I don’t believe I’ve ever written a post before that didn’t have something to do with spiritual matters so this will be the first.
Has anyone watched any television lately? Despite the growing number of cable channels, there’s really not a lot of worthwhile shows. Most of the offerings, especially the so-called “reality” shows, are downright garbage. The last television series that I scheduled my time around previous to this season was “The King of Queens” featuring Kevin James, which ended in 2007. But last month I started watching James’ new show, “Kevin Can Wait” (CBS, Monday nights), which employs the exact same schtick as K of Q but without the excellent supporting ensemble of the former.
Am I following any other TV shows? Glad you asked. I’m actually watching another series called “Pitch” on Thursday nights on Fox. The plot revolves around a young woman, Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), who began pitching in boys’ Little League baseball under the tutelage of her Svengali father and worked her way up through baseball’s minor leagues to be the first woman to play in Major League Baseball. So is there any special reason why I was motivated to watch “Pitch” beginning with the very first episode? Yup. Ginny happens to play for my favorite team, the San Diego Padres. The San Diego who? Right. The Padres keep a pretty low profile for a major league team. In another post I’ll share how a guy with a blog named “excatholic4christ” came to be a fan forty-six long years ago of a team with a “Swinging Friar” mascot.
Anyway, back to the series. I’m actually enjoying “Pitch.” Having a woman on the team and in the locker room presents some interesting problems for the ball club. There’s all the attention from the media aimed toward the first female player. The team’s manager (Wonder Years’ Dan Lauria) and players stumble through how they should interact with a woman in a formerly all-male enclave. The team’s captain, all-star catcher, Mike Lawson (Saved by the Bell’s Mark-Paul Gosselaar), initially resents the rookie celebrity but a friendship soon develops. Ginny’s ambitious agent, Amelia Slater (Ali Larter), and the team’s general manager, Oscar Arguella (Mark Consuelos), remind us that professional sports are all about the ca$h.
Trivia question: Has a woman ever played for a professional men’s baseball team? See the answer below.
But despite her sudden fame and fat MLB contract Ginny is not a happy person. There’s an emptiness in her life. Same thing with Mike. He’s a perennial all-star probably headed to Cooperstown and with all the perks of a multi-millionaire but he can’t find fulfillment in baseball or in his brief fling with Ginny’s agent. These two need Jesus Christ. Whoops! Did I say this was not going to be about spiritual issues?
It’s not exactly Paddy Chayefsky but after watching seven episodes of “Pitch” I can say the stories are pretty good and so is the cast. Bunbury is doing a believable job as the (initially overwhelmed) rookie female pitcher. Gosselaar is surprisingly excellent as the aging all-star on the downside of his career. It’s great to see Lauria again. I was a big fan of The Wonder Years. Larter, Consuelos, and Meagan Holder as a player’s wife and Ginny’s friend, are very good. Much of the filming is done at Petco Park in San Diego with many scenes staged in the Padres’ actual locker room, front offices, and playing field. For long-suffering Padres fans, “Pitch” may be their only opportunity for many years to come to see Petco in prime time on national television in the Fall.
Trivia answer: Actually a few women have played on minor league teams but no one has made it to the majors to date.