Last month, Amazon Prime debuted Abbi Jacobson’s explicitly queer take on the classic sports film, A League of Their Own. As a casual baseball fan and lover of queer media, this eight-episode dramedy stole my heart. Never again will I root as hard for a sports team as I did for the Rockford Peaches.
As a teenager and a young adult, I went to Yankees games with my dad every year. But as a queer person, I always felt unseen. I never saw any out queer people in the stands. Until 2019, the New York Yankees were the only MLB team not to host a Pride Night. And recently, I found out that some of my favorite Yankees players have supported President Trump.
The way baseball treats women isn’t much better. Women can’t play baseball – instead, they play softball, and I can’t tell you the last time I heard a walk-up song by a female artist. While I always loved going to games with my dad, I often wondered to myself what I was doing watching a sport that might never see me.
That was true until I saw A League of Their Own. In the first episode, we meet Carson Shaw, who is played by the show’s bisexual co-creator, Abbi Jacobson. Shaw is the baby gay we’ve all been once before: shy, awkward, and totally smitten over her teammate Greta Gill (D’Arcy Carden) who has more experience with the ladies than Shaw.
Another main character in the show is Max Chapman (Chanté Adams), a Black woman who loves baseball almost as much as she loves women, but struggles to play on a team because of her race and gender.
It wasn’t until binging A League of Their Own that I ever felt like baseball could be for queer women too. Unlike the original film (and real-life baseball story), A League of Their Own features a team of LGBTQ+ characters, some who are played by queer actors themselves.
As a queer baseball fan, this representation meant so much to me. It was gratifying to see these women struggle to come out and find their place in the world while also loving baseball. And by rooting for their team to win, I felt like I was rooting for the rights and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community at large.
By the end of the series, it becomes clear to Shaw that it’s not just her, Gill, and Chapman who are queer, but most of the team. In one of my favorite scenes of the show, Shaw goes to a gay bar where she meets a bartender named Vi (Rosie O’Donnell) and realizes that many of her other teammates on the Peaches are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Watching this show, I felt seen. But it also made me long for a space for queer baseball fans. Here’s to hoping that one day I’ll go to a Yankees game with my dad and find myself surrounded by a group (or watching a group) as wonderful and gay as the Rockford Peaches.
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