‘A League of Their Own’ Swings For The Fences And Broadens The Playing Field

“If they play dirty, then we are going to play fu*king filthy.” These are the words of Carson Shaw, pitcher

'A League of Their Own' Swings For The Fences And Broadens The Playing Field

“If they play dirty, then we are going to play fu*king filthy.” These are the words of Carson Shaw, pitcher for the Peaches, an All-American professional women’s baseball team in WWII era USA.

Sound vaguely familiar? It should. The scene described above is from the new show A League of Their Own. Inspired from the 1992 movie of the same name starring Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Geena Davis, this latest project has made the jump from a big blockbuster movie to a dramatic episodic spanning eight episodes on Prime Video. Despite a three decade separation of projects and the premise sounding the same, we can assure you the projects are decidedly different.

“It’s not about the same characters at all. It’s great.”

“Thirty years later they are doing ‘A League of Their Own’ with different characters,” said Academy Award winning actress Geena Davis in an interview to us earlier this week. “It’s not about the same characters at all. It’s great.”

Davis, who played the original catcher for the Peaches in the original movie, is correct when it comes to the newer television version. Yes, the foundation upon which A League of Their Own was built remains the same, but the design and aesthetic are a far cry from the original.

The Lineup

Let’s warm-up and talk about the stars in the lineup. At catcher is the already mentioned Carson Shaw (Abbi Jacobson). Shaw, like Hinson, is married with her husband away at war. As an aside – Jackson, best known for Broad City, helped create the series and bring it to life alongside Will Graham. At first base is Greta Gill (D’Arcy CardenA Good Place). Greta is the perfect pinup version of what a woman in the 40’s aspired to be even if she is the ‘loosy goosy’ gal of the group. At pitcher is the cranky and stubborn Lupe García (Roberta ColindrezI Love Dick). For a hot minute the team is coached by Dove, (Nick Offerman) a former pro-baseball player who is tasked with babysitting the Peaches. And that’s just the list of heavy hitters. So many diverse and nuanced female characters make up the entire team. And we aren’t mad at that at all.

Analyzing The Playback

In addition to the name and attribute sharing, the new League does its best to walk the women through the same issues of oppression as was common at the time. But it is far more prevalent in this newer version. Need some examples? Well step right up. The women are not allowed to open their own checking accounts without their husbands to deposit the very money they earned – this is a problem when your hubby is away at war. Or, how about the idea that an unmarried woman needs a chaperone in order to go out with a potential suitor?

The new League swings big when it comes to race, specifically being a Black baseball player. The entire season has talented pitcher Max Chapman (Chanté Adams) swinging hard at every single chance just to play. After seeing her strike out at the opportunity to even try out in the first episode, Max spends the next seven episodes seemingly on deck for the next shot but never really getting her at bat until the last episode. At her side is her BFF Clance Morgan (Gbemisola Ikumelo). The relationship between these two is an absolute home run for the series. Both Black women have to fight for the smallest of successes in a way that even the Peaches don’t. All of that is to say that her racial storyline is allowed to really penetrate through in a way that the original couldn’t.

Home-run for Gender Complexity

Surprisingly race isn’t Max’s only storyline. A League of Their Own swings and swings spectacularly big with the subject of queerness. A good deal of the season has more than one Peach playing with their sexuality. Whether it’s as small as questioning their identity, or as big as being beaten and thrown off the team for it, this League loads the bases when it comes to LGBTQ varied themes. It is here that this newer crop of Peaches hits a home run – with diversity and complex female issues.

Too Good Not To Redo

For fans of the as-close-to-perfect picture from Penny Marshall there is much to revel in. For starters, there is a cameo from original Peach Rosie O'Donnell in the new series.

There are replays of some of the best moments from the film. These include; the infamous bare one-handed catch of a baseball, the shredded legs from sliding into home, the uber cheery group singing of the team song and of course the most infamous “There’s no crying in baseball,” line.

Overall, the television project had big baseball-sized shoes to fill. And, as with most baseball games, there are some hits and there are some strikes. But, like most fans of the sport, it sure is hella fun to watch it unfold before your eyes. There are times when it feels that the show is taking on too much. Too many storylines, too many issues and too many statements are being made. But consider this: That is exactly what women do all the time. We balance too much, we swing too much and yes, we even strike out far too much.