Are you ready for a game-changing new baseball series? Premiering tonight on Fox, Pitch stars newcomer Kylie Bunbury as Ginny Baker, the first female drafted into Major League Baseball. When she’s called up to play for the San Diego Padres, Baker is catapulted into insta-fame and must prove to the world that her killer pitch is worthy of the big leagues.
The show won’t be your typical sports drama, though. According to Pitch’s creator and executive producer Dan Fogelman, it’s much deeper than that. “The concept here doesn’t just feel like it’s a show about baseball,” he said at Fox’s Television Critics Association panel. “It’s a show about this young woman coming of age with the lens of the entire world watching her, so I think that’s a slightly different thing than just baseball.”
The show’s star, Bunbury, agrees. "I do feel like I have a responsibility to empower women and to inspire them,” she says. “And not just women—anyone who has a dream—and to tell them you don't need to forgo your dreams. You can achieve them, and you can be any size, shape, color, gender, creed, whatever it is, you can do it. And I'm just really proud of this show. It has a lot of heart.”
Pitch premieres tonight, Sept. 22, at 9 p.m. ET on Fox. Before tuning in, check out six fascinating things we learned about the new series from the show's stars and creators.
1. Kylie Bunbury trained for the role.
Bunbury grew up with professional athletes in her family—including her father and brother—but she still had to learn the fundamentals of the sport. “I had about two-and-a-half months to learn how to pitch before we shot the pilot,” Bunbury says. “I really focused and trained as hard as I could, and I tried to live like a professional athlete. I took a lot of things from my brother as well, because I’ve learned a lot from him. When you grow up in sports, your body recognizes it, so throwing a baseball wasn’t very difficult, but then it was just getting down the dry mechanics and long tossing to get my arm strengthened up. And it came along.”
2. She actually throws a mean screw ball.
“I'm pretty proud of my fastball," Bunbury says. "I can throw a screw ball, but it's not as accurate and I don't have the velocity like I do with my fast ball. But I think my fast ball is not too shabby. What's so funny is we have not clocked it yet. But Gregg Olson, the pitcher that I'm working with, is a former pitcher who used to play for the Dodgers. He said I probably run 55 [mph]. So I'm not as fast as Ginny by any means, but I've only had a few months to learn. I'm pretty proud of the 55.”
3. The show will deal with current issues.
“We're talking about very current events, so there is a case where a young guy has raped a young woman and it's something that people want Ginny Baker to discuss," she says of the upcoming episodes. "I'm a woman in a man's world. What does she say about this? So it's a very current show which I think is really great.”
4. There’s a shocker in the first episode.
No spoilers here, but there will be an interesting spin to the story that you'll find out at the end of the pilot episode. "I think in the case of this show, what happens at the end of the pilot isn’t just a kind of twist or surprise," the show's creator Dan Fogelman says. "I think then you can go back and think, 'Oh, I get this girl in a different way right now. I get what Kylie’s character is going through in our journey. If I was to rewatch the pilot again, I would now understand the intensity of the pressure was different than I even knew at the beginning.'”
5. The series will use authentic baseball teams.
One of the big differences between this series and other baseball series is their official partnership with Major League Basebell. "Other shows didn’t have MLB as a partner like we do, so we don’t have to come up with fictional names like the New York Titans," producer Kevin Falls says. "We are using the Padres. We go to Dodger Stadium in the second episode and we want to continue going to Major League ballparks. They’ve been a great partner, so that helps a lot.”
6. Co-star Ali Larter describes the show best.
In the series, Ali Larter plays another strong female character, Ginny Baker's publicist. “It’s about breaking the glass ceiling," Larter says. "It’s about being whatever you want to be in this world. She’s thrown into this and she needs to be able to focus on it. These two women are thrown into this man’s world and it's how we navigate it with different kinds of sexism—things that could really hold her back from fulfilling her greatest dreams and everything that she can be. So I think the show represents that hope, and my character will do anything to make sure that she can achieve that.”
—with reporting by Carita Rizzo