Scene Stealer: A Fast Ball in A League of Their Own

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For a very long time, sports films have been dominated by men. Most films featuring football, boxing, motor racing and even martial arts have a male protagonist whereas women remain on the sidelines. However, A League of Their Own broke all the rules. Not only is it a sports film, but it focuses on female characters and is directed by a female filmmaker (the late Penny Marshall).

Starring Geena Davis, Lori Petty and Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own revolves around the creation of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. An initial ‘cash cow’ during World War II, the league inspires a group of women such as Dottie (Davis), Kit (Petty), dancer Mae (Madonna) and former bouncer Doris (Rosie O’Donnell) to defy chauvinist cynics and become real ‘ballplayers’.

Even though audiences may know the film from Hanks’ outburst about crying, the scene that sets the tone is when Dottie, Kit and fellow player Marla (Megan Cavanagh) first arrive in Chicago. As soon as they set foot on Harvey Field, all they (and the audience) see are girls pitching – and practically no men in sight.

After the swift departure of their scout Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz), the three soon meet Mae and Doris. Despite their own nerves, the two city girls try to unsettle the out-of-towners with the fact that they may not make the league. Satisfied they have discouraged them, Doris tries to assert their dominance with a fast ball. However, the quiet and self-assured Dottie shuts them up when she catches it without a mitt or a blink of an eye.

The lesson? Don’t judge a book by its cover – or more specifically, a milkmaid from out of town.

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