humor.

Kelly played John Stamos’ assistant last year. I always joke with her, asking, “Who’s better: Stamos or Consuelos?” She lies, saying, “Of course you, Mark.”

 

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