Fox's latest series Pitch premiered recently and like most sports-centric shows, this one too follows a time-tested format —rookie overcomes adversities to get to the big leagues but is forced to face even more challenges along the way. The format has, however, been successful for most other sports-related shows and maybe the writers wanted to start off on a familiar footing.
In the premiere episode, Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) wakes up to her first day as a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres — a big deal considering she is the first female player to make it to Major League Baseball. Her agent Amelia Slater (Ali Larter) helps her manoeuvre through the large expectant crowds and press to get ready for her first day on the big boys' playing field.
While trying to put on a fearless face for those around, it is obvious that all the attention is getting to Ginny. In the locker room the tension is tangible. No one wants the girl on the team, and are seeing this as a publicity gimmick they hope will end soon.
Blip Sanders (Mo McRae), an old friend from the minor leagues and his wife Evelyn (Meagan Holder), however, are there to watch her back. Mike Lawson (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), the team's captain promises to play a big role as the story moves along and in episode 1 itself we see him take charge.
However, when it's time for Ginny to take the field and show the world why she is worth the selection, she fails miserably. Unable to pitch a single decent ball, she asks manager Al Luongo (Dan Lauria) to take her out of the game.
At this point everybody considers it the end of her short-lived career in the big league, but her childhood coach and father Bill Baker (Michael Beach) visits her and makes her practice through the night.
The episode is filled with flashbacks to when the pitcher was younger, from the point her father realised she had potential right up to when a scout for the Padres offers her the chance to play for them.
Back to the present, Ginny is on the field ready to try pitching in a game again but the spectators and commentators are sceptical of her skill after the previous embarrassment. She fails with the first two balls but after some words of encouragement from Lawson the star catcher, she plays a good game, showing off her signature screwball.
If you watched the trailer for the show, a major portion of the premiere episode does not have much more to tell. It is only towards the last few minutes that the showrunners throw in a twist to spice things up. But with such an obvious start, there is hope that the follow-up will progress in a more interesting manner and hopefully with more drama to earn a home run. For now, it's strike one for Pitch.
Missed episode 1 of Pitch? Watch it on FoxNow and catch the next episode on Fox on Thursday, 29 September.