DISCLAIMER: This recap of the A League of Their Own episode “Find the Gap” has spoilers. Remember, there’s no crying in baseball. Proceed at your peril.
Welcome back, Rockford Peaches! Episode two of A League of Their Own, “Find the Gap,” brings a new coach into the fold along with a determined Max trying to get a job at the screw factory to play on their baseball team. This outing packs more punch, showcasing rampant, pervasive racism, homophobia and misogyny. It’s not all peachy keen for the Rockford Peaches. The flagrant double standards between men and women playing the same sport could not be more evident.
Despite the repugnant and loathsome treatment of these characters, particularly Max and Clance, an underlying, unflinching sense of hope infiltrates every scene. Nevertheless, she persisted, and she played baseball while doing it.
Ready to delve into “Find the Gap”? Let’s get to it.
Let Me Show Them How It’s Done
We open with Max (Chanté Adams) throwing one hell of a pitch while practicing. The scene intercuts with Max taking notes while the Rockford Screws practice outside the screw factory. We see Gary (Kendall Johnson) among the players. Max approaches the coach and asks if she can try out for the team. Unfortunately, the coach can’t see past her gender and denies her request. That, and players must work at the screw factory.
Meanwhile, Carson (Abbi Jacobson), Greta (D’Arcy Carden), Jo (Melanie Field) and the other Peaches meet their coach, Dove Porter (Nick Offerman). He seems enthused about coaching them to victory. Carson reveals she’s a huge fan of Porter, as he used to play in the majors.
Our gals don their official uniforms, and practice commences. Porter shows Lupe (Roberta Colindrez) a fancy new way of pitching, which makes her formidable and unstoppable.
Max tries to apply for a job at the screw factory, but she comes face-to-face with more racist crap from the two white women from whom she attempts to secure an application.
Coach Porter and the Peaches
Then, we see the Peaches finish practice for the day. Porter provides some vague motivational pointers, clearly underestimating their ability and intelligence as baseball players. Their first game is the following evening. Meanwhile, the tension between Carson and Greta builds after their makeout sesh at the bar.
Greta speaks with Carson’s sister on the phone. Carson snatches the receiver away from Greta and listens while her sister provides zero support for her baseball endeavors. Greta gives Carson a copy of Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, believing the latter needs to read it.
Later, we see Carson rooming with the uber-paranoid Shirley (Kate Berlant), who thinks everything is out to get her. Hey, I feel that.
The following day, Sergeant Beverly (Dale Dickey) introduces the Peaches to Vivienne Hughes (Nancy Lenehan), a millionaire who owns a cosmetics company. Vivienne wants to give every player a makeover worthy of an audience. Carson asserts to Greta and Jo that they should be practicing for their first game that night, but everyone seems content with applying lipstick.
Crab Dinner Prep
Meanwhile, Max helps Clance (Gbemisola Ikumelo) prepare for a swanky crab dinner the latter’s hosting that night. Clance is living in Freak Out Land, wanting the event to be perfect for everyone who attends. Of course, everything that can go wrong, well, goes wrong. Max spots Gary recruiting for the screw factory and asks him if he can help her get a job to try out for the baseball team. Gary informs her that the factory isn’t hiring Black women, even though they won’t say it blatantly. Sexism and racism.
Next, the Peaches’ makeovers are underway. However, Jess (Kelly McCormack) refuses to put on makeup, much to Vivienne’s irritation. Everyone practices walking, even though they should be practicing batting, throwing, catching, etc. Priorities!
Then, Clance and Max crash a funeral to scrounge up the crabs that Clance was meant to take home. I seriously want a spinoff featuring these two. They’re an instant serotonin boost.
Racist Assholes Are Everywhere
Later, the best friends hit up a very white market. While walking inside, Max reminds Clance they’re allowed inside by law. Clance tries to ask one of the employees for crabs, but he ignores her because racist asshole. After the unnecessary team makeovers, Shirley and Carson stop by the same market. Carson notices Max is standing near the counter. Carson tries to clear the air following their awkward first encounter.
Max reassures Carson that she doesn’t care that she witnessed Carson making out with Greta. The racist counter dude asks Carson what she wants, but Max informs him that she was there first, which Carson confirms. Sadly, it takes the confirmation of a white woman for a Black woman to get what she needs at the market. Max emerges from the market with a bushel of crabs, much to Clance’s delight.
Next, it’s game night for the Peaches, while Clance and Guy (Aaron Jennings) host a cozy crab dinner. Again, Clance feels nothing is going right, but Guy is there to make his baby feel better. I love these two together. Where’s my Guy?
Misogynistic Assholes Are Everywhere
Meanwhile, the Peaches are losing to the Blue Sox, and one man in the stands incessantly yells nasty, sexually-explicit comments at Greta during her time at the plate. Even the announcer offers a play-by-play of the proceedings with a heaping helping of sexism. After all, their job is to play baseball while looking good in skirts, right?
Coach Porter gets a “quick word” with the male commenter, and, after the game (which they lost), Vivienne suggests Greta be a “little less” on the field. She’s “too much.” Later, Carson overhears Porter talking to the bigwigs about his objective with coaching the Peaches — he wants to get back on the mat. He doesn’t want his reputation tarnished by coaching women. Ugh. I had a bad feeling about him from the get-go.
Then, Max dances with Gary at the party. She persuades him to help her get that job at the screw factory. He finally relents.
It’s All Real
Carson finds Greta crying in the locker room after the incident. She comforts Greta while also divulging her fears that “none of this is real.” Greta reassures Carson that nobody gets to dictate whether or not what they do is genuine. F*ck the haters.
Next, Max sneaks into her mom’s salon under cover of the night. She lets Leah (Marinda Anderson), a woman from the family’s church, into the salon. They start making out, and it’s hot.
A League of Their Own beautifully depicts queer love as it attempts to thrive under discriminatory, life-threatening circumstances. Queer love, by its nature, is resilient. It’s inherently tenacious. It’s also enormously unfair, as all love should be open, easy and free of trials, just as hetero love. Everyone should be free to love who they love without fear of judgment and punishment.
Some of the events in “Find the Gap” might be a bitter pill for those with privilege to swallow, but it’s a genuine reality for marginalized groups, and we must acknowledge that.
A League of Their Own still maintains its sharp, humorous edge, beautiful performances from the cast, standout work from Ikumelo and Adams and baseball out the wazoo. Here’s hoping we get more of all of the above in the coming episodes.
A League of Their Own Season 1 is now streaming on Prime Video.
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