Betrayal, Thy Name Is Dottie
Opening Day for baseball…and the truth
During the battle for America’s independence, when George Washington’s army ate horse meat and Betsy Ross sewed up the continental army’s guns (or something,) general Benedict Arnold held clandestine meetings with British leader Sir Henry Clinton (EMAILS! sorry, force of habit) which resulted in the surrender of Arnold’s forces at West Point.
Yet Benedict Arnold is not our nation’s greatest traitor.
In 1919 members of the Chicago White Sox threw world series games against the Cincinnati Reds. Hollywood would have you believe that “Shoeless” Joe Jackson was not involved, but he definitely was. Joe needed the money. For shoes. Marge Schott owned the Reds at that time (if I remember correctly) and demonstrated no regret that her franchise won the title under such dubious circumstances. The story gained an unfortunate moniker — referred to as the “Black Sox Scandal”. Marge did have a problem with that, because, well, Marge liked things a bit more…well, you know how that guy you work with wears polo’s tucked into cargo shorts, what ethnicity is that guy? Yeah, Marge liked that.
Yet neither Marge Schott nor the Black Sox are baseball’s most heinous villains.
Have you ever had one of those moments in which something pristine and lovely has been exposed as grotesque? Maybe you saw Santa taking a leak or you smelled the inside of a mascot’s headgear. This happened to me mere days ago. Some dumb movie channel on the dumb television was playing baseball movies because America remains overindulgent toward its most boring sport (go ahead, @ me.) Fever Pitch was scheduled because we elected Trump and we deserve it. For Love of the Game was due up because Kevin Costner is national damn treasure. Bull Duhram would close out the night because it’s the dirty baseball movie (none of these compare to Little Big League but whatevs.) My wife and I found ourselves crushing some Arby’s while watching A League of their Own. ALOTO is based on the All American Girls Professional Baseball League which actually existed during the second world war. The story is noble, its subject material is noble. Convincing audiences that Tom Hanks once hit 58 home runs before the days of CGI is damn-near majestic. However there is evil buried in the plot. It’s an evil so insidious and subtle you may find yourself singing “We’re the members of / the all-American league / we come from cities / near and far / we’ve got Canadians (hey!) / Irish ones and Swedes / we’re all for one / we’re one for all / we’re all-Amerrrrrrican” before you realize there was one character who was most certainly not one for all. Her name was Dottie.
Dottie is a terrorist’s name.
Dottie is played by Geena Davis with a steely sort of sensitivity that really carries the picture. But who gives a crap? The repulsive act of betrayal happens in the film’s climatic scene. Dottie, playing catcher for the Rockford Peaches, receives a throw from an infielder far before the arrival of a runner. If said runner scores the Peaches would lose the…championship? semifinal? “big game”? I don’t know. They’d lose. The throw is perfect. Dottie fields it cleanly. Every catcher worth their shinguards makes the play. Baseball Prospectus says Dottie makes that play with 99.4% regularity based on wind speed, baserunner velocity, basepath dirt consistency…
Unfortunately for honest Americans the baserunner in question is none other than Dottie’s erstwhile younger sister, Kit. Kit is a mediocre talent with an out sized ego. Dottie has already served up the game’s defining moment to Kit by suggesting to the Peaches’ pitcher a foolish strategy of throwing high fastballs. Dottie “assures” the pitcher Kit can’t touch the high heat but HUGE SHOCK Kit pounds one. By the time Dottie receives the throw Kit has already run through a stop sign by the third base coach. Kit is the Swaggy P of A League of their Own.
Dottie has roughly thirty pounds and six inches on Kit. Even though Kit is making the fire-diarrhea face before the collision there is no way Dottie should drop that ball. I called to ask a friend who caught in college if Dottie handled the play correctly and now that person isn’t my friend any more.
Dottie meant to drop that ball. Dottie betrayed her team. Dottie betrayed Tom Hanks. Dottie betrayed feminism.