Pitch Recap: Inside Baseball


Alfonso Guzman-Chavez
Season 1 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating *****
PITCH: L-R: Kylie Bunbury and Mo McRae in the all-new “Alfonzo Guzman-Chavez” episode of PITCH airing Thursday, Oct. 27 (8:59-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.Cr: Ray Mickshaw / FOX. © 2016 FOX Broadcasting Co.
L-R: Kylie Bunbury and Mo McRae. Photo: Ray Mickshaw/FOX

Let’s get this out of the way: I did not like this episode. The flashbacks are officially distracting now. Oscar isn’t interesting enough for us to spend so much time on. The blatant attempt to pander to the male audience with the trade machinations was ridiculous. The loss of one of the more potentially interesting relationships is frustrating, but not as annoying as the inevitable love triangle building between Ginny, Mike, and Amelia. If that’s what it is. Who knows anymore?! It feels like the show hasn’t worked out what will happen with those three yet.

Everyone on the team is concerned about being traded, except for Mike, who has a no-trade clause. If the Orioles trade Alfonso Guzman-Chavez, it increases the chance that Blip might get traded, too, leaving Ginny without a friend. Ginny tries to throw her weight around, as the Padres’ biggest ticket draw, to pressure Oscar into keeping Blip. Oscar doesn’t like her attempt to flex and talks fast and hard to her. Ginny leaves his office looking worried, which is how she spends much of the episode. Blip is tense and snaps at Ginny for thinking about herself. He has a family he may have to uproot. He can’t prioritize her.

Charlie Graham (Kevin Connolly) is the interim president of operations now that Frank is gone. He puts pressure on Oscar to complete the best trade deals while eliminating $2.5 million from the budget in 48 hours. There’s a huge whiteboard with players’ names on magnet strips that get moved around. Deals are made over speakerphone with tense pauses. White guys in rolled-up sleeves cheer when Oscar makes a good trade. It’s all very Wolf of Wall Street meets West Wing and boring. I know we’re supposed to be learning more about Oscar, his role on the team, and all the sides of baseball, but the introduction of Charlie plus the attention to Oscar’s flunky Ross makes me concerned about the amount of time Ginny gets onscreen.

I hope Fox isn’t about to pull a Sleepy Hollow and make Ginny a Trojan horse so that we end up with yet another show focused on men. Yes, Ginny is in a boys’ club, but there’s so much to explore about a black woman athlete in a traditionally white male sport. No offense to Mark Consuelos, who plays Oscar: He does a great job and is a treat to look at, but I’m not sure why we should care about Oscar or why he needs so much screen time at this point.

The flashbacks are also wasting time. At one point, Ginny isn’t even in them. In this episode, we see younger Ginny become friends with Jordan (Parker Croft), a baseball player who introduces her to In Living Color. Jordan’s dad, Ray, is an alcoholic who never attends his games. Ginny’s father, Bill, shames him into attending one, but he’s too late. Ray stumbles to the car, thinking he can still make the game somehow, and … well, it turns out Ray is the drunk driver who caused the accident that killed Ginny’s dad.

I don’t think we needed to relive the trauma of the accident to see why Ginny is so desperate to keep Blip around as a friend. It doesn’t make sense to connect Jordan to Blip. Losing a friend because his dad killed yours in an accident isn’t the same as losing a friend because his job relocated him. The connection there is a stretch.

After the accident, Jordan moves away, and I guess until she met Blip, maybe she didn’t have any other friends. That part isn’t clear yet, but this is all something Ginny could share in the present while getting to know new friends. Her relationship with Tommy was growing. He went from hating her because he felt threatened by her presence to introducing her to his wife and child. He distracted her from trader rumors by running with her. Their grudging friendship was admirable. Unfortunately, he gets traded and is gone without saying good-bye. The loss of Tommy, especially after he helped defend Ginny, is disappointing. I was looking forward to seeing how that relationship would develop.

Speaking of relationships, Amelia and Mike are sloppy as hell. Someone smashes the sideview mirrors off Amelia’s car and Mike calls it “groupie on groupie” violence. Amelia resents being called a groupie, so she goes out of her way to show Mike she’s a grown-ass woman who doesn’t need to swoon just because a professional athlete smiles her way. She refuses to accept the loaner car he gives her and has Eliot take it back to the dealership. She’s paranoid that Eliot knows she’s sleeping with Mike, so she spills the beans herself. Eliot is great as he stands there silently while Amelia keeps giving him too much information. In the end, she asks that he not tell Ginny.

Mike is hanging out with Blip and ignores a booty call, which activates Blip’s detective skills. He figures out Mike is seeing Amelia and tells Mike he has to tell Ginny before anyone else does. Everyone seems to know Ginny won’t like this news about Mike and Amelia, but no one articulates why. Is Ginny’s crush that obvious to everyone around them?

In the end, Blip remains, and Tommy’s gone to the Cubs. Charlie wants to make a waiver trade for Mike Lawson to make room for new catcher Livan Duarte, so maybe his no-trade clause doesn’t grant him as much immunity as he thought. As their relationship progresses to the night-guard stage, Mike and Amelia agree they need to tell Ginny they’re seeing each other. Amelia tells her in the middle of the hallway at the clubhouse and Ginny acts like she’s cool about it, but she ignores Mike’s phone call.

This episode was frustrating because it neglected potentially interesting relationships, like the one between Ginny and Tommy, to focus on flashbacks and characters like Oscar who don’t need so much attention. If anyone needs more screen time, it’s Eliot. He’s funny and sharp. The trade stuff was mildly interesting, but it felt like pandering, like “this is for the real baseball fans. Pitch isn’t just a show about a girl!” Here’s hoping the show remembers its focus on Ginny and drops the flashbacks soon.

Pitch Recap: Inside Baseball