“We’ll get rained out before I ever leave San Diego,” Lawson vows at the top of “Unstoppable Forces and Immovable Objects.” And just then, lo and behold, the drops begin to fall.
The decision the show has been hinting at all season — will Lawson, suffering from aging knees, stay or get traded away? — is finally broached in this episode, and it’s got everyone seriously grumpy. Lawson growls and scowls under his beard, Oscar is practically jumping out of his perfect skin, and Al seems slightly bewildered by the whole thing. When the rain delay is called, he tells Lawson that Lawson can’t go back in the game when play resumes. “I know what weather like this does to bones like ours,” he says gravely. And we all react just as Lawson does: Wait, ours? It’s a cute device for underscoring Lawson’s aging apprehensions, having Al pretend that he thinks he and Lawson are the same age. But if someone believed that in real life, they’d be evaluated for a possible stroke.
And speaking of overstating things: Everyone in the Padres clubhouse acts like this drizzle is their own personal Hurricane Katrina. Al is worried about bones dissolving, E is harassing the head groundskeeper about getting the team back on the field, and Oscar is, with a straight face, assuring people that hot chocolate and blankets are available. Hey, who knows — maybe this is how people in San Diego act when it rains. In real life, the Padres have only had six rain delays in 11 years at Petco Park. But it seems the Pitch writers couldn’t resist the romanticism of a rain delay episode.
Anyway, Al’s mind is made up: Lawson’s not going back in. Duarte is taking over — cue him and Ginny West–Wing-style walking and talking endlessly, sort of flirting, but, even worse, forming a cozy new pitcher-catcher camaraderie. Furious, Mike hurls a shirt at the wall, which can’t feel satisfying. At least Al doesn’t warn him not to strain his withering muscles by lifting fabric.
The writing is on the wall: The Padres want Lawson gone, and Lawson doesn’t know what he wants — but he’s sure he wants to feel wanted, and he’s not getting that from Oscar. Nor is he going to get it from E, who wants him traded yesterday. But really, how much should we trust this E character? The Pitch writers clearly based him on the worst guy in somebody’s frat. He has a tiny personal water-bottle fridge, he blames Oscar for the weather, and he shows up the groundskeeper by Googling how quickly the Yankees crew can get the tarp off.
Oscar finally calms him down with some sage words in the batting cage — and elicits that he’s from Queens. So yeah, he’s now officially still just E, petite killjoy extraordinaire. (Sidenote: Mark Consuelos doesn’t have the worst swing. Keeps his head in nicely.)
NEXT: Big bro brings big trouble
But there’s another contender for worst guy in this episode: Will, Ginny’s brother. He’s back in the mix and seems to be dragging plenty of baggage behind him — he’s that guy who’s always got a new investment to pitch. This time it’s a chain of bars called, inexplicably, Scroogy’s. Will brags about the concept and Ginny’s supposed partnership in the family lounge during the delay. Amelia is totally onto him. Evelyn is totally not, probably because she’s onto her third martini. Amelia is clear and persistent as a pit bull: She keeps telling Will to leave Ginny out of his schemes.
On the love front: Oscar keeps canoodling with a pretty woman who, based on the clandestine nature of their meetups, seems to be somebody’s ex or current wife. She likes the sneaking around, she purrs, but man, does that sentiment seem weird once we find out who she actually is: Al’s daughter.
Meanwhile, Omar (I know, I’m acting like he’s someone we’ve been talking about all along, because the show did the same thing) suddenly pipes up that he’s got feelings for Ginny. “It’s like we’re playing with a supermodel, guys,” he says, his voice shot through with adolescent fear. Which is the perfect emotional setting for what happens next: Lawson and Blip take him into a room and shout at him bizarrely, trying to convince him, I guess, that Kylie Bunbury doesn’t have a scientifically perfect face.
The episode wraps on a highly melancholy Lawson confronting reality: If he wants a ring before his knees blow altogether, it’s time to move on. The man’s got good instincts — he tells Oscar he wants to go to Chicago. But can a World Series title compete with listening to Ginny hum Katy Perry in the gym? Um, yes, of course it can, a World Series title is a thousand times better, and any sane person should realize that. So why does Lawson look so sad watching her stretch from the doorway?
Something tells me the rest of the season will ramp sharply toward resolving the Baker-Lawson conundrum. All of a sudden, it’s raining vibes.
Episode grade: B+