It's OK not to be OK: The 'Pitch' episode where Ginny dunks in a dress
This post contains spoilers.
Sports are just as much mental competition as they are physical, and it's OK, to not be OK. That's what my coaches always said to me growing up, and that's the very point "Pitch" makes this week. With Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) reeling from the pressure of being "Ginny-freaking-Baker," the powers that be called in a sports psychiatrist for her.
I'm here for any message that disrupts the "play through the pain" (any kind of pain) mantra that dominates sports. Watching Ginny let loose was fun at first, until it became clear that she was unraveling. That was far less comfortable.
Ginny, however, never went to college; she never partied. Not to mention the fact that she appears to only hang out with men except for Evelyn (Meagan Holder), who is her teammate Blip's (Mo McRae) wife -- and her agent Amelia (Ali Larter).
She needs a friend, and she certainly finds one in Cara (played by Lyndsy Fonseca, "Agent Carter," "Kick-Ass") -- who is a server Ginny meets during her Nike endorsement launch party and has an instant connection with. I'm going to let the interesting tension simmering between the two of them slide (including that really interesting joke in the bathtub), but know that my inner-queer fangirl was screaming the whole time.
Cara takes Ginny to a friend's house party after ditching Ginny's semi-stuffy launch event. Ginny feels comfortable in this setting -- she's playing "Mario Kart" and even finds time to dunk in a really expensive dress while wearing New Balance sneakers (she seems to ironically drum up a pair of NBs, rather than Nikes). She goes to the beach, passes out in Cara's car and wakes up in front of her job site -- Petco Park -- because Cara is the best human and makes sure she gets to work.
Team manager Al (Dan Lauria), GM Oscar (Mark Consuelos) and Charlie -- the new director of baseball operations played by Kevin Connolly ("Entourage") -- all confront Ginny about the events that transpired the previous night. They make it clear that they care about her as a person and not just as a commodity they can sell to put butts in the stadium seats. Perhaps the best part of this storyline is just how much of an advocate Al has become for Ginny. He cares about her just as he does all of his players. Even if it is a little paternalistic, it's still nice to see.
Underneath this discussion of mental health, however, is the simmering tension between Ginny and Amelia. Amelia started to date Mike Lawson (a catcher, played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar) in previous episodes, and Ginny is not handling it well. It's not clear what the source of her consternation is (please, do not let it be a love triangle), but for this episode, she's upset that Mike knew she had a panic attack because Amelia was with him when she called. He asked her if she was having another one on the mound, and Ginny looked like she wanted to punch him in the face... and Amelia right after.
Ginny and Amelia have a deep relationship that I hope is explored more going forward, but it's clear that Amelia struggles to balance her personal feelings of allegiance to Ginny, with only being her shark of an agent. That connection was challenged directly due to Amelia's actions, which didn't sit right with her, so she broke it off with Mike.
On the surface, Amelia seems cold and selfish, but it's actually quite the opposite. She sees Ginny as a surrogate member of her family because she has no one else. Her husband is gone; she doesn't have children; and we never see her with other clients. She wants Ginny to smile, have fun and most of all, love her the way Amelia seems to love Ginny.
"With two strong women, you don't necessarily need to be as strong with each other," Ali Larter said to me on set in August. I think Amelia misses that vulnerability Ginny shared with her and desperately wants it back.
How Ginny handles her mental health moving forward will be an interesting and much-needed storyline. I trust the writers wholeheartedly to handle that script with care. What is currently giving me heart palpitations, however, is the Amelia/Mike/Ginny feelings that are swirling. I just want Ginny to play baseball and maybe fall in love with a non-baseball playing person. That seems totally reasonable.
Can that happen, please?