Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Pitch - Episode 1 Recap

So...who wants to talk about last night's presidential debate? Yeah, me neither. There was nothing else on TV and so I decided to re-watch one of my favorite new shows, Pitch.


Pitch is the story of Ginny Baker, the first female to compete in any of the four major North American pro sports leagues.*

Ginny is played by Kylie Bunbury, who also starred in another one of my favorite shows, Under The Dome. This show is of particular interest to me, not just because I like baseball and not just because Kylie is gorgeous. About 18 years ago I wrote a story about a girl who becomes the first female major league baseball player. It was much too long and terrible, but one professional critique called it "a story whose time has arguably come" or something. And that time is here.
Let's see what the pros can do with "my" idea...


*Manon Rheaume played goal in two pre-season games for the NHL's Tampa Bay Lightning



If you're interested in the show and you're DVR'ing or planning to bingewatch at a later date I feel obligated to shout SPOILER ALERT at this time. Otherwise, read on...


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When we first meet our heroine she's waking up in a hotel room full of fruit baskets. So many fruit baskets. One of them is from Ellen DeGeneres, another is from Hillary Clinton. Nothing from Oprah though. Hmm...

Flanked by security (and her agent) Ginny makes her way from the hotel room down through the bowels of the stadium while clips of Fox Sports commentators set the stage for her major league debut. Ginny blocks out the noise with headphones, reminiscent of a Beats By Dre commercial.



We learn through such commentary (by MLB network) that Ginny has been pitching in the San Diego Padres minor league system for the past five years and has been called up to start today's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Also, her agent's assistant thinks she's 'like Elvis'.

Ali Later plays Ginny's agent Amelia Slater. Very bossy, kinda of a snot. I will not like her.

Ken Rosenthal, Mr. Bowtie himself, says that Ginny's fastball tops out in the "high 80's" which is about the minimum acceptable speed for a major leaguer. Unless you've got good breaking stuff...

Ginny and her handlers arrive at the players' entrance, and a huge crowd of adoring fans are waving and cheering. This...is a big deal. Ginny starts to look overwhelmed, until she spots an adorable little girl holding a sign that reads: "I'm Next"

You ready, G?




Flashback. Overbearing dad trying to teach his boy how to play ball. He's scared off and runs inside the house. Meanwhile, the man's daughter (who can't be more than three years old) picks up a ball...and throws it waaaay over the fence. This man has himself a ballplayer.

Back in the present, Ginny meets the Padres general manager and team owner, and passes through more adoring fans. Her debut is the hottest ticket in town. The owner (who looks like one of the attorneys I work for) tells Ginny the team is excited to meet her. "No they're not." she quips. "Seventy five percent of them think I'm the next San Diego Chicken. The other twenty five just want to see me shower." Um, selling yourself short there, miss.

Padres manager Al Luongo (played by Dan Lauria) addresses his men. Gives them the old "It's 2016, be professional, treat her like a professional" speech. But one quick look around and you can tell this is an old-school group. Not exactly friendly confines.

Except...she does have one ally in the room - an old minor league teammate named Blip Sanders (played by Mo McRae). Where did the writers came up with a name like "Blip", you ask? My guess is, it's a nod to former Padres fan favorite Leon "Bip" Roberts.

Ever wonder where a woman would dress in a locker room clubhouse designed for men? Yup...they put Ginny in the supply closet. Oh sorry, the "clubhouse attendant's room." As her agent gripes to management about the substandard quarters, the owner indicates Ginny's jersey:





Amelia is annoyed that the Padres brass has subjected her to a pre-game press conference (highly unusual for a starting pitcher, though the show doesn't mention that.) Oscar Aguella, the Padres GM (played by Mark Consuelos) thinks it's no big deal - but that only earns him further lecturing from Amelia. While she describes Ginny as "Hillary Clinton with sex appeal" (ooh, tough visual) and "a Kardashian with a skill set." Oscar just smiles and pictures her naked. Amelia I mean.

Also, her assistant Elliot advises Oscar that he has "no chance". Something tells me that's not going to stop him.




Ginny takes the field at Petco Park and meets the Padres' veteran catcher Mike Lawson (played by Mark-Paul Gosselar.) She tells him that he's her favorite player- "I have your rookie card" -but he cuts her off for making him feel old. How's this for old: Saved By the Bell ended in 1992, which is a year before our 23 year-old heroine would have been born.



Lawson informs Ginny that she's the second prettiest teammate he's ever had. Who's number one? Leonardo DiCaprio.

Oh hell no, don't be slappin dat ass. Ginny gets tough with her hero about the old baseball tradition of ass-slapping--she's not having it.



Lawson gives an equally convincing rebuttal - and he's the captain. No special treatment, right? I could see how feminists might hate this exchange but I loved it - Mike lets her know she's one of the guys without giving an inch. Ginny gets it, lightens the mood with a Leo question, and slaps his ass right back.



After pre-game warmup, Ginny overhears the guys' locker room talk and recognizes Lawson's voice. He initially defends Ginny's place on the team...but only to needle the injured pitcher she's replacing. "She's a gimmick." Mike tells his teammates. But is he being loyal - or being candid? Ginny assumes it's the latter.



The big moment is nigh. First pitch is moments away, and television announcers Joe Buck and John Smoltz give us authentic (if a little sarcastic) play-by-play. Mike enters the bullpen to catch Ginny's warmup pitches. She puts a little extra oomph on her last one, just to let him know what's up.

When she takes the field in front of 43,000 fans the gravity of the moment hits her. She looks out into the crowd and sees her father - which ignites another flashback. This is where he teaches his young girl the screwball, her ticket to the majors.

Now she's here, on a major league mound, ready to make history. Will she rise to the occasion, or succumb to the incredible pressure of being the first female major leaguer?




Guess you'll have to tune in and find out...or wait till next week's recap. I'm running out of room here. if you liked this post and you want me to continue with these episode recaps, let me know in comments!









~






7 comments:

  1. Wsorry but it has to be said mr lawson looks mighty fine

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  2. Haven't seen this, but you make it sound compelling.

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  3. I hadn't decided if I was going to watch this or not. It sounds good but I just don't think it will last on the networks.

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  4. Ye missed Donald Snuffatrumpagus. AARR!

    Love,
    Janie

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  5. I'm not a sports fan so I don't think this would hold me long. Rarely do I get caught up in television series and if I do I often don't follow them to the end.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  6. Howdy, CHRIS ~

    Naturally, I can't help wondering if you've decided to discontinue your involvement in 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS'. Apparently you've had a pretty full plate lately and when that happens, something has to give. Unfortunately though, by keeping a link to your blog active on my blog, I've been sending BOTBers to your site when there's nothing there to vote on.

    Currently there are, I believe, 5 links on my page to blogs that seem to be no longer participating in BOTB and I don't want to continue wasting people's time, sending them to places where no Battles exist. So, I'd appreciate it if you'd please get back to me and inform me whether or not you intend to continue with this blogfest.

    In fact, beginning with the October 15th round of Battles I am planning to adopt the same policy that Alex Cavanaugh employs for his blogfest 'Insecure Writer's Support Group'. And that is that in the future, whenever a blog fails to provide a 'Battle Of The Bands' contest for two consecutive rounds (the 1st & 15th, or the 15th & the 1st), the links to that blog will be removed from my site, assuming that the blogger has decided to drop out of the blogfest. However, of course, if that blogger later decides to rejoin, all they need to do is inform me and I will immediately replace the link to their site in my sidebar and on my individual BOTB page for the next round of Battles.

    I hope things are going well for you. And please let me know if you don't want the link to your blog removed from my next BOTB installment on October 15th.

    Bless And Be Blessed.

    ~ Stephen
    (D-FensDogG of the 'Loyal American Underground')

    ReplyDelete