by Stella Billek
Let’s get one thing straight: You don’t have to be a baseball fanatic to watch Pitch. Because despite its name, or the fact that its fictional protagonist is the first female ballplayer in Major League Baseball, Pitch is about so much more than America’s Pastime.
The new Fox series that premiered on Sept. 22 brings us through the life and struggles of 23-year-old baseball player Ginny Baker, who after years of dedication, intense training and fighting to be recognized for her talent has finally found herself drafted by the San Diego Padres. To any other player called up from the minor leagues, this would just be a major step on the path to becoming a professional. For Baker, it means becoming the central figure in a movement bigger than herself.
Don’t let what should be a blunt and obvious message of feminism fool you. This isn’t a show about a feminist movement in baseball. Baker doesn’t want that. She doesn’t want to be the Gloria Steinem of baseball. Rather, she wants to live up to the rigor and intensity that a lifetime of training has embedded in her.
Can you make this a show about feminism and strong, empowering women? Sure, I guess if you really want to. But maybe it’d be wiser to be inspired by the dedication and devotion shown by Baker to achieve what she has, gender aside. That’s what makes the show so special — it tells you upfront that gender doesn’t matter, and we should look at what a person is able to do with her life and what we can learn from that.
Of course, gender is certainly up for grabs with this show, as evidenced by the real San Diego Padres holding a “Take Your Daughter to the Game Day.” Don't think I'm not a fan of that message. As someone who said she was going to be the first female baseball player at age 7, I'm definitely all for it. I just think the powerful message of hard work and dedication makes the show more special and genuine.
Yet I'll admit, for what Pitch presents formidably in its message, it lacks in its depth and complexity of characters. Baker’s dialogue often registers as vain and offended while her teammates either play the role of the stereotypical locker room bully or the wise-cracking veteran captain.
Sometimes it's repetitive (Baker’s offended by something again, shocking!), and it's main themes and messages can get a little worn out. But just like the main character, this show is filled with heart and inspiration. Baseball fans can appreciate its close attention to the technicalities of the sport while it provides a message for those who are maybe a little less interested in America's Pastime.
Make sure to catch this Pitch on Thursdays at nine on Fox.
photo courtesy of Fox