Show of hands: How many people out there aren’t really baseball fans but are watching Pitch? There can’t be more than four or five of you, right? Still, we should pause to acknowledge that, to anyone who didn’t grow up steeped in America’s game, the logic behind “Beanball” must have seemed nuttier than Trump live-tweeting a midnight infomercial. The Padres spend most of episode 3 discussing when and how to hit someone with a baseball — casually discussing it, like they’re working out the logistics of a carnival dunk tank, rather than basically putting a hit on somebody.
For Ginny, this is where the hype and theorizing end and the business of how to incorporate a girl into a male sport on a day to day basis begins. The Padres are facing the Cardinals, who broke Tommy’s hand with an errant pitch in their last matchup. You remember Tommy: He’s the one who was born with a perma-sneer, who thinks he’s part of the Mets pitchers’ hairclub. To avenge this, the Padres want to throw at a Cards’ batter. But it’s Ginny’s day to pitch, which presents two problems: 1) As Lawson puts it, “A wiffleball would hurt more than any pitch you throw” and 2) Nobody wants to see the girl get hurt if the Cardinals retaliate when Ginny comes up to bat.
Ginny isn’t having any of it. We already know her first two catchphrase-commandments: I Just Wanna Be One Of The Guys and I’m A Ballplayer. Now we’re learning the third one: No Special Treatment. So Ginny goes out and throws at a Cardinal batter. Does the pitch come in at the pace of a Mama Rowengartner floater from Rookie of the Year? Yeah, pretty much. Does it earn Tommy’s respect? Definitely. So that’s good.
But just when Ginny thinks she’s earned a solid One of the Guys chip, she comes up to bat next inning, ready to take her return fire like a big girl — and the Cardinals pitcher throws around her, walking her. “Is he afraid to hurt me?” she says, aghast. “What’s a girl gotta do to get beaned?” She shoves the catcher, and a benches-clearing brawl ensues. (Sidenote: Three episodes in, the physical fighting is already getting old. If this was real life, half the league would be suspended right now.) The coaches get it; in maybe the funniest moment Pitch has staged yet, the Padres and Cardinals skippers grip each other’s forearms and sway in half-hearted combat. One of them mutters, “I’m too old for this crap.”
When the dust settles, Ginny and Tommy get tossed. They take a long walk of solidarity back to the clubhouse, respective curls silhouetted against center field. They’re friends now. She’s the Syndergaard to his DeGrom!
That settles Ginny’s quest to fit in for the moment. But the headline of this episode isn’t her guy trouble — it’s her boy trouble. In flashback, we encounter her ex: Trevor, an earnest catcher whom Ginny dated when they were both in the minors. I know what you’re thinking: Ginny Doesn’t Date Ballplayers. That’s catchphrase commandment number four! But back in the day, Trevor charmed her by doodling on her rosin bag and, more importantly, promising that he was quitting the game any minute. Next thing you know, they’re in love, and in a nice bit of gender-bending imagery, Ginny comes up behind Trevor at the driving range. She adjusts his swing. That’s right: Trevor is the Rene Russo in this relationship.
NEXT: Wind-up twist