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
Back to the present: When the pitcher won’t hit Ginny and she starts jawing about it, the Cardinals’ catcher lifts his mask and snaps at her to get back in the box. Guess who it is? Trevor. We’ve been Fogelmanned yet again!
As the episode winds down, we learn that having a physical fight on national television won’t be the low point for these two lovers today. Trevor has resurfaced with some oh-so-current bad news: His computer was hacked. Including his pictures. Except he says “pictures” with a whispered capital P, and you realize: Clearly, there were some nudie snaps of Gin in there.
This, I call B.S. on. Disclaimer: Anyone anywhere has the right to have pictures of whatever and have those pictures protected. Not trying to slut-shame. But having a bunch of topless shots hanging out willy-nilly in the cloud doesn’t fit with Ginny’s personality. She’s paranoid about slip-ups and impropriety. If we’ve learned anything so far, it’s that Ginny believes she has to be twice as on top of things as anyone else. So I don’t buy this development. It feels like Pitch trying to be like, “2016, amirite?”
“Hey, Eliot shaved!” I found myself thinking enthusiastically upon seeing him soul-patch-less in this episode. And that’s when I realized: Pitch really needs to figure out what to do with the rest of its ensemble.
Lawson is plenty interesting; the dynamic between him and Ginny is shaping up into a nice Liz Lemon/Jack Donaghy relationship. But the most fascinating thing about Amelia so far is… she’s slept with Lawson. (How great was it when she charged up to the dugout to talk to him, like a clueless mom mortifying her kid with an ill-timed Gatorade delivery?) Despite Mark Consuelos’ respectable handsome-guy tears, which made me think an emo fireman calendar would sell like hotcakes, Oscar’s divorce doesn’t feel compelling. Most of Blip’s lines concern his wife’s spending habits. Al has escaped termination, but… what do we do with him now? The answer better not be a romance with Wendie Malick’s owner character — at least not until they do something about that wig they gave her. It looks like it was just dragged off a shipwreck. And Eliot’s facial hair has grown and changed more than he has.
Pitch needs to find a reason to keep getting all these people together (a luxury suite does not constitute a reason). When it comes to character development, it’s time for a call to the bullpen.
Was anyone else rolling their eyes at the naked-pics story line? What do you make of Trevor? And which characters would you jettison to streamline the series?
Episode grade: B