What links A League of Their Own to Chadwick Boseman and Madonna? | Culture


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Penny Marshall’s A League of Their Own is revived… Photography: Rex/Shutterstock

Penny MarshallThe 1992 comedy-drama A League of Their Own was so well-received that it immediately spawned a CBS TV spinoff. The story of a World War II women’s baseball team seemed compelling, but the spectacle quickly faded. Now, stepping up a gear is a revival on Prime TV. The new series (starting August 12) is co-created by and stars Broad City’s Abbi Jacobson.

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The players

Robert Redford
…Robert Redford was a baseball player in The Natural… Photography: Aliyah

“America’s Pastime” has a rich on-screen history. Jimmy Stewart was a baseball player in The Stratton Story in 1949; Robert Redford played The Natural in 1984. Chadwick Boseman’s breakout role was as Jackie Robinson in 42 (2013). When Fever Pitch was getting an American remake, the football fandom had switched to baseball with Jimmy Fallon as Nick Hornby. At the niche end of the scale is the little-seen Game 6, scripted by Don DeLillo. have a train line running through their ballpark.

corn ball

Kevin Costner
…Kevin Costner loves a baseball movie… Photograph: Getty Images

In an irresistibly corny moment last year, Kevin Costner echoed a famous scene from Field of Dreams when he led the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox through a cornfield and to a recreation of the film’s farm diamond before a game of Major League Baseball. “Is this heaven? he asked the crowd. Kev loves baseball movies (and sports movies in general), having starred in Bull Durham and For the Love of the Game.

Desperately looking for Kevin

Madonna 1990
…and was featured in Madonna’s 1991 documentary… Photography: Aliyah

A less heralded moment in Costner’s oeuvre is his appearance in 1991 Madonna Truth or Dare documentary. The singer hangs out after a show in Los Angeles with boyfriend Warren Beatty (!) when celebrities pass by, including Costner in an eye-catching blazer and mullet. He describes the show as “neat”, Madonna instantly pisses him off. A flawless connection.

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Rosie O'Donnell and Madonna
… Rosie O’Donnell (left) starred alongside Madonna in A League of Their Own and is set to return in the new series… Photo: Allstar

The documentary came at the height of Madonna’s imperial phase, which included a role in A League of Their Own (one of her best acting efforts), alongside Tom Hanks and Geena Davis. Rosie O’Donnell, which featured in the original, is set to return in the new series. And that’s the ball game.

silver ball blanket

Pairing notes

Read/Watch Michael Lewis’s 2003 book Moneyball about how data analytics revolutionized baseball is partly responsible for your brother-in-law talking about expected goals when you watch football, but whatever in itself, the excellent adaptation of Brad Pitt in 2011 is at the base.

To eat Snacking is arguably America’s true pastime, and Thrillist has ranked every Major League Baseball stadium for its food offerings: the Seattle Mariners take home the pennant with everything from lobster rolls to wontons to ice cream sandwiches. Take me to the ball game (for a big dinner).


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