It’s not often a scripted show gets a real-life villain. But in Pitch’s second outing, Garbage Time’s Katie Nolan cannot stop making it weird for Ginny and the Padres.
A few days after Ginny’s historic first win, “Ginsanity” is in full swing and Nolan is the voice of it. No matter where they go, the team can’t escape TVs, and Nolan is seemingly always delivering a Ginny-related zinger: “Guess some of those big strong men don’t like a pretty little girl getting more attention, huh?” she says, vamping on a clubhouse screen. “Aww, are the big boys on the Padres crying?” she taunts from a TV over the teammates’ heads at a bar. When Ginny asks the bartender to change the channel, a sports-news anchor played by JoAnna Garcia Swisher demands that as the ranking “It Girl” athlete, Ginny should weigh in on a sexual-assault scandal. And Jimmy Kimmel called: He wants Ginny on during the Padres’ series in LA.
Nobody hates the hype more than the woman at the center of it. Roughly half of Kylie Bunbury’s lines in this episode involve her insisting “she’s a ballplayer” and that she “just wants to be one of the guys.” Thanks to Ginsanity, it isn’t working out well. Ginny’s search for a seat on the team bus makes Forrest Gump’s trip to school look warm and welcoming. Most of her teammates are acting like overcaffeinated cats in a box — jittery, constantly bumping up against each other, and ready to claw at the slightest provocation. (You have to wonder if guys would really take having a girl on their team this hard.)
Then comes the tipping point: Somebody digs up a two-year-old clip of manager Al calling Ginny, then a minor-league sensation, “easy on the eyes.” It instantly goes viral and Al, for his part, can’t figure out exactly what he did wrong. “The world kinda passed me by when they made the Internet,” he tells Ginny by way of an awkward apology. And I catch myself thinking, Aww, poor Al. Did you see him and the pitching coach playing cards on the bus when everybody else was on their smartphones? Give that cuddly old-timer a break on the sexism stuff! Then I remember it doesn’t matter how much I loved The Wonder Years — I must admit that not knowing how to get on the Wi-Fi doesn’t really justify rating the looks of a 21-year-old.
To make matters worse: After issuing his statement of regret to the press and taking a few questions from reporters, Al inexplicably backtracks and jokes “Can we just go back to talking about how pretty the girl is?” Don’t blame him! The world is full of confusing things like Twitter and Bumble and Microsoft Word 2016. How’s he supposed to remember to treat a woman with equal respect?
Al’s bout of bad PR spins emotional reactions out of every character. Ginny immediately says…wait for it…that she just wants to be one of the guys, and asks Amelia to release a statement pledging her loyalty to Al. But Amelia demands — in the name of Ginny’s position as a feminist icon — that she not support her skipper too publicly. Meanwhile, Oscar has to gear up to fire Al and throughout the episode looks like he’s about to vomit sushi, Tums, and Pellegrino everywhere.
The only one seemingly undaunted by Ginsanity? Lawson. The publicity gush gets him disgusted with his teammates — Ginsanity “sucks, because we’re losing in front of sold-out crowds!” he snaps — but brings him closer to Ginny. When they both show up to work out early, we get to watch a good old alpha-dog gym-off: The pitcher and her catcher try to outspeed each other on the treadmills and lash the battle ropes around like maniacs. We learn two things: 1) Ginny and Lawson are more alike than they suspected, and 2) Neither has seen that Eastbound and Down episode where Kenny Powers snorts, “I play real sports. Not trying to be the best at exercising.” But maybe the real reason Lawson isn’t getting worked up about Ginsanity is that he’s distracted. While in LA, he tells Ginny, he has to swing by his ex-wife’s house to pick up his things.
NEXT: Feelings alert!