Springtime is thought of a season of rebirth. In the television industry it can often be a time for pain as the hatchet man arrives to kill off quality programming that simply fell short of a Nielsen goal.
Fox has announced that it has pulled the plug on the baseball-themed drama Pitch. For the uninitiated, Pitch tells the story of the first female pitcher to get called up into the major leagues.
On the surface, the story feels like a predictable journey through insurmountable obstacles and the elation that comes with overcoming them.
Pitch was more than that. The showrunners, writers and actors told a human story that used the game for a prop instead of a crutch.
Getting to know pitcher Ginny Baker over the course of the Pitch’s one-year run was at times conflicting in all of the right ways.
There is five major reasons why Pitch should not have been shown the door.
None of them are as simple as ‘they left us with a cliffhanger. What do we do now?’
#1 It Was Fantastic
Good shows get pulled all of the time. To the dismay of the people that watch them, events and characters are often left on the vine to die.
But great shows should get a puncher’s chance at success. Pitch was a great show that allowed itself to be vulnerable while it grew under our skin.
Pitcher Ginny Baker (played by Kylie Bunbury) was one of many primary and secondary characters that thrived within the outline of this saga.
Whether it was her mentor, her coach, her agent/manager, her brother or for one pressure filled episode her partner in hedonism, Baker’s associates revolved around her while establishing their own identity.
These sub-plots gave Pitch it’s legs as a true ensemble experience that lived beyond the log line.
The underlying thread of how the pressure to succeed fuels Baker’s various meltdowns of varying degrees is a string that is allowed to slowly unravel over time.
By season’s end everyone has a loose end to address and Baker is left in a state of panic with a situation that threatens her career.
#2 It Was Diverse
Let’s be honest Major League Baseball has an issue with diversity. Though the league has made great strides over the past two years, a large segment of the country’s youth does not consider baseball to be our “national pastime.”
Having a series that revolves around a female lead of color that embraces all people, gave both Fox and MLB a rare opportunity to organically change the game’s landscape.
With Fox having a vested postseason broadcast interest in the game, it simply made a lot of sense to keep Pitch around.
Canceling this show was a strikeout.
#3 It Was Hitting Its Stride
Like wine great stories get better with time and that is certainly the case with Pitch. The point has been made that Pitch was dope and was killed off too soon.
The show was finally hitting its stride. Catcher/mentor Mike Lawson was sincerely dealing with his emotional demons that included flirting with a physical relationship with his young padawan.
Ginny’s struggles were finally boiling over and those included the fight between her business relationships and her family.
Every character developed enough to where viewers said ‘now this show has arrived.’
#4 Veteran Cast Was Gelling With Rising Stars
Pitch was set to be Canadian lead Kylie Bunbury’s breakout performance. Armed with a stellar supporting cast of veterans that included Ali Larter, Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Mark Andrew Consuelos, this cast was also home to a group of new faces that shined.
Larter’s chemistry with Tim Jo who portrays her assistant Eliot was quietly undergoing an evolution. It was charming and a perfect example of how the old guard-helping-the-new-guard dynamic guided this ship.
#5 The Execution Was Getting Better
This point was saved for last as its a little offsetting. Both the pilot and the second episode of Pitch were kinda eh.
It was shot well, the soundtrack was quirky yet compelling and it was interesting enough to get me to the third episode where it began to find its legs.
A lot of shows flame in and flame out. As time went on Pitch became less predictable and more engaging.
Each episode was executed better than its predecessor and that is allegedly is the goal.
It’s a shame that we’ll never get to see the real ground that this show could have broken.
Watch: Key Moments From Pitch