One reason I enjoy baseball is I’ve long harbored this belief/wish/hope that it would be the first major sport to integrate women into the game. It’s finally happened, a little bit. Pitch, the new drama that debuted last week, is about the first woman to play in the major leagues and was made in cooperation with Major League Baseball. It’s fictional, but I’ll take what I can get.
Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) is called up to be the fifth starter for the San Diego Padres. Her talent is her screwball pitch, which she perfected over years of training with her father because, as he tells her, “biology” prevents her from competing with the guys and she needs a “secret weapon.” (The biology argument is a little baffling as it seems to assume every man is built exactly the same way and that each doesn’t have his own sets of strengths and weaknesses, physical and otherwise, just as a woman has. The New York Times notes that science is on the side of women players.)
The pilot is pretty much what you would expect from an underdog sports drama – and yet I adored it. It might have been the nearly entire bottle of wine I was drinking, but I teared up at several moments, one in particular when Ginny sees a young girl outside the stadium with a sign that reads, “I’m next.” Also, Ginny gets jersey number 43 because she’s a barrier-breaker after Jackie Robinson, who wore 42. Mixed in with these moving moments are a disastrous first start, allies and enemies, some tough decisions, and depictions of the misogyny Ginny’s new job stirs up. There are jokes, schmaltz, bravado, gravitas, etc. Does it earn its use of all these formulas and cliches? Well … I don’t know where the series will go from here, but I felt great after watching (the wine might have helped) and can’t wait for the next episode. #GirlPower