“A League of Their Own” Episode 108 Recap: The Ninth Inning

Yeah yeah, Peaches forever, rah rah rah, but..

.. we need to talk about how good Jo looks in that blue uniform.

Heart’s “Barracuda” is the perfect backdrop for the final game’s main montage, the thud-du-du-du-dunnnns punctuate every crack at bat. Jo DeLuca’s entire energy, her confidence, is so seductive. It’s like she’s sucked up all the air in the room even though they are outside. The Peaches end up down two at the top of the ninth, and Carson tells them to rob the fucking bank.

Shaw makes it home. Lupe hits a single and then, in Spanish, tells Esti “smack the hell out of it!” (she does).

Jess is at bat and turns to army salute the audience to a chorus of cheers. Now Esti and Lupe do a double steal (when a Sox player complains they are speaking in code, Lupe says “it’s Spanish you moron” — which, given all the racism that she and Esti have gone through on that field, was just a perfect moment) and then Lupe blows Jo a kiss as slides into her base.

It’s Shirley’s at bat and the crowd is so loud you can barely hear Joan Jett. Her hit brings Lupe home and ties the game.

It’s the bottom of the ninth and next at bat is Jo DeLuca the Bazooka, who’s had a hot bat all day.

Lupe’s first ball is a foul, but here comes the the second ball and Jo knocks that monster clear out of the park.

💔

The Sox are supposed to win, but as Jo rounds first base, she trips directly onto her bad knee. The crack of the bone is loud enough to echo. It’s the one from the police raid at the bar. The one from when she was brutalized, left limping and bruised, when Sarge had to pay to keep her name out of the paper. That knee. Because of that night, that cruelty, designed to make her feel so small when she’s meant to be be so big, it’s all slipping away in front of her.

Of course Greta’s the first one to her side, calling for help, asking Joey if she is ok. Carson comes next. The umpire says that even though the Sox clearly won, they can’t actually win unless Jo can tap all of the bases without the help of her teammates.Greta looks past Jo, just for a second, to Carson.

Jo has more than one set of teammates on that field.

First Greta and Carson help Jo up, then Jess sees what’s happening and calls everyone else to join. The Peaches walk Jo to second, then to third, then home. When the Sox win the World Series, they put Jo on her shoulders. The Peaches hold each other.

“Hope is a song in a weary throat. / Give me a song of hope / And a world where I can sing it. / Give me a song of faith / And a people to believe in it.” — Pauli Murray, Dark Testament, Verse 8  

During the Peaches game, Bert, perched against a motorcycle (love him) goes to see Miss Toni at her house. At first Miss Toni tries to cox Bert inside (her horror at “what other people might think” if they saw Bertie is unspoken, but palpable) — but he says this won’t take long, he’s fine right where he is.

I didn’t expect Bertie and Miss Toni to meet this season, but in retrospect, I should have. Isn’t that what Max’s father said all the way back in episode four? “It always comes back to Bertie.” Long before we met him, Bertie has been underneath all of Miss Toni’s fears. It’s far away from baseball — but narratively, A League of Their Own needed to come back to this full circle.

Miss Toni says that how Bert dresses and carries himself is his own business, it doesn’t bother her (I don’t buy it), but that she never forgave for Bertie leaving without saying goodbye (that, I do). There were years when she didn’t know if her own sibling was alive or dead. Bertie says that he had to leave, because Toni — Toni knew what he was going through. Toni saw the hell he was living under with their parents, and instead of encouraging Bertie to be who he was always meant to be, Toni told him to hold on a little longer, to make himself just a little smaller (sound familiar?). And for Bertie, that was what was most insidious. Because he knew, he could’ve done it. So he had to leave, to save himself.

But he came back today, and he came back for Max. Max is much more like her mother than she is Bert — and if Miss Toni keeps holding on so tight, she’ll never come home. Miss Toni just wants Max to be safe. Bert leans in to his sister, looks her in her eyes, and sums it so plainly, so eloquently, “for some of us, safe isn’t safe.”

That’s it.

It’s Clance who Max thanks for getting her here. Friendship is the greatest love story.

I thought, after the siblings talked, that Miss Toni would show up at the Red Wright’s All-Stars bus to wish Max goodbye. And I suppose part of me still wishes that she had, that Max knew that her mother was supporting her in whatever came next, because I am such a mama’s girl at heart. But also — I respect the restraint here in storytelling, because if Miss Toni had shown up, it probably would have been too soon, too neat. And Max doesn’t need that drama on her big day. I do think that later in the episode (when we find out Clance is actually pregnant after all!! And that Miss Toni will help take care of her, so that Max doesn’t have to return from the road) we realize that Bertie’s words planted seeds in Miss Toni, now we have to wait and see if they sow.

Instead, at the bus, Max says goodbye to Clance (and hilariously, also Cheryl, who has promised Clance she will be quiet at all costs). Clance pre-made addressed envelopes with stamps and she expects that they will be used!! She expects details!! And she expects, no matter what, no matter where this journey takes Max next, that they will always be best friends. She knows that Max has a new team and all, but —

No, Max interrupts her. Max may have a new way to play baseball, but Clance is her team.

They play a game of “I love you more” and Esther tells Max to dry her tears before she takes her ass on that bus (and again I must say it, soft butch/mean femme is my favorite dynamic, give me more). As soon as they get to Minnesota, Max calls Clance right away. She only has a nickel in her pocket right now so it has to be brief. Plus Esther is waiting.. in the single bed in their motel room… but there will be so many more calls. Clance and Max will be ok.

Where I come from, this is called “game recognize game.”

That night, the Peaches celebrate their moral victory (though Jess would like to remind you that they still, technically, lost). They’re doing shots and Sarge comes in, promptly takes off her chaperone cap because the season is over (!!!) and tells Jess to pour her one (!!!). Then she pulls Jess aside, in what is easily one of my favorite moments of the series:

In the hallway next to the kitchen, Sarge hands Jess an envelope. The rules said that Sarge had to collect fines for Jess wearing pants, but they never said what she had to do with them. Jess opens the envelope to see all the money she’s given Sarge over the season. Jess knocks her head back a bit, touched — a thank you without a thank you, “no one has ever done something like that for me before.”

Sarge, nods, her voice going just this side of soft: “Well.. we have to take care of our own, don’t we?”

They hold eyes together, just for a second longer, Jess absorbing it all in. Because, isn’t that what Sarge has been doing all along, taking care of her Peaches? Did she not look the other way when Lupe snuck out? Postpone the owners on breaking the team up long enough for the Peaches to start a win streak? Did she not pay from her own money to keep Jo’s name out of the papers? There are so many ways we look out for our own. So many people lighting our path when we don’t even see it in front of us.

When everyone’s left the kitchen, Carson and Greta find each other. They’ve made it, their last night.

Carson wonders if they’ll ever see each other again. Greta’s sure of it, in 15 years when Carson is balding with five kids and Gretchen is the mayor of New York City. They’ll do the rom-com “what could’ve been” waive as the wind cascades in their hair and it will be sad, but a sweet sad, you know?

And maybe, in a different multiverse, that could be enough. But also… what if in this version of themselves, Greta’s finally ready to ask for more? What if she asked Carson to come with her? They both look at each other, afraid to breathe. Greta’s train leaves tomorrow and —

Maybelle interrupts them, drunk and giggling. They spring apart, trying to act like what’s happening, isn’t.

We love you, Max Chapman.

The next morning, Max Chapman is suited up in her Red Wright’s All-Stars uniform. She leaves the motel with Esther, running after Red Wright — who will leave her if she don’t get on this bus immediately — and towards her future.

The next morning, Carson runs through the house looking for Greta, who’s already left for the train. The brothers watch from the stairs, telling her to “get a thing” and she’s gonna do just that. She stops Greta from getting into the cab, just in time. Greta looks sensational in a red dress that’s painted on her, her equally red pin curls perfect. Carson grabs her, takes her to the side of the house, and even though it is daylight, she cannot stop. She has to kiss her, one last time. Greta once told her that they get to decide what is real, no one else. She has to know this was real.

She’s not going with Greta to New York. But she’s not going home to Charlie either (who saw them kiss). And whatever comes next, well…

That will be on her terms.

An Epilogue

One of the things that I love most about television is screaming at the TV. I love watching TV from behind my fingers, or flailing against the couch when my emotions get too big. I’ve been known to pace around the floor of my living room just to get the nerves out. But what I love more than any of those things is talking about what I’m watching with other people who are also excited and willing to go long on every detail. Which is to say that the past week living A League of Their Own with you has been absolutely unreal — a dream that I have yet to adequately put into words.

Exactly ten days ago, I started counting down Autostraddle’s A League of Their Own coverage on my Instagram.

(From my instagram, 8/9/22)

We began planning our coverage a few weeks earlier than that, so in some way or form I’ve been living with Max, Clance, Bert, and the Peaches in my brain for a solid chunk of summer — which I guess is a great time to obsessively cover baseball, even though I’ve never played. We’re not done with our coverage forever, because if I’m certain about one thing it’s that if the broader gay community has kept A League of Their Own alive for the last 30 years, a little off-season won’t hurt us. But since this is my last time on this platform for a minute, I hope you’ll let say just this one last thing:

I originally planned on ending this recap with a round-up of all of our A League of Their Own coverage from the last two weeks, but when I went to list them I realized that there were 16 pieces in all, in just the last 11 days alone — interviews, quizzes, deep dives, reviews, jokes recaps, and even a photo gallery of the Autostraddle team playing ball as kids. It is the kind of coverage you expect to see for major tentpoles (TV shows, movies) from large, corporate-backed, magazines. Autostraddle doesn’t often get to swim in those waters, for a few reasons.

We have a small team that works our ass off and we’re funded by readers (we keep the lights on for this website with as little as $4 a month, please come join us!), and not venture capitalists. And because we’re indie, it can be an uphill battle to get the respect that provides press access and advance screeners — the kinds of things that allow for us to plan for special packages like the one I hope you’ve enjoyed these last two weeks. I wish we could do it more often! We want to do it more often! I hope the next major gay show looks at what A League of Their Own’s team got right and says: OK, how do we better reach queer audiences? How can we provide the equitable resources to small queer spaces that we’re already giving out freely to large straight ones? Because directly reaching the people who are pouring their hearts into your story, it matters.

(Also from my instagram, same date, 8/9/22)

But, even if we don’t have access screeners, even when we aren’t in the virtual press rooms to interview talent, we are still here every day covering queer television and film — because we know that queer stories can take the muck of what’s inside of you and hold it to the light. It can help you feel less alone in the world. These last few weeks you have helped me feel less alone in the world.

So more than anything, I want to thank you. The last week of my life has been something like I’ve never felt before. Thank you for letting us have a catch with you. ⚾️❤️


Every episode of A League of Their Own is streaming on Prime Video. If you’ve enjoyed our coverage, please consider joining our A+ membership program because that’s how we can stay here and queer, for the next person who needs us. We’ll see you around the ballpark.

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Carmen Phillips

Carmen is Autostraddle's Editor-in-Chief and a Black Puerto Rican femme/inist writer. She claims many past homes, but left the largest parts of her heart in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, NY. There were several years in her early 20s when she earnestly slept with a copy of James Baldwin’s “Fire Next Time” under her pillow. You can find her on twitter, @carmencitaloves.

Carmen has written 709 articles for us.

57 Comments

  1. I cried watching the finale and I cried reading this recap! And now the thirty six hours of the week (cumulative not consecutive) that i wasn’t humming the league song will stand alone because we’re the members of…the all american league

    Sarge and Jess! We have to take care of our own!!

    Lupe and Esti’s double steal! Carson’s speech that rattled my bones! De Luca the Bazooka buoyed on all sides as she becomes the hero of the series just as she deserved!

    Max! In that uniform! And I loved the pride strut through the factory like oh yes it’s me, Max Chapman of the Defender, how do you do. And her telling Clance “you’re my team”?? I cried real tears!

    I once again must shout out to Maybelle Fox who’s just there to play ball, get a break from her kids, and eat her metaphorical popcorn in the house that sappho built

    • So much all this. That moment between Sarge and Jess brought actual tears to my eyes.

      And I’m also supremely glad Max got her HEA. Maybe it’s not going to last *forever*, but for her, the quote of the episode applies so much so: “Only let me be something, every blessed minute.”

  2. I’m that fan with the “I want to be a peach” sign. I’m watching it for the third time now. I really tried to savor it the second time but I couldn’t help but binge through it again. The third time’s the charm

  3. I was staying strong and then when they picked Jo up to round the bases I absolutely burst into tears! Everything about this show has been more than i thought to ever get and these recaps have been magnificent reflections of that feeling

  4. Hey Autostraddle, wanna have a catch? 💗⚾️

    Thank you for these recaps and for all the amazing coverage of this show, I enjoyed every single bit of it and am so proud to be an A+ supporter!

  5. Surely it will have no bad consequences whatsoever that Carson gave Charlie all her money and he now saw Greta and her kissing. All will be well because women and their finances are definitely protected by law, especially in 1943. ALL WILL BE WELL I SAY!

    • What if Carson has to work on a farm during the off-season? As much as I too, hope against hope that Charlie would accept his honorable discharge from her life and return her money to her, I would kind of love that. She could no longer say “I’m not from a farm!” And maybe she’d meet a Dottie-type under a cow?

  6. “That thrill, that high, of watching something you truly love, for the first time?” Yeppp, this was me trying to explain to friends why I binged the first seven episodes and then held off on the finale for a few days because I didn’t want that first watch to be over. It really is special.

  7. Thank you to Carmen and Heather for these consistently great recaps, and thank you as well for spacing them out. I’m so accustomed to seeing other sites race to post their content and capitalize on clicks…it’s understandable, but having one recap posted each day gave me something to look forward to and I was able to really savour the experience. As soon as I rewatch the show as a whole, I’ll be coming back to these posts and I already know I’ll love them just as much the second time around!

  8. I have loved these recaps. Thank you so much.
    “where memories substitute for happiness” is a stunningly painful sentiment.
    I have also really enjoyed how much the cast and crew have been engaging with the fans on social media – from sharing photos, to giving us the text of Greta’s letter. I love that they understand how much this show means to us.

  9. I cried so many times during this, the final episode, that I have a bit of a headache now. Totally worth it! <3

    I have been absolutely over-the-moon about these recaps. I have. Had. So. Much. Fun! reading every single one, and re-reading them, and coming back every time I see new comments! Thank you Carmen and Heather for all the work you did, the ALOTO coverage on Autostraddle has absolutely been the highlight of my summer. So incredibly proud to be an A+ member!

  10. Wow, what a ride! When I first started the series, I was generally giddy on the possibilities of it all—queer kisses in episode 1! Baseball Bombshell Janet! Max and Clance forever!—and as I continued through the season, some of the weight, and the brilliance, of all of the interwoven storylines really set in. But it was reading Carmen and Heather’s recaps, and the interviews, and all of the AS coverage that truly helped me understand, and contextualize, and fully enjoy the intricacies of the show. I will be, as always, doing the Internet equivalent of standing outside the stadium to ask for everyone’s autograph <3

    Regarding Shirley—as an anxious queer woman with a conspicuously Jewish name (it was OttaGoil, but they changed it to OtterGirl at Ellis Island ;) ), it was a little hard to stomach her being the homophobic one, especially since I was watching it with my hair in the exact same braids. But I did appreciate that it was framed as fear of the unknown, rather than just general, unmovable, prejudice. Ultimately, ALOTO is show about women, given space and freedom for the first time, trying to figure out who they are and what they want from their future. Shirley’s journey is sometimes funny and sometimes cringey, an all-too-familiar representation of an anxious person trying to control her increasingly unpredictable world. I’m hoping that there will be another season (!!!) for her to figure out how to actively plan her future rather than worry about the myriad things (real and imagined) that might get in her way.

    • I also wasn’t very offended by Shirley’s homophobia. It’s played as part of her overall very sheltered background and general fear of sex both Hetero and homo- while being very horny. Also kind of part of her fear of contamination in general. Although there is very real homophobia in the series, I think the actual reality was much worse

      • Oh for sure, I don’t disagree– overall, it does make sense for both her character and the historical context. I think it was just a bit uncomfortable to see someone with whom I have a lot of other things in common react very differently than I would, especially with limited representation. But that discomfort is a useful part of the viewing experience, especially for a period piece.

  11. this show really knocked it out of the fucking park. thank you Carmen & Heather for the recaps to make it more of a communal experieenenenenenenece & your devastating captionssssss.

    part of it is that the team included a lot of of INCREDIBLE Black writers and directors, many of them queer – here are some of them i’ve been able to find besides the actors –

    Writers – Desta Reff (also EP on this, and a director herself), Mfoniso Udofia, Chik Agwuna, Gbemisola Ikumelo, and another person whose name i can’t find anywhere but i saw them in a picture on Gbemisola Ikumelo’s instagram
    Directors – Ayoka Chenzira, Katrelle Kindred, Anya Adams

    PS i just learned today Jamie Babbit co-Exec Produced with Desta Reff, and also directed the early episodes?!

  12. PPS PLEASE JOIN A++++++++++++++++

    yknow how you love Uncle Bertie & Aunt Gracie’s parties? And Vi’s bar? AUTOSTRADDLE IS THAT FOR THE INTERNET. You saw the person who walked into Uncle Bertie & Aunt Gracie’s drop some cash in the little jar by the table. You saw people drinking beers they paid for at Vi’s. We gotta make sure the people who make space for us can pay their rent. they knew it, we know it.

    JOIN A++++++++++

    https://www.autostraddle.com/join-autostraddle-plus/

  13. I love this show, I love these recaps, I love Autostraddle, I love lesbians, I love the way that these characters already mean so much to us. That’s my brain right now. I just love.

  14. I just wanted to let you know that these amazing recaps are the thing that finally tipped me over to becoming an A+ member. It’s been such a joy to read and watch along with you to this incredible show. Thank you thank you thank you.

  15. thank you Carmen and Heather for these extraordinary recaps (which often were more like essays in themselves) which I looked forward to every day — and to the whole AS team that worked so hard to put together such fantastic content on ALOTO.

    I’ve been telling everyone I know to watch this show but in the meantime the care and excitement here on AS has been my main companionship in falling in love with this show. Thank you all (others commenters included!).

    This finale did not disappoint (although I wish I had exercised more self control and paced my watching) and I will be crushed if we don’t get a S2.

    I hope we can look forward to delving more into Jess, Lupe, Jo, and Shirley if that happens! (Much as I also care about Carson/Greta and Clance and Max too).

  16. I waited a little longer to read this one, just so I could savor it. Thank you Carmen (and Heather!) for the INCREDIBLE care and love you put into these recaps. It has made watching the show (for the second time) so much more delicious and fun and everything good to have your voice in my ear while I did. To laugh and shake my head in agreement, to learn a little more about you through how you viewed the story and the characters. I hope we get to do more of this very soon.

  17. Such a good show and such good recaps. Bonding and coming together as a community who loves and supports each other is what it’s all about.
    PS proud A+ member as of today.

  18. The only thing I could ever possibly love as much as this series has been Autostraddle’s coverage of it.

    The daily recaps are also the sole reason I kept myself from bingeing the whole series in one go!

    My heart is full and I’m probably going to spend the rest of my life trying in vain to rewatch this series as many times as I’ve watched the original movie.

  19. YES. As much as I could not wait to tear through this PEACH of a show, I absolutely couldn’t wait to hear what Autostraddle had to say about it!! Thank you for all this coverage, and narrating our journey through Oz 😚😚😚

  20. Thank you so much for these recaps and all the coverage. This show gave me so much joy and having the supplemental content here made it that much more enjoyable and ease a bit of the empty feeling that comes with finishing a show that you love with all your heart.

  21. What a great show, it feels so good to have this high storytelling quality and a lot of historical details and powerful messages. I loved the characters.

    Thank you so much for the great recaps Carmen and Heather, I read them all between each episodes and it brought a lot to the pleasure of watching the show!

  22. I have been savoring these recaps and the show as I approach my third rewatch, so that the feeling of the first view is there for as long as it can be, because it’s so good! I have never watched Broad City, but have listened to and enjoyed Abbi Jacobson guest starring in podcasts. So seeing her and Roberta in the trailer, and the heavy promotion from Autostraddle was all I know going in. And goodness, has it been a pleasant surprise and experience. I, too, did not expect an ensemble of queer representation and storytelling at this level! The theme of queer joy, finding queer elders and communities within the reality that we live in. The queer codes. Max finding Bertie. Max and Carson’s parallel. Max and Clance’s relationship. Jo and Greta. Lupe and Jess. Bev and her girls. Clance and Guy! My heart feels so full with these characters and their relationships. And after the articles and interviews, I love it even more. The creators and writers knew what stories they wanted to tell, even the flawful ones. So to know their intentions and see it come across on the show, that in itself feels like a new experience. As mentioned, so much love and care was poured into Max, and you can see it! I appreciate Abbi’s love for Carson. This show felt like a deep breath of fresh air after all of the cancellations and shortcoming comeback/finales. It feels like an answers to the asks of:
    -Can we tell complex queer stories?
    -Can we see queer joy and love with the harsh reality just as a backdrop?
    -Can queer characters exist (with joy) within their own family and community?

    As always, thank you for the wonderful recaps by Carmen and Heather. Not only have you continued to put into words a lot of what I and others think and feel about this show, I also learned a lot through these recaps. 

  23. BLESSINGS BE ON belevaird_st on Archive of Our Own for handling WHAT HAPPENED when Max went in that room with her brand new unifooooorrrrrrm!

    Srsly tho, fanfic writers I love youuuuuuuuuuuuuu, this is your moment, go forth & ROB THE BANK!!

  24. Just watched the finale last night and it was so fucking good. And being able to come here and read the recaps and talk about the show with the AS community is just amazing.

    Thank you Carmen and Heather, and take note publicity people – this is the power of queer indie media, you should use it.

  25. This show is so special. This coverage is just as special. I have not enjoyed something as much as I enjoyed this in a really long time. This show is like the best show I’ve seen all year, maybe even more than that. Thank you Carmen and Heather and autostraddle for putting this coverage together and for the joy watching this show has been with you. Yall are truly one of my favorite places on the internet, and I watched this show because I heard about it from you. Love you all to pieces <3 and SO READY FOR SEASON 2!!!!

  26. I’m about a month late to this party (having just finally watched the show this week) but I had to come here and leave a comment anyway.

    I loved this show more than I’ve truly loved a piece of media in a long time. I love that there are queer creators out there now making television FOR US. Because there is no doubt that this show is for us. We don’t have to settle for scraps any more, for the stereotypes and the queer-baiting and the sweeps-week kisses and the tragedy. We can have a whole cast full of real, nuanced, flawed, lovable, joyful queer characters. This show is so special, I could literally go on and on but I won’t. I’ll just go watch it again, and catch up on all the coverage here because I know you all will give it the love and care it deserves. ❤️❤️❤️

  27. I too just watched last week and have been reading the recaps one at a time to extend the amount of time I have ALOTO-related content, because I don’t want to let go of this feeling. Thank you Carmen and Heather for the recaps. I’m often unpleasantly surprised when I read recaps of shows on other platforms, because they often will literally recap the episode and that’s it, or provide some surface-level commentary or opinions—AS recaps are really so so special, the care and the thoughtfulness and the rooting in queer experience, the critical thinking even on shows that the writer loves, and the voice and personality so that I feel like I’m talking to a good friend—someone else said they provided “companionship” while they watched, and that expresses it perfectly!

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