“Pitch” Episode 2: Ginnsanity

Earlier recaps: Episode 1.

Welcome to our recap of the second episode of “Pitch”, entitled “The Interim”. As always, there are spoilers, so read at your own risk.

We join Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) in the aftermath of her first major-league victory (which is, of course, the first ever major-league victory by a woman). After the locker-room blowup we saw last week, Ginny’s determined to not cause any more of a fuss, despite the outside pandemonium that sports pundits have dubbed “Ginnsanity.” She wants to be “just one of the guys.”

The best way to do this is by going out for drinks with some of her Padres teammates. Almost immediately, they address the issue of Ginny’s sexuality — something that, ideally, wouldn’t be relevant, but, in reality, most definitely is. Ginny’s not a “nun,” nor is she a lesbian, but she doesn’t hook up with teammates, either. Now they know.

The good times with her teammates don’t last long. Their buzz is killed by the bar TVs showing sports talking heads (Katie Nolan, Colin Cowherd, Kristine Leahy) discussing the clubhouse fracas. Ginny tips the bartender to change the channel, who flips to something called “On Point with Rachel Patrick” (a fictional program).

Rachel (played by actress JoAnna García Swisher, known for “Reba” and as the real-life wife of Nick Swisher) is talking about something she refers to as the “Florida case,” a locker-room sexual assault by a male track-and-field star on a female track athlete. “Hey, I wonder what Ginny Baker would have to say about this?” Rachel ponders. “She’s in a locker room with men.” Mike (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) finally turns the TV off — but surely we have not heard the last of this.

The next day, Ginny embarks on her first road trip with the Padres. She’s taking the team bus to Los Angeles, despite her agent Amelia’s (Ali Larter) insistence that they drive up separately. Ginny grabs a seat next to Mike, who proceeds to berate her about waving off too many of his calls the night before. He gives her advice (“You need to trust your changeup more”), and they go over video.

The Padres’ GM, Oscar (Mark Consuelos), has brought the team owner, Frank (Bob Balaban), a shortlist of managerial candidates to replace Al Luongo (Dan Lauria). Frank has given Al “the season” to get it together.

Al’s seeming inability to control the clubhouse was a big enough issue, but he gets into even hotter water when a two-year-old clip of him describing Ginny as “easy on the eyes” resurfaces. This seems like the sort of thing that would have gotten a lot more attention when it originally happened, and would have required an apology at the time, rather than something that would only come up again two weeks into Ginny’s major-league tenure.

Still, in the “Pitch” universe, this is a new thing with which Ginny and the Padres have to deal. Ginny is willing to issue a statement in support of Al, but Amelia is vehemently opposed to the idea.

On the day of the first game in the Padres-Dodgers series, Ginny is stopped by Rachel on her way to the clubhouse. Rachel wants Ginny to come on her show to comment on the Florida rape case. Ginny, still set on not causing a stir, is incensed, insisting that it’s not her responsibility to speak about a situation that has nothing to do with her.

As much as Ginny wants things to remain calm, there’s still the matter of Al’s comments. Before speaking formally to the press, Al visits Ginny to personally apologize. He then gives a fairly convincing statement to the media, but things go awry when reporters start pressuring him about the state of the team and whether or not Ginny is a “distraction.” “Geez, guys, can we just go back to talking about how pretty the girl is?” Al asks in a poor attempt at humor.

That day’s game goes badly for the Padres, who blow a one-run lead in the eighth inning on a series of errors. Ginny demands that Amelia release a statement supporting Al, believing it’s the best way to help restore a sense of normalcy for the team. But it may be too late, as Frank has lost all patience with his manager, and now wants Oscar to select an interim manager by the week’s end.

It seems like the hook for Al is overly quick, although Frank has apparently been discontent with him for some time. That said, it also seems that the last thing a team in the midst of a transitional period needs is another major shakeup. While in-season managerial changes are hardly unheard of, I’m not sure I buy it happening under these circumstances. Readers, feel free to weigh in on this below.

This week, we start to learn a bit more about the personal lives of Ginny’s teammates — particularly, Blip (Mo McRae) and Mike. Blip and Mike are dichotomous when it comes to their relationships with women. Blip is happily married to a very supportive woman named Evelyn (Meagan Holder), who knows just how to deal with Blip’s idiosyncrasies (like his belief that he needs his lucky Grandmaster Flash T-shirt to break out of a mini-slump).

Mike is divorced, and while he lives like a playboy, it turns out that he’s still in love with his ex-wife. That ex just so happens to be Rachel. Mike makes an attempt to win her back, but she’s already engaged to someone else, much to Mike’s devastation.

Ginny goes on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, with the plan being for her to do a lighthearted bit about clubhouse decorating tips. I don’t think anyone’s especially broken up about missing out on that when Ginny decides to go off script. “It seems like I’m sort of making a statement just by existing lately,” Ginny explains, “so what the hell. Why not make a few more?”

Ginny criticizes Al’s comments, but defends him as a manager and as a person. She also weighs in on the Florida rape case: “We don’t need to make sure that every girl goes in the right room. We need to make sure every boy knows it’s wrong to rape.” It’s tangential, but it’s Ginny using her proverbial megaphone for good, as both Rachel and Mike encouraged her to.

While Ginny’s away, there’s another rumble in the Padres clubhouse. A worn-out Mike has had about enough of his teammate’s juvenile behavior. He calls them out for how poorly they’ve adjusted to the attention they’ve gotten since Ginny joined the team. “I’ve got a radical idea,” Mike declares. “How about we start winning in front of sold-out crowds?”

It’s yet another effective pep talk — Mike seems to be good at those — and it’s apparently just what the Padres needed to hear before their game that night. Blip breaks out of his slump with a three-run home run, en route to a Padres rout of the Dodgers, 9-1.

The win doesn’t appear to be enough to save Al’s job, though, as bench coach Buck Garland has to break the tough news to his manager that he’s on the verge of being fired.

There are more flashbacks in this week’s episode, this time focusing on how Ginny first paired up with Amelia. In 2014, Ginny was pitching for Double-A San Antonio. San Antonio has been the Padres’ Double-A affiliate since 2007, and the public address announcer welcomes fans to “Wolff Stadium” (where the San Antonio Missions play), though the ballpark “Pitch” uses is clearly not a Double-A stadium. On the day Ginny and Amelia first meet, the Missions are playing the Midland RockHounds, the Double-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics.

At the time, Ginny’s older brother, Will (B.J. Britt), was serving as her agent. Amelia (who, to that point, had only represented movie stars) pursued Ginny hard, eventually winning her as a client.

We learn a bit more about Ginny’s pitch arsenal this episode. Her fastball “tops out at 87,” which she describes as “the slowest fastball in the league.” (Apparently, Jered Weaver doesn’t exist in the “Pitch” universe.) We also learn that, in addition to that and her screwball, Ginny throws a slider and a changeup.

“Pitch” continues to make ample use of FOX’s sports programming. Besides the aforementioned sports personalities, we see a bit of FS1’s MLB Whip Around, featuring Kevin Burkhardt and C.J. Nitkowski. Matt Vasgersian also makes another appearance.

The first Padres-Dodgers game is broadcast on FS1. The second game’s broadcast information isn’t specified, though it’s definitely a Fox Sports broadcast of some kind. It seems like it should be easy enough for “Pitch” to use the branding for the Padres’ actual regional network, Fox Sports San Diego, but the show hasn’t done that yet.

Overall, it’s another strong episode for “Pitch” and a good follow-up to the pilot. We get to see Ginny handle some more tough issues, and we begin to see the supporting cast fleshed out a bit. There’s a good balance of on-field action, clubhouse milieu, front-office dealings, and the lives of characters outside the ballpark. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as the show’s premiere, but next week’s episode is titled “Beanball”, which sounds fairly promising in terms of drama.





Sarah Wexler is a contributor to Dodgers Digest. She recently earned her master's degree in Sports Management from Cal State Long Beach. She graduated from New York University in 2014 with a bachelor's in History and a minor in American Studies. Follow her on Twitter @SarahWexler32.

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DeanAnna
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DeanAnna

Joey Votto is very easy on the eyes, would his manager need to apologize if he said so?

v2micca
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Member
v2micca

Forget Votto, Kris Bryant is the dreamy-eyed star of your fantasies.

HarryLives
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HarryLives

You could get lost for days in Kevin Kiermaier’s eyes.

ChippersJonesing
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ChippersJonesing

Brian McCann… Seems like he’s got a good personality.

JediHoyer
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JediHoyer

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MxsiZjHO7SA

Gus triandos, out of sympathy for catching hoyt Wilhelm lol.

SamF
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SamF

You’d think someone who reads fangraphs would understand a false equivalency when they see one, and yet…

DeanAnna
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DeanAnna

The only false equivalency is that Votto is way cuter than Ginny, and hotter too with those thight pants.

Thr33Rings
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Thr33Rings

Okay I’ll bite… I would totes make sex with Nolan Arenado.