“The Break” wisely focuses its narrative on the sacrifices women make for baseball. Unfortunately, it seems like Pitch decided to stick with its flashbacks. As a plot device, the flashbacks give us insight to Ginny’s internal life, but they also prevent her from sharing those thoughts out loud with someone meaningful, like Mike. It’s a stylistic crutch that’s simply worn out its welcome.
Also, it’s time to see Eliot do more than crack a quick joke and stuff his face. Eliot is always eating! What’s that about?
Moving on. Fans have created a voting campaign to put Ginny in the All-Star Game in San Diego. She gets twice as many votes as Kansas City Royals player Salvador Perez. When Mike pulls out because of his bad back, Ginny gets the call to replace him. Unfortunately, that means Blip won’t get to be an all star. He has plans to take his family to Disney World, but it still stings. During his vacation, Blip gets the news that he’s in after all. He’s excited about the biggest day of his life, but Evelyn can’t match his enthusiasm.
Blip has the nerve to say Evelyn isn’t supportive, but we’ve already seen how far she goes for her husband. She reminds him of all she’s done for him without complaint, so he shouldn’t have a problem with her being disappointed that he’s leaving his family so eagerly. Blip looks appropriately chagrined, but still attends the game. Evelyn and their boys watch the game from the hotel room, cheering for him (and Ginny) as passionately as they would have in the stands. Once again, I’m impressed by Evelyn and how her character has developed in such a short time. She harbors no ill will. When Blip comes back after the game, he tells her that the biggest day of his life was when he met her. Their marriage is #goals, as the kids say, at least until new drama inevitably causes a rift.
Ginny originally had no plans to be in the All-Star Game, so she and her mother were going to spend quality time together. Well, if you can call guilt trips and silence quality time. Based on those intrusive flashbacks, Ginny and her mother Janet (Chastity Dotson) were close before her dad Bill made her choose between being like all the other girls in school and being a ball player. Ginny decides to skip her first dance to practice, but ultimately changes her mind. When she comes home to tell Janet the news, she sees her in the arms of a strange man. It’s a pivotal moment in her life: Ginny loses faith in her mom and clings to baseball even more.
In the present day, Janet resents Ginny for backing out on their plans, so she invites her boyfriend Kevin (Darius McCrary) to spend time with her. Ginny is rude to him. She’s irritated because she didn’t know her mother was seeing anyone, and it turns out Kevin is the man her mother was presumably seeing behind Bill’s back. At dinner with Mike, Amelia, Janet, and Kevin, Ginny refuses to let Kevin mention her dead father and leaves. She is already a bundle of nerves because she feels like a fraud for being in the All-Star Game; family tension is simply too much to handle. Meanwhile, Mike and Amelia try hard to prove they’ve only met once, but in reality, they’re spending more and more time together.
Amelia even acts like Mike’s agent, helping him land a post-game analyst gig with Fox Sports. His back injury drove home the truth that he needs to start thinking about the next phase of his career. He wants to be a Hall of Fame broadcaster, but he relies too heavily on jargon that potentially ostracizes the average viewer. During the All-Star Game, Perez hits a homer off Ginny’s pitch. At first, Mike tries to comment with stats, then decides to speak from his heart. Baseball is a hard, humbling game, he says, but Ginny always gets back up, no matter what’s thrown at her. Mike may be feeling his age in his knees and back, but the wisdom he shares is worth every pain he feels. Mike appears to be humbled by Ginny and how hard she works for the sake of her athletic dreams.
As we quickly learn, everyone has made sacrifices. Evelyn and Janet lost a large part of their marriages to baseball. Evelyn even calculated the amount of time Blip has been on the road. Janet feels like she lost her daughter to the sport, and her husband was gone long before his death. Ginny knows she’s lost a part of herself to baseball. She didn’t get to experience a typical teenage girl’s life. There were no dances or secret love notes tucked in her locker. Even now, she has to be careful about her personal life. After the pilot, I expressed concern about the lack of black women in Ginny’s life, and it looks like Pitch is working to correct that. Evelyn is a fuller character and Janet is more than a worried face in the crowd, which helps flesh Ginny out as well.
Mike may have his eye on future retirement, but he gets competitive after Oscar recruits a hot, young catcher named Livan Duarte (Christian Ochoa). Mike vows Livan won’t take his place; Livan clearly doesn’t want to sit behind Mike. That’ll be a compelling rivalry. The episode ends with Mike calling Ginny to check up on her. He asks about her situation with her mom and she asks how he feels about Livan. Both lie and say, “It’s all good,” before settling in for what looks like a long, comfy chat. Ginny might not have had the teenage experience of talking to a crush late into the night, but she’s making up for it now.
Mike and Amelia may be growing close enough that he takes her professional advice, but he didn’t call her when he needed to decompress. He called Ginny. That’s pretty significant. And the way Mike, uh, goes to bat for Ginny … he may have her poster on his wall soon enough.