This post contains spoilers.
This week's episode of "Pitch" was centered around Mike's (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) impending trade from the Padres to the Cubs. Spoiler alert: He's not getting traded (duh).
Mike, of course, never actually wanted to leave, but Charlie (Kevin Connolly), the president of baseball operations, is convinced that Mike and talented prospect Livan Duarte (Christian Ochoa) cannot coexist. The obvious choice (to him) is to go younger and make an all-in bet on Duarte, even if he isn't ready to do more than hit flashy inside-the-park home runs and ignore coaching instruction.
I maintain that "Pitch" is best when Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) is front and center, but a Mike-centric episode comes in at a close second. I submit the following gif as evidence for the former.
The proverbial elephant in the room, however, was, is and will continue to be #Bawson (Baker and Lawson). I have publicly stated that I am not on that train (I'm still not). For the full diatribe, please see last episode's column. The short and sweet version is, I don't love the age difference, Ginny falling for a ballplayer or the fact that intra-team romances are apparently cool for straight folks but the end of the world (the inclusion or discussion of LGB athlete relationships always seems to be cause for alarm) for queer folks. Miss me with that.
It seemed like Mike had come to terms with his feelings for Ginny in the last episode (see the off-key humming monologue). There's a strong argument that this knowledge is at the root of his decision to waive the no-trade clause in his contract and be willing to go to the Cubs. In the moments after his internal realization, Mike called Oscar Arguella, the GM (Mark Consuelos), and told him that he'd go to Chicago. There was no reckoning with his being dispensable to the very team with which he had spent his entire career. This is about Ginny.
And she has no idea.
Executive producer and co-creator Rick Singer noted during a set visit in August: "[Ginny is] ill-equipped to deal with all of the things that come with being a young woman out on her own for the first time." I've touched on this point before, but in the context of this episode, this sentiment underscores Ginny's laser focus on baseball for the majority of her life at the expense of romance and social development.
Ginny is only 23, and to date we know of exactly one significant romance: Trevor (Shamier Anderson), the guy with the nude selfies (what happened to him?). This episode, she's flirting with (and maybe dating?) tech genius Noah Casey (Tyler Hilton), whom she met through pitching for her video game character. Side note: If Ginny Baker is not a playable character in "MLB: The Show 2017," there is no justice in this world.
Now, I am Team Noah for sure. I love them together. I love nerdy Ginny who giggles at an 8-bit program delivering Noah's number because "super Noah" looks like Mario and she told him that she likes Mario. Noah is smart, kind and most of all not Ginny's teammate who is 13 years her senior. I know the "Bawson" chemistry is great, but come on, she had a poster of him on her wall.
As much as I love Noah, Ginny seems to be into him mostly as an avoidance tactic for her feelings for Mike. She reaches out to him for dinner after feeling slighted by Mike and doesn't tell Mike she's going on a date with Noah. Then, she leaves in the middle of said date to get drinks with Mike because it's thought to be his last night in San Diego.
And this is how I know for sure that Ginny is oblivious. Mike sits next to her at the bar and does everything EXCEPT tell Ginny that he's in love with her, and she doesn't even bite. He asks her why she told him she was going out with her brother, and Ginny responds with some B.S. about not wanting Mike to feel guilty interrupting a date if the guys went out for drinks. Mike even calls her on it! He says "OK, we'll go with that."
The real moment came, however, when Ginny said "Part of me wants you to leave for the same reason you want to leave." Mike looked at her expecting some confession of feelings, but Ginny never delivered. Instead, she spewed about the team not wanting her to be distracted, or whatever.
And, of course, there was the almost kiss on the sidewalk. We should have known! The promo gods sit on a throne of lies. Obviously there would be no kiss. Of course the moment would be interrupted by a phone call telling Mike he wasn't going anywhere. He was still (drum roll, please) a Padre.
In the moments after Mike hung up the phone, I expected to see relief from both Ginny and Mike. Instead, I saw such raw disappointment that I almost ditched Team Noah and hopped aboard the Bawson train. Almost.
What I took away from this episode, though, is that while Bawson is probably inevitable (renewal not withstanding), Ginny isn't ready for that, even as Mike is about to dive headfirst into his pool of feelings.