Friday, September 23, 2016

Pitch: A Pretty Inspiring Show

As soon as I heard about a television show during the May upfronts that was highlighting the first professional women's baseball player in the Major Leagues, I was intrigued. Am I a woman? Yes. Do I enjoy baseball? Very. Have I slowly grown in my feminist and gender equality ideals? Absolutely!

The biggest question, though, wasn't if this show was going to pigeonhole this show as a "woman making it in a man's world" show, or would the characters be so one-dimensional that it would render it unwatchable. No, the biggest question I had was, "How accurate would the baseball be?"

Happily, not only was the baseball action very well done, but the story was great, too.

If you're not familiar with it, Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) has come up through the minors and is making her Major League debut. She has her allies, like her agent (Ali Larter, the one actor I didn't like) the GM (Mark Consuelos) and a longtime teammate (Mo McRae), but she's met with animosity from her battery partner (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) her manager (Dan Lauria) and especially the guy she kicked out of the starting rotation (Ryan Dorsey).

She isn't made out to be a tomboy or a weakling. Essentially, she's what you would see nowadays in professional tennis or basketball: someone who is strong in her abilities and radiates that strength. Her father (Michael Beach) has a lot to do with it, but his constant pressure on her, as well as the pressure (some accidental, some incidental) placed on her by all of America, makes her come apart at the wrong times.

You see flashbacks of her time training with her father, and you see that he's never satisfied with her progress. In the culture of parents cushioning their children from any kind of negativity or problems, it's nice to see a parent who is more matter of fact (though at one point he takes it too far - you'll know it when you see it). She lashes out at one point at him for stealing her childhood, but then she still finishes the episode by saying, "We did it, Dad," and you can see it was her dream all along, too.

Considering the show is on FOX, I wasn't surprised to see Joe Buck and John Smoltz acting as commentators, or Colin Cowherd being a jerk. (I can imagine the filming: "Okay, Colin, just be yourself. Act like the moron you always are.") What did please me was when they "cut in" to FS1 coverage of the games. They had the bottom line score updates, the normal FS1 score graphics, and even the music! (I paid close attention to the fake scores, and I did notice the Yankees were beating the Tigers 8-4. I will continue to keep an eye on the Tigers' progress throughout the fake season.)

When Ginny struggles, she gives herself time to mope, but the immediately gets pushed to fight back and improve. I had gone through a long week of work and pet issues, and before the show I was hesitating whether or not to go out for a run. I decided to hold off and put on Pitch instead.

However, by the end of the episode, I was fired up. I couldn't stay on the couch! I had to push myself! So I went out and ran the best 3 miles I have in months. It felt awesome.

I will continue to watch Pitch as it airs, and hope that it doesn't get too soapy. I just want a show about a baseball season and a team's inner workings. They can shove all the analysis and sports talk they want to at me and I'll eat it up! I'm looking forward to season three or four when they throw in another female athlete entering the majors.

Give this show a shot. It's a good one!

Pitch airs at 9/8c on FOX.

I am Claire Nat! I am a teacher and write for I write about anything that interests me - mostly music, Olympics, and fandoms! Follow me @CeePipes or 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Beach Bum

For the last few years, I was all about the mountains. I could see the mountains from my apartment in Aurora, Colorado. I drove to the mountains to enjoy all the seasons. I skied in the mountains. I hiked in the mountains. I loved that the mountains were always cooler than the other areas of the state. And everyone knew where they were going because the mountains were always in the west!

I knew I would miss the mountains dearly, but since I moved to the western side of Michigan, I've realized something:

I love water more than mountains!

There are many reasons for that, both historical and current. First, my maternal grandparents bought a cottage outside of Oconomowoc, Wisonsin many years ago, and my family would often travel there to meet up with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. The cottage was on a lake, and while the lake wasn't the prettiest, I really enjoyed sitting on the dock and listening to the water lap up to shore.

My paternal grandparents lived in Bay City, Michigan, where if you hold your hand up to look like the Lower Peninsula, Bay City would be on the curved area between your four fingers and your thumb. My Papa enjoyed going on walks, and my favorite walks were at...the mall.


My second-favorite walks were on the paths that bordered the bay. I loved looking out and seeing the long ore boats making their way to Lake Huron and other Great Lakes.

I have had negative water experiences. Both times that I have visited the Gulf of Mexico weren't under the best circumstances, and left a bitter taste in my mouth. But most of the time, I have loved my water time.

In my area of western Michigan, Lake Michigan is mere minutes away. I have frequented the dunes many times and ran next to the Lake Michigan beaches. Every time I go, I find new ways to love my new beach life.

I still love the mountains - don't get me wrong. But a mountain trip would require going all the way around the southern part of Denver, and that area was pretty much always backed up with traffic and would have to be at least a half-day trip. A beach trip for me now is about a ten minute drive, and can be squeezed into a free hour in the day.

The people on the beach are an eclectic bunch - especially right before the sunset. I try to time my trips to when the sun is going down, and so do many other people. There are families, elderly, book readers, guitar players, photographers, videographers, dog walkers, friends, beach volleyball players, fisherman, sandcastle architects, and couples. It can sometimes be a fascinating bunch to watch.

Lots of people are there to go swimming. But many just use the time to sit in their beach chair and allow the waves of the water to lull them to sleep.

Much of the first 25 years of my life were spent with a lot of stressful stuff going on. But now that I'm well into my professional career, I can make sure to appreciate the times when I can just sit in the sand and relax. Thanks to my location, that is even easier to accomplish.

Now I have not experienced a western Michigan winter yet, and I've heard that it can be pretty brutal. But if I can deal with a Michigan winter and still get to enjoy the beauty of the beach during the other three seasons of the year, I can live with that!