“There’s no crying in baseball!” but with the weight of the patriarchy and gender norms on your back, maybe there will be.
This summer, Amazon Prime has tackled the fan favorite “A League of Their Own” in their new series. Taking the same name and foundation as Penny Marshall’s 1992 movie, this updated version is far from a remake. Still, it sits as a reimagining and reinvention of the original material, people involved and history. Starring many gems including Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and Tom Hanks, the original 90s movie tackles themes of sexism and beauty standards within the sports world set in America amid the second world war. While this highly enjoyable film has become a classic over the past thirty years, it’s a surface-level approach to a real time in history involving real women.
This 2022 revamp created by Will Graham and Abbi Jacobson (who stars as The Peaches, which is the primary team of the league, key player Carson Shaw) keeps the core characters and their dynamics to one another, but indeed leans into the team and the ensemble that creates it. The humor is delightful and playful, reminiscent of other Amazon shows such as “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Most importantly, the show tackles queer and racial stories within the women’s professional baseball world.
The story parallels The Peaches’ journey through the season alongside the talented pitcher Max (Chanté Adams) who is excluded from the league because she is Black. Exploring her life, family and friendship, Max’s character brings a new perspective to the original White-centric story. Max and the women of The Peaches orbit in or around queer spaces and individuals. The real drama, next to the one coming from the field, is with Carson Shaw and her newfound relationship with teammate Greta, played by D’Arcy Carden. Their bond and those of all the women on the team are what push the show forward, the baseball of it all seems like an afterthought in some ways.
“A League of Their Own” has a lot to say even now, whether it does so explicitly or not. Female sports films seem to be lacking considerably next to male tales — much like in the real world. Thirty years from the first film, women in the sports industry are still severely overlooked, unrecognized and underpaid, and that is not factoring in the other struggles for athletes involving race, or for non-cisgender individuals. It wasn’t until this year that the first woman was drafted to be an on-field player for a professional baseball team according to The Hill. In a field that is dominated by and marketed towards men, it is refreshing and inspiring to see the intersection of such a “masculine” viewed activity with the power of female relationships and dynamics, and how it makes the sport better for it overall.
“A League of Their Own” is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.