By Samantha Simon
Updated Sep 22, 2016 @ 5:00 pm
Pitch - LEAD
Credit: FOX

For his latest role, Mark Consuelos is heading to the big leagues. The actor stars in Fox’s new baseball drama Pitch, which follows the story of Ginny Baker (played by Kylie Bunbury), the first female MLB player. The series premieres tonight at 9 p.m. ET, with Consuelos in the role of Oscar, the general manager of the San Diego Padres.

“The show starts off with the team not doing so well,” Consuelos recently told InStyle. “They’re middle of the league, and their attendance isn’t so good. But they have an opportunity to bring up this female pitcher, and obviously she has enough talent to be in the minor—but a female pitcher has never been brought up to the major leagues, so they don’t know what’s going to happen.”

When he first watched the pilot, Consuelos wasn’t sure how the story would play out either. “I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “But it was just amazing.” And the #girlpower memo wasn’t lost on the actor. “Having a daughter, I think it’s an important TV show for families and sports fans to watch because of the messages of empowerment and equity,” he said. “Those are things that are very much in the news today, and it’s an important overall message of the show.”

Consuelos also appreciates the fact that the series is authentic, something that sports enthusiasts will notice right off the bat (pun intended). “One of the cool things about the show is that MLB is partnered with Fox—since they air baseball—and it’s the first time that they’ve licensed their stadiums, ball clubs, and uniforms,” he said. “So we show real teams and they’re wearing real uniforms.” The genuine nature of the show was a major plus for Consuelos when he first signed on. “Being a pure baseball fan, I kind of had one eyebrow raised at first, like, ‘Alright, how is this going to work?’” he said. “But after reading the whole script and then meeting the cast and Kylie, I thought, ‘Wow.’”

Pitch - Embed
Credit: FOX

And that’s when the teamwork truly began. “After the first table read, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mo McRae, Kylie, and I went to the batting cages, because they wanted us to keep working out,” said Consuelos. “They play professional baseball players, but luckily, I play an ex-baseball player—which means that the pressure is completely off for me. So I watched Kylie over on the pitching mound, and I was blown away. She’s such a badass—and I think that was probably the biggest hurdle for them, to find someone that could fit this role and be believable.”

Consuelos even joined in on the fun. “I actually got the catcher’s mitt, and went up to her and said that I wanted to catch the ball,” he said. “And she’s good—she throws really, really well. She’s definitely an athlete. Her father was a professional soccer player and her brother is currently a professional soccer player, so she definitely has the athletic gene.” Consuelos, on the other hand, is hitting the field less these days. “I used to play, but not anymore,” he said. “I literally get hurt just stepping off the stairs now.”

Catch Pitch Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.