Pitch 1.06: Ginny Baker, Known Human

Last week’s episode of Pitch was stronger than the last, which was stronger than the one before it, following a pattern of greatness that shows no signs of slowing.

There was one question that set the episode: What have the last 48 hours been like for Ginny Baker?

The answer: Non-stop, just like every moment for months now. A heavy, and pressure filled whirlwind that Ginny has been doing her best just to roll with, to take it all in stride.

Under Pressure

News broke just two days before that an endorsement deal had been struck between Ginny and Nike. It’s the full package – a commercial showing her inspiration, her role in today’s world. She’s Ginny Baker, who broke barriers, a great hero.

And it’s too much.

Because Ginny Baker may be composed, but it’s partly a facade. She’s been letting it all simmer and fester, pushing everything away until it was glaring her in the face, impossible to ignore. Everyone has their breaking point.

Later that night, alone in her room, she reaches hers. Her breathing gets harsher and faster, she’s sweating, she’s distressed. She has a panic attack. More than that, she has a very real one. Kylie Bunbury has knocked Ginny out of the park in every scene. She’s brought to life a character who is strong, kind and hardworking. She’s given a life to Ginny Baker that resonates with many girls – and this is no exception.

For some like me who deal with anxiety and panic attacks, Ginny is hitting home more than ever.

The fear and stress she’s feeling are felt in every scene, every shot. Bunbury’s face plays it all, but so do the flashes of the cameras, the fast talking from everyone in every scene. It’s overwhelming; it can be in-your-face obvious or a small haze over your day. It’s hard

With everyone expecting something from Ginny – a smile here, the right words there, a thank you, a perfect game. It’s a whole lot for one person to live up to.

To see a hero, to see the great Ginny Baker being human, means a whole lot more than seeing her effortlessly weave through life. Because no one can live under that pressure coolly and calmly. Dare I say, it’s impossible. Her reaction is real and okay, and seeing Ginny struggle, seeing Ginny feel like her world will end if she’s anything less than perfectly poised is relatable.

To those of us viewers with anxiety ourselves, it means a great deal to see a character live with it, as well. To see her be human. It allows us to connect.

Ginny calls Amelia for help at 3 a.m., who is coincidentally with Mike and she runs to be with Ginny, more than just a manager – but a friend who cares.

Sitting on the floor later, Ginny says it all.

I’m so tired, but I can’t sleep.

Talking to a psychiatrist (the brilliant Rita Wilson) 48 hours later, switching back and forth between time frames, we see Ginny not really accepting that she has to talk to her. She’s fine; she just had a bad couple of days, but she’s fine.

It’s her favorite phrase: she’s fine.

But it inevitably comes out in pieces. She doesn’t feel like she deserves the Nike endorsement, to be compared to heroes and leaders of change leaders like President Obama, Serena Williams, Michael Jordan, Jackie Robinson and the like. She’s just…Ginny.

I don’t feel like I deserve any of this. There, I said it.

Flash to her next game (in the sweltering heat, no less), the morning after her panic attack. Mike runs to the mound, and she’s not pitching great, maybe because of the heat, perhaps because of residual anxiety, which never is just one small attack and then all is well – but she’s okay.

But he takes her panting (and sensing she’s off) as a panic attack, and asks if she’s having another one.

He struck a nerve. She’s annoyed. You can see it on her face. Because she called Amelia for help in a time of vulnerability, and not only is she letting the Mike and Amelia bombshell fester as if she doesn’t care (oh, Ginny), she doesn’t want to be their bedtime talk. She doesn’t want what she says to be relayed to another. She called Amelia, not Mike.

Add it to the list of stressors – it’s a long one.

After a bad game, Al, Oscar, and Charlie seem a little worried – but they’re not going to step in just yet. A bad game and an endorsement deal aren’t too much for Ginny to handle…are they?

Before the endorsement party later that night, Ginny snaps at Amelia, asking her to keep Ginny’s business and whatever’s going on with Mike separate. And while I get it, that’s fair – it was a little harsh. Amelia did her best and Mike was beside her, he just happened to overhear, but Ginny trusted her. And now, that trust may be out the window.

(Sidenote: Evelyn Sanders is a gem, the perfect best friend and I just want to hang out. Call me?)

At her lavish endorsement deal party, where she looks like an actual goddess in a red dress that could only have been made with her in mind, things are…tense.

She snaps at Mike for his comment at the mound, Mike and Amelia break up (are we shocked?), the Sanders are perfect as always, and Ginny is beyond stressed – all before anyone has time for a second drink. Her face is plastered everywhere around the room, and she’s an icon to people, no longer a person.

So instead, she hides.

A waitress at the party, Cara (hopefully Ginny’s new best friend, or girlfriend if we were only so lucky) seems to be the only person seeing Ginny as Ginny, and seeing how she’s feeling. She’s not treating her like Ginny Baker the great pitcher, the face of Nike. She’s talking to her like Ginny, a girl who has done some cool things and is at this party too, and that’s neat.

She steals Ginny away, her knight in shining waitress uniform.

And it’s clear, Ginny admits later, that she was envious of Cara, of her ability to – at the same age as Ginny – run out on her job, and not care, not let down millions of people or break contracts or leave everything in ruin. She can live. It’s not the same pressure. She can just be.

Ginny wants that. (It is, of course, worth noting that Cara was envious of Ginny too, of knowing what her life means and having it together. The grass is always greener, after all.)

So for one night and one night only, she decides to live in the moment. She’s going to live Cara’s life, the life of any twenty-something who gets just to have fun and not think about her every move, every facial expression, and every word.

Back at the party, meanwhile, Elliot adorably is flirting with another assistant in attendance, and I just love it and him and the positivity he adds to every scene. It’s worth noting. (And yet, he doesn’t exactly hit a home run. So close.)

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Ginny and Cara go to an LA house party. Drinking, dancing, drinking games, and Wii. She’s a twenty-something in a multi-thousand dollar dress…which she gets wet when she dunks into a pool, borrowing someone’s New Balance sneakers to complete her jump, being videotaped by everyone. It hits the internet immediately.

Which cannot be good.

Amelia and Eliot hit the road looking for her and see the video not long after it hits the internet, going viral almost instantly. Definitely not good.

To make the party ditching almost complete, Mike drunkenly stops by his ex’s which…it just seems like no one in the world is having a good night, at this point. It just wasn’t meant to be.

Back in real time, the therapist is asking Ginny to tell her why she put on the New Balance sneakers. Because that’s the problem. That’s what looks bad. Sure, going out and ditching her own party isn’t a great look, but what people are upset about is she ditched her multi-million dollar Nike party to put on New Balance sneakers at a house party in LA instead.

It’s simple, though. Ginny says they want her to wear their glove, something she just can’t do. Because her glove is the last thing her dad had given to her before he died – the dead father she keeps bringing up, in an attempt to act like she knows that’s what her therapist wants her to talk about, but it’s fine, she’s fine.

(The more she says it, the less believable it is.)

Amelia and Eliot finally find the house Ginny had been at and Ginny’s dress – but no people, no Ginny. Amelia is losing her cool, angry with Ginny especially for everything she’s done to get her where she is, and Eliot snaps. He’s advocating for himself finally, that he gave up his life, too, that he worked for all of this, too. He worked as hard as Amelia.  He gave up his life, too.

One raise and a title later – director of social media – and he’s good.

Ginny is still in fact with Cara and another new friend, eating fast food in a parking lot somewhere and making beach plans.

Tomorrow is tomorrow’s problem, after all.

Just Breathe

Mike begging for Rachel back broke my heart just a little, but only because Mike Lawson is facing reality. His career clock is ticking, and he’s facing the great unknown of after all alone. But he’s tired, and she’s right. He’s lonely. He’s drunk. He likes what he can’t have – and now that he can’t have Rachel, he wants her. But it’s over because that’s not how he was when they were together.

She tells him he needs to go home and figure out what he really wants – the second woman tonight to say it to him. His head wasn’t in it with either of them, and Mike Lawson needs some time to figure out who Mike Lawson is off the field.

The next morning, Ginny wakes up to seagulls in a parking lot – Cara, a true and good friend, took her to the stadium, knowing she needed to be back. They part ways, and God willing, it’s not for the last time.

Amelia and Eliot are there waiting for Ginny, coffees in hand, and Ginny apologizes, knowing not just that she messed up – but that Amelia deserved an apology and thanks for everything she does for Ginny, always.

It’s a new day, after all.

Back at the clubhouse, Ginny apologizes to Al, Oscar, and Charlie, who are waiting with a video from the night before – and not the dunking video.

It’s the video of Cara and Ginny giggling in the bathtub afterward, a little drunk, and having fun – until Ginny breaks down sobbing saying she doesn’t want to go back. She doesn’t want to do it anymore; she doesn’t want to be careful and be her anymore. I don’t want to smile when I don’t want to smile. She’s exhausted.

And it’s heartbreaking, raw and all too real. It’s just the evidence they needed to show that Ginny needed a hand to reach out and help her – because they care about her, and they just want to help.

She panics briefly, wondering if they found it online – but they didn’t. Cara sent it to them and only them before erasing it, because she was concerned about Ginny, and just wanted them to help her.

“Not every person you meet is out there to hurt you,” Amelia told Ginny with a soft smile, and I melted, then and there. Because Ginny doesn’t realize she had people in her corner, not like this. She has a family now – Amelia, her team, the Padres management, Mike Lawson, the Sanders. She’s built a support system, and it’s about time for her to let them in.

They’re not mad; they’re not punishing her. They called a psychiatrist, and they want to help her handle everything, they want what’s best for her – for Ginny Baker, girl, not the carefully crafted image she’s trying to live up to.

More than that, they don’t let her say she’s fine, anymore. She tries, but Al cuts her off, matter-of-factly.

“No. You’re not.” It was all she needed – someone to say it to her- for her to finally admit it, too.

She cries as she does, finally just saying it out loud, which takes more strength than anything she’s done thus far. Because Ginny Baker is strong, no one can deny that. But admitting you’re not okay, that you need help and you’re ready to accept it – that’s one of the strongest things of all, and one of the hardest that many can’t manage.

It’s okay not to be okay, Ginny Baker. Needing help is okay.  

She starts being real with her therapist. She’s no longer preemptively defensive. She wants to be normal. She wants to be her age, not have every detail planned. She wants to be a person who isn’t a product. She’s not a brand; she’s human.

And she says it out loud without the sky falling on her.

But she finally asked the question she needed to – what does Ginny want? It’s a start. She’s finally addressing it. She’s finally admitting to herself that she has work to do.

And it was almost all okay for a day, until Amelia shows up with the news that the selfie hack from Trevor’s computer finally has hit – another storm on the horizon.

Deep breath, Ginny.

Okay. What else you got?

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