Hurst Hot Take: “A League of Their Own” (2022)


Eva Philips, Staff writer

If you ask Americans to name their favorite summer traditions, it is almost guaranteed that one of the activities mentioned will be America’s pastime: baseball. For baseball lovers, there’s nothing like an evening at the ballpark with plenty of snacks and the chance to cheer on their favorite team. Baseball is intrinsically associated with summer, which is why “A League of Their Own,” released this August on Amazon Prime, is the perfect show to watch to capture that end-of-summer nostalgia even if you would not call yourself a baseball fan.

If “A League of Their Own” sounds familiar, it is because the show is adapted from a 1992 movie with the same name. But the new show has a runtime of eight episodes and features a cast of hilarious, compelling new characters that set the Amazon Prime release apart from the 1992 film. Set in the early 1940s in the midst of World War II, “A League of Their Own” follows an all-women’s baseball team, the Rockford Peaches, as its members strive to achieve their personal dreams of baseball fame while handling the stress of losses on the field and conflicts within the team. The war effort has put a damper on men’s baseball, with players drafted or enlisting to join the military and perform their patriotic duty. To lift American spirits, a plan is hatched to recruit women from across the country for a women’s baseball league that will bring crowds to the stands once more.

Among the recruits are Carson Shaw, Greta Gill, Jo Deluca and Lupe Garcia. Comedian Abbi Jacobsen plays Carson Shaw, one of the only married women on the team; her husband is a soldier in Europe, and their marriage is in a complicated spot when Shaw decides to join the Rockford Peaches without his knowledge. Lupe Garcia is a star pitcher struggling to assert her talent in a world that refuses to accept her identity as a Mexican woman, and Greta and Jo are longtime best friends from New York City with secrets of their own. D’Arcy Carden, best known for her role as Janet on “The Good Place,” shines in the role of Greta Gill, who draws the eye of men everywhere she goes.

All the players have unique personalities and talents; thanks to the cast’s excellent acting, none of them get lost in the shuffle. Max Chapman, played by Chanté Adams, is one of the most compelling characters on the show. Rejected from the women’s baseball league because she is Black, Chapman fights to realize her dream of playing in the Negro Leagues despite obstacles of gender and racial discrimination and her commitments to her family. Her story illustrates a reality that “A League of Their Own” skillfully addresses: even as Black soldiers fought for freedom overseas and Black women joined the war effort on the home front, white Americans continued to treat them with injustice and discrimination.

“A League of Their Own” has moments of comedy and drama alike. One of its greatest strengths, though, is its portrayal of nuanced characters from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds and varied sexual and gender identities. It depicts complex, nuanced queer romance, highlighting chemistry and emotional connection while not shying away from the challenges that queer characters face in concealing their sexuality in a repressive era.

Overall, “A League of Their Own” has something for everyone, whether or not you like baseball. It is funny, engaging and heart-warming, and it is guaranteed to make you root for each and every player. With multiple interwoven plot lines, vibrant interpersonal relationships and a stellar cast, A League of Their Own swings for the fences — and scores a home run.