Kylie Bunbury stars in FOX’s highly anticipated new drama as Ginny Baker, a young pitcher who becomes the first woman to play in the big leagues, facing the struggles and skepticism that accompany her feat. It is the first show of its kind to be officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball (Bunbury’s character plays for the San Diego Padres), adding an unprecedented element of authenticity.
Rounding out the cast is Zac Morris himself, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Mo McRae, and Ali Larter as Amelia Slater, a PR rep who has almost as much interest in seeing Ginny succeed than Ginny herself. We had a chance to spitball with the cast at a recent PaleyFest event, getting a few insights into their thoughts on the groundbreaking new series.
Q: Why do you think audiences will be excited for this show at this time?
Bunbury: Definitely because it’s unique; it’s a story that’s never been told before. I also think that a woman in a man’s world is interesting. But the biggest thing is that it inspires and empowers and makes you feel good.
Gosselaar: I’ll accept that answer.
McRae: I agree!
Q: What are each of your characters’ motivations?
McRae: Oh, that’s a good question.
Bunbury: I think her (Ginny’s) motivations are her dreams – is that an answer? Is that a good one?
Gosselaar: Sure, it works.
Bunbury: Yes [laughing] – her dreams!
McRae: I agree. No, no [laughing] I’d say for Blip, he’s motivated and driven by his family. He wants to be great at what he does and create a legacy.
Gosselaar: Motivation for Mike Lawson I think is winning and making sure he gets a ring of some sort [laughing], whether that’s from a relationship or winning a World Series.
Q: How are each of you most like or unlike your character?
Bunbury: Well, for me I always approach a character like it’s me and I’m just turning up certain things about myself and turning down others. But I would definitely say the confidence and drive of Ginny is something that I really relate to.
McRae: Blip is a really interesting character; I feel very similar in the way that he’s a passionate guy and very caring. But he can also be very intense, and really cool and I think he evades a lot of the expected clichés for his title. He’s a centerfielder – a professional athlete – so you expect him to be one way but I feel like he’s got a lot of layers. I feel like people always find me to be different than what they might expect; I defy expectations.
Bunbury: That’s such a good answer, McRae.
Gosselaar: Yeah, we’ll just use your answer and insert my name. No, but the only thing I can think of that separates Mike Lawson from Gosselaar is a beard and a couple pounds [laughing]. For the McRaest part, if I were to be a major league player this is how I would conduct business. I think Mike and I sort of have the same ethics when it’s relatable to work. You know, work hard and play hard.
Bunbury: You are really playful and sarcastic, and so is Mike.
Q: Is there one moment from shooting (without giving away too much) that stood out in terms of bonding or clicking with one another?
Bunbury: Right now, even though we don’t seem like we are [laughing].
Gosselaar: I think the times that we’ve really connected are when we’re on location.
Gosselaar: We go to Petco Park and film there, or Dodger Stadium, and it’s just us. We have to unfortunately leave our family and friends behind and we just concentrate on the baseball of it all and the show –
Bunbury: – and really become a team.
Gosselaar: Right, we become a real team. All the guys, infield and outfield, that you see on television – that’s our team. I think that’s when the bonding really happens. It’s a cool thing to be part of a team.
Bunbury: San Diego is where it’s at. When we went back there, it was great.
McRae: To echo that – it’s like, ‘where are we eating dinner tonight?’
Bunbury: Yes, exactly [laughing]. Where are we going?
McRae: It’s not, ‘are you,’ it’s a given. We need each other; we’re one organism.
Q: Last thing – describe the show in one word.
McRae: You want a do-over?
Bunbury: Best Show [laughing].
McRae: That’s two words! It’s alright, it’s outside the box.
Gosselaar: Mo, you go first. I was going to say Timely but there’s a better word for it.
Bunbury: No, that’s good!
McRae: I’m going to go with Compelling.
Gosselaar: What are you, a critic?
Bunbury: What about Riveting?
McRae: That was my first one.
Bunbury: I still like Timely, that’s perfect. I love it.
McRae: Yeah, that’s a strong one.
Gosselaar: You won’t see it in anything that comes up for our show. They won’t say it.
McRae: Well he didn’t ask, ‘what’s one word critics don’t say?’ [laughing].
Gosselaar: I’m saying that! I made that rule.
McRae: Alright, let’s go again.
Gosselaar: And, we’re out of time – the non-critic words will have to wait.
“Pitch” premieres Thursday, 9/22 at 9pm on FOX, and will stream next-day on Hulu.