The fictional Fox series about MLB's first female player ran for one season in 2016
Speaking to PEOPLE Senior Editor Breanne L. Heldman during the Saved by the Bell panel at 90s Con Tampa, Gosselaar, 49, called his role on Pitch “one of my favorites” and said he “gained a lot of weight and muscle” for the part.
Pitch aired for one 10-episode season in 2016 and saw Gosselaar’s character, a catcher for the San Diego Padres, working alongside the league’s first female player, portrayed by Kylie Bunbury.
“I wanted to quit the industry after that ended,” Gosselaar confessed. “That’s one of those, you feel like in your lifetime you’re not going to be handed opportunities like that, so for that to pass in the fashion that it did it was sort of a gut punch. That’s a role though, that I don’t make light of it, but I had to go therapy with my wife.”
Gosselaar explained that, since Pitch filmed only 30 minutes from his house, he got to go home and see his wife Catrionna McGinn and their kids son Dekker, 9, and Lachlyn, 8, every day when filming wrapped. However, Gosselaar found himself bringing the attitude of the “really aggressive baseball player” he played on TV home with him.
“I’d come in through that front door and like my wife said in therapy sessions, ‘That’s not the guy I married,’ ” Gosselaar said. “And you’re playing this guy and then the next day, you have to jump right into that. It is actually really difficult to go back and forth, especially when you have kids.”
Gosselaar — who also shares kids Michael Charles, 19, and Ava Lorenn, 17, with his ex-wife, Lisa Ann Russell — expressed his appreciation to his family for being supportive of his career.
“I consider myself a husband first, a family guy second and an actor third,” he said. “It’s not easy, but I have an understanding family and a wife to work through it, communicate about it.”
The Saved by the Bell alum shared that another one of his roles, playing a dad on Mixed-ish, influenced his family life for the better.
“That actually made me a better father,” Gosselaar said, giving the example, “My son just painted on the walls — on Mixed-ish, we celebrated it. So it works both ways.”
At the time, Gosselaar’s costars also felt disappointed by Pitch’s May 2017 cancelation.
“Ginny Baker has profoundly changed my life and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to play a role that resonated with so many people,” Bunbuy, 34, wrote on Instagram at the time, referring to her Pitch character. “I wasn't ready to let go of Ginny, but more than anything I wasn't ready to let go of my Pitch family- the cast, crew, creators and writers, thank you for the magic. MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!- Thank you to all of the fans who took the journey with us! Your support and love for the show has always moved us deeply! I love you all.”
“Kevin Falls, [co-creator] Rick Singer and of course Dan Fogelman put together one of the best writing staffs I ever worked with,” star Dan Lauria wrote on Facebook in May 2017. “Our cast was the most professional I ever worked with, not a headache in the bunch. Our staff and crew, the best. I wish everyone a continued great career. Love each and everyone of those involved with Pitch.”
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