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, EP and co-creator Dan Fogelman walks us through “Don’t Say It.”
I was asked to write a few words about the season finale of Pitch. But it’s hard to talk about the season finale without talking about how this all started.
Over five years ago now, I was invited to a dinner party at the home of a co-worker and friend. Sitting next to me at the dinner was Tony Bill — legendary director, producer, actor, and all around beast of a human being. I instantly LOVED him — I thought he was one of the most interesting people I’d ever spoken to and, well… I just liked him.
I also liked an idea he was telling me about — a film he’d been working on getting made for many years. It was about the first woman to play in the MLB (a screwball pitcher who develops a close friendship — and maybe more — with her veteran All-Star catcher). The idea stuck with me long after the dinner. “What a great film that would make,” I often thought to myself. And like many things you think to yourself… I kind of left it there.
Years later, my producing partner Jess Rosenthal and I made a deal to produce television at 20th Century TV. I realized, “Wait a second, Fox broadcasts MLB.” And suddenly I thought to myself, “Hmm, I wonder if that lovely guy’s idea would make a TV series?” So I called my co-worker/friend who had long ago had invited me to her dinner party, and I got Tony Bill’s info from her. And I called him.
Two days later, Jess and I had lunch with Tony and the writer of the “film” version of the idea, Rick Singer. Thus began a journey that has truly been a highlight of my professional career.
Rick and I wrote the pilot together and here we are, almost a year later, having written the season finale together once again. When I say “together,” I mean Rick did everything after our brilliant writers broke yet another brilliant episode with him, and then I got to come in, tweak four lines, and put my name on the script and write a self-aggrandizing article focusing on myself for EW.com.
This show has been such a treat for me — getting to walk on the grass at Petco Park would have been a career highlight on its own, but getting to script baseball action that happens on that field was simply out of this world.
The story tonight was always where this season was going to end — Ginny finally coming of age in full, on the mound, while throwing her best game as a major leaguer — a potential no-hitter even! If the pilot was the story of a young woman becoming the first woman in the major leagues, the rest of the season has been about this young woman deciding what type of woman she wants to be. She’s got a lot of people pulling at her, a lot of people wanting things from her, and her first season journey has not always been an easy one.
But in this episode, Ginny finally takes the reigns of her life in full — ousting those she deems harmful, instead of helpful (even if she’s not seeing the grey areas) — and finally, in a scene mirroring the highpoint of our pilot episode, GIVING the speech to the veteran male catcher on the mound, instead of RECEIVING it. There’s hubris here, of course, and she hurts some people even as she makes these decisions — but they are her decisions. She takes control of her situation, and owns the moment. But of course, because life is imperfect, it could actually turn out to be the thing that destroys her fledgling career.
I would be remiss if I didn’t thank those who did all the heavy lifting here, as always: Our writers, of course. Tireless, kind, and creative — I’ve loved every moment I’ve gotten to spend in that room with them.
To their fearless leader and showrunner Kevin Falls, the best at what he does, and the best guy you’ll ever meet — an increasingly rare combination.
My talented co-writer, co-creator, and our crew’s play-by-play announcer for every baseball sequence, Rick Singer. For those who don’t know Rick, he’s the kind of guy you’d set up with your sister (mine’s taken, but if yours is avail, please send headshots).
To Paris Barclay, a wildly talented filmmaker and wickedly smart man who impressed me day in and day out with his work ethic, his leadership, and his personal fleet of Teslas.
And of course, the aforementioned Tony Bill and his incredible producing partner in both art and life, Helen Bartlett.
Of course, I also have to thank my buddy Jess, who traveled with me to New York City not too long ago to meet with the commissioner of the MLB and take a long-shot whack at convincing him to say yes to a fictional show set in the MLB. (The Commish is a fantastic guy, btw, surrounded by fantastic people at the MLB — we couldn’t have done this without them).
To our cast: I’m simply blown away. I’m so proud of Kylie, I’m so happy Mark Paul has gotten a chance to show everyone what he can do in this role… and it’s not just them, it’s everyone: it’s Mo and Megan and Ali and Tim and Mark and Dan and Jack and all of our guest stars and players. And the crew… this tireless, wonderful group of people who devoted themselves to making 10 fantastic episodes of a television series which was deceivingly hard to execute.
We are grateful to Dana and Gary and David at Fox, and Jonnie and Howard and everyone at 20th — I believe in my heart we will be back continuing this story next fall. I believe this story is an important one and that it needs to be on network television. I believe that, in the end, cream rises… and I’ve been blessed to work on this one with some of the creamiest people in the business.
Until next season.