Baseball fans and non-baseball fans alike who tuned in to the "Pitch" premiere on FOX Thursday (Sept. 22) may have been surprised by how much actual baseball they saw, both in terms of playing time and the amount of work the actors are doing on screen.
But that's par for the course with this new sports drama, with the actors putting in extensive training to look as authentic as possible. If you're wondering what has gone into the making of the show and what's to come down the line, here are three things to know about the amount of baseball fans will actually see in "Pitch."
The training took months ... and is still going on
"We had about a month and a half before the pilot started, and then since the pilot, we've had another three months or three times or four times a week for three hours a session, so we're currently training," star Mark-Paul Gosselaar tells us. "It's an on-going thing we stay on top of to get better and make sure we look as authentic as possible."
Executive producer Dan Fogelman adds that Gosselaar has thrown himself into it full-on. "He’s way into it. There are times where I’m like, 'He knows he’s not playing for the Padres, right?'"
But Gosselaar is not the only one learning how to look like a major leaguer.
Kylie Bunbury has been pitching "three or four days a week," working on "dry mechanics, flat ground work, long tossing," but the athleticism is something that does run in her blood, being the daughter of former professional soccer player Alex Bunbury.
"The girl can pitch now ... she's got a little heat," says director Paris Barclay at the 2016 summer TCA press tour audience. "All of our players -- Mark has really studied to be a catcher, I don't have to double them a lot. They actually do what you see them doing on screen. [Mo McRae], that great catch you see in center field, that's actually him catching the ball at center field right off the back wall."
The games to come
The pilot episode saw the on-screen Padres playing two games at home and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
"We’ve gone to the minor leagues for some parts of flashback stories," says Barclay. "We’re looking at different aspects of baseball. It won’t always be around whether she wins this game or that game. There’s a lot more to baseball than that."
"We actually went to the All Star Game and shot at the All Star Game," teases executive producer Kevin Falls. "Which actually is ... based on real rules with the Major League Baseball. So she pitches in that game, and things that happen in that game we will see in the story."
Ginny will step into the batter's box, too
Baseball fans may have noticed that the show chose to put Ginny on a National League team, which means in addition to pitching, she has to take her turn at the plate -- and she definitely will in future episodes.
"We had a lot to figure out for the pilot, so we avoided it a little bit in the pilot," Fogelman tells us. "It is a storyline that comes into play ... Kylie is learning how to bat. In our third episode up, she gets stuck in the middle of a bean ball kind of escalating game where she’s going to have to come to a plate and it brings up a whole different set of issues as to her throwing at somebody, somebody throwing back at her. So we’re very much attacking [that]."