Before the events of the past few years, I never would have thought people weren’t watching a show like Fox’s Pitch because the lead is played by a woman of color. But as a non-POC, I have that privilege. For me, it can be about so many other things. Maybe they’re not interested in sports (this excuse was used often in association with NBC’s Friday Night Lights). Or maybe they think it’s a poorly scripted melodrama (it’s not). Or maybe it’s just not for them. I have no doubt that for some white members of the viewing audience Pitch simply isn’t for them and they have no better reason than that.
And if this were ABC’s Last Man Standing I’d be perfectly willing to accept any of the reasons mentioned above whether I agreed with them or not. Except Pitch is not just another of the hundreds of shows about a white suburban male living with his white suburban family in a white suburban neighbourhood.
No offense intended to the cast and crew of LMS, I’ve seen a few episodes and if it hadn’t given me the distinct impression of being a tweaked version of Tim Allen’s hit comedy Home Improvement I may have loved it, but as it was, I didn’t. Last Man Standing just isn’t for me.
The thing is, Pitch isn’t Last Man Standing and we can’t ignore the possible racist or misogynist implications behind someone’s decision to not give it at least a chance before dismissing it entirely. For a show centered around a young black woman who is a baseball pitcher, there’s a little something for everyone. Not that a show being centered around a young black woman who is also a professional baseball player isn’t enough of a reason because it is, more than enough. But for those of you who are skeptical let’s take a quick look at the drama created by Dan Fogelman (This Is Us) starring Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Mike Lawson.
For starters, we have the two stars of the show Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Mike Lawson. Whether Ginny and Mike remain friends and teammates or if they make the leap to being more than friends, the chemistry between Bunbury and Gosselaar leaps off the screen and it has from the first moment they shared a scene. The relationship between Ginny & Mike has evolved so naturally over the past eight episodes that them ending up together is almost beside the point. Ginny & Mike are first and foremost teammates, but more importantly, they’re friends who need each other.
Speaking of friends, Ginny isn’t alone on her journey as American Baseball’s first woman player, she has her agent Amelia slater (Ali Larter) and her best friend/teammate Blip Sanders (Mo McRae) by her side as well. Ginny also has her fellow Padres who are discovering having a woman on the team isn’t the end of the world they feared it would be.
At its heart, Pitch is a show about family, the family we’re born into and the family we make for ourselves. And like any other family, this one comes with heartfelt moments, raised voices, misunderstandings, heartbreak, and love. For Ginny, reconciling who she is, was, and wants to be has been a struggle, one made both easier and harder by the fact that the one person who stood by her the longest and pushed her the hardest wasn’t there to see take the mound in her first professional game. When Bill Baker (Michael Beach) died in the pilot it came as little surprise to the audience and that’s because everything he helped to instill in Ginny is there for all to see. His presence lives on in every scene, every word spoken, every emotion felt.
With only two episodes remaining in season one and no official word that Pitch will see a second season there’s no time like the present to discover this gem of a show. Watch it with your daughters, with your sons, just watch it, you won’t regret it.
Pitch airs Thursdays on Fox