The first woman to play major league baseball will make her debut Sept. 22. Well, not really. But there will be a TV series about a fictional woman pitching in the majors, Thursday nights at 9 on Fox, the same network that will carry the real World Series. Get ready to mute a boatload of promos.
The show is called “Pitch.” Here’s the premise from the Fox website: “A beautiful, tough and gifted athlete, Ginny Baker is vaulted into instant fame when she’s called up by the San Diego Padres to make her major league debut. Like any rookie, Ginny must prove herself to her teammates. Foremost among them is Mike Lawson, the team’s ruggedly handsome star catcher. There’s an instant chemistry between them, although neither dares admit it. After all, Mike is captain of the team and a few of his players don’t even want Ginny on the field. One of the players watching Ginny’s back is center fielder Blip Sanders, an old friend from the minor leagues. Guiding her is her agent/confidante Amelia Slater. Amelia saw Ginny’s star potential early on and left her previous job as a Hollywood publicist to concentrate on the young phenom.”
OK, nearly lost my lunch at the “instant chemistry” part. As for resentment by teammates, the Padres (and many other clubs) would accept a transgender case wearing a skirt if he/she could put up a clean inning out of the bullpen.
The star of “Pitch” is Kylie Bunbury, who was in the CBS series “Under the Dome.” The only name in the cast an old-timer would recognize is Dan Lauria, who played Fred Savage’s father on “The Wonder Years” (ABC, 1988 to 1993). The Fox site did not say, but likely he will play the Padres’ manager, and in fact looks far more like one than Andy Green, who’s only 38.
It’s hard to see “Pitch” gaining much of a following, but if PC-whipped critics cheerlead, Fox might tolerate abysmal ratings, knowing “Bones” will return to that time slot in January. If “Pitch” gets knocked out in the early innings, they’ve probably got another asshole chef warmed up somewhere.
Will we ever see a non-fictional woman pitch in the majors? Maybe decades down the road. I envision a lefthander with an unusual delivery who has mastered one pitch – a curveball, thrown very slowly, because after all she’s a girl. Each time out, she’d only face a single left-handed batter, who would be under immense pressure, not just because of the game situation. She’d be a Lefty One-Out Guy, in baseball parlance a “loogy,” the most unusual one in history.