Rowley: RIP PITCHf/ox

From SABR member Meg Rowley at Baseball Prospectus on May 2, 2017:

On Pitch, after Ginny Baker’s first successful start for the Padres, Joe Buck, moonlighting in the world of fiction, says, “Welcome to the big leagues, Ginny. We’ve been waiting for you.” And we have been. Only, we’ll have to wait a little longer for more. Fox has cancelled Pitch after one season. I will miss it dearly. Not just because it was a show that dramatized a world that I find to be a rich text, but because it took that rich text and decided to tell the story of a woman.

It was a show that took its protagonist and its audience seriously, without being self-serious. It allowed a woman to have workplace rivals and friends, to navigate the politics of her environment while also shaping them, to make mistakes and jokes, and to throw a baseball. She had and interacted with power. Kylie Bunbury inhabited Ginny with force and humanity. Mostly, she made Ginny Baker wonderfully real. She had anxieties and imperfections; we watched her work through moments of great self-doubt. But she also had ambition, and a voice, and the show was strongly committed to both. She was aware of her place and her responsibilities as the first woman to pitch in the majors, even if she wore that mantle uncomfortably at times. She was human, capable of triumph and of being crushed.

It wasn’t a perfect show; it had no idea how it felt about sabermetrics, or how to deploy them. Sometimes the baseball minutia was jumbled. It gave backstories to con man brothers and flailing tech executives we could have done without. And it dallied with a romance between Ginny and her much older catcher, Mike Lawson. But even in its low moments, the majority of its course corrections were instigated by Ginny’s desire to push forward on a path as much of her own making as any fifth starter’s could be. She was a ballplayer, and that mattered a great deal.

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Originally published: May 2, 2017. Last Updated: May 2, 2017.