Fox’s ‘Pitch’ shines national spotlight on Padres, San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- "Pitch,” Fox’s new drama about the first woman to play major league baseball, will place San Diego, the Padres and Petco Park on the national stage when it premieres Thursday night.

The hour-long show, which airs at 9 p.m. on FOX 5 San Diego, uses real team uniforms, logos and stadiums to heighten the realism. It tells the story of Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury), and her debut as a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres.

The show tries to realistically portray a Jackie Robinson-like breakthrough on the playing field in the age of social media, and producers had to get Major League Baseball to play ball to pull it off, according to a write-up of the show in the Los Angeles Times.

"The story is very authentic in terms of every team’s goal to identify the best talent out there and put the best talent on the field," Chris Tully, executive vice president-media for Major League Baseball, told the Times.

All the players and Padres employees who appear in the show are fictional, but “Pitch” is meant to be as realistic as possible, according to the producers. They worked closely with Fox Sports, which made its announcers and on-screen graphics available for game scenes.

Much of the action was shot on location at Petco Park, Dodgers Stadium and around San Diego. In the pilot episode, Ginny Baker is living in the Omni Hotel next to Petco. The temporary lodging is meant to emphasize that her call-up to the majors could end at any time. The producers chose the Padres, because they felt it was more believable that a less successful team would be the first club to gamble on a female player.

If “Pitch” is a hit, the producers hope to take the show on the road and visit other baseball parks including Wrigley Field in Chicago, AT&T Park in San Francisco and Fenway Park in Boston.