[Warning: The following contains serious spoilers for the series premiere of Pitch. Read at your own risk!]
The cast and crew of Pitch wanted to introduce everyone to a new Jackie Robinson story with a show about the first female to make it into Major League Baseball, but Thursday's series premiere also tapped into a Field of Dreams moment when the final scene of the pilot revealed that Ginny's dad (Michael Beach) — who had been so instrumental in her success throughout the whole episode — was actually dead.
As shocking as the twist was, it only served to show the pressure Ginny (Kylie Bunbury) feels from a different angle. Executive producer Dan Fogelman — who is also the architect behind the This Is Us premiere twist earlier this week — explained at the Television Critics Association fall previews last month that Pitch will focus on the drama, not the ghost story, from here on out.
"I think surprises are good when they're not just there to be a surprise, but they also kind of change the lens through which you're watching the show," Fogelman said. "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. 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.'"
That isn't to say that Beach is done with the show or that we won't see more of Ginny's baseball foundation and relationship with her father. We will continue to see him in flashbacks as Ginny encounters different obstacles while she integrates on to the Padres team.
"We have a device set up in the pilot where you're kind of going back in time and looking at Ginny's life previous, and that's a device that's going to carry in different ways as we go into the series," Fogelman continued. "You're going to be kind of flashing back on Kylie's life in different areas, as well as other characters, as we go further into the series."
Future episodes will also introduce the people from Ginny's flashbacks into her current life. B.J. Britt joins the series in Episode 2 as the grown-up version of Ginny's older brother. As the show moves forward it will continue to flesh out the personal aspects of the story that make Ginny's journey so interesting.
"The concept here doesn't just feel like it's a show about baseball. 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," Fogelman said. "My wife watched the pilot for the first time and literally said to me it was like I wanted to make it one of those things that you print and put in an ad, and she's like, 'Holy s---. You actually made me care about baseball.'"
Was the Pitch pilot able to make you care about baseball?
Pitch continues Thursday nights at 9/8c on Fox.