A League of Their Own question

I just finished re-watching the movie and I can’t help but wondering something. From watching the looks that Dottie gave to her sister Kit during the World Series, did Dottie intentionally drop the ball at the end? From her quiet demeanor and shy glances at her sister, it seems so to me. Does anyone else think it was an intentional act, or was it an honest drop?

I’ve seen this movie many times and I have always thought Dottie dropped the ball because Kit ran her over. It wouldn’t make any sense for her to drop the ball intentionally. Dottie wants to win and she already gave the pitcher a tip on how to pitch to Kit.

I’ve always thought Dottie intentionally dropped it.

However, during a discussion with some friends a few years ago, several of them saw it the other way. That surprised me, as it had never occurred to me that Dottie might not have intentionally dropped it. Sure, Dottie would like to win. However, it seems clear to me that she knew Kit cared much more about winning than she did. A major reason she joined the league in the first place was so that Kit could too. And she had a husband to go home to, whereas she knew Kit wanted to continue playing. So I think Dottie dropped the ball to give the win to Kit, who would value the win more.

Interestingly, it seemed like my friends who were the oldest sibling in their family usually thought Dottie dropped it intentionally (perhaps they identified more with Dottie when watching the movie, and thought that she only lost the game because she chose to). However, my friends who were younger siblings thought Kit won the game genuinely (I think they identified with Kit, being younger siblings themselves, and therefore interpreted the movie as Kit “really” winning).

This was just a discussion in a fairly small group of friends, but it would be interesting if this interpretation works on a larger scale.

We’ve had this discussion here a few times. Waenara’s observation seems to hold true.

I think it makes more sense that Dottie drops the ball intentionally. The whole movie revolves around the intense struggle of Dottie and Kit–with the latter being insanely jealous of the former, and the former completely overshadowing the latter.

By the end of the movie, Dottie has everything she needs. She’s got her man, everyone knows she’s hot shit on a platter, and while she loves baseball, she’s not in love with it. She can afford to give up the victory. But can Kit?

She also loves her sister very much. Her throwing the game would be an act of devotion–a way of removing her shadow from Kit’s life and letting Kit shine for a change.

I don’t think it was something Dottie planned to do. When she gave the instructions to the batter, I think she geniuinely wanted to bring Kit down and win the game. But in that split second on the plate, she changed her mind. She realized her relationship with her sister was much more important than winning, and allowed herself to let go of the ball.

I don’t think we’ll know for sure if Dottie threw the game. But I think she did.

If Dottie had decided to drop the ball intentionally and let her sister win why were she and her sister essentially estranged for so many years? When they meet up in Cooperstown, it’s obvious that they haven’t seen each other in a while.

If it was no big deal for Dottie to lose the game, why wouldn’t she be talking to her sister? Granted their lives had gone different ways, but it seems highly unlikely that they would have had such a relationship.

Actually, no matter who won the final game, I can’t imagine two sisters having a lifelong feud over a baseball game. Especially women from that generation.

Another way to look at it is this way, Dottie is now faced with a collision with her sister for the game-winning run.

Here are the options she has:

  1. Catch the ball, brace for the collision, and hold on. Which is the most likely since Kit ain’t that big. Game goes to extra innings
  2. Catch the ball, then decide to drop it at the VERY LAST MOMENT, because she wants her sister to win.

When I’m faced with a split-second decision with a human being running full speed at me., I can’t say I would view it terms of how it will affect my relationship with one of my siblings. I would just be trying to stay in one piece.

You make a good point, BobT, about the separation aspect. But I think Kit was kind of a petty, irrationally stubborn young woman. I always figured that she began to suspect Dottie threw the game and wound up resenting Dottie’s decision. Imagine an argument with Kit yelling, “you couldn’t even let me win on my own, you had to be the big martyr so you could lord it over me all my career!”

It’s illogical, but that’s sisterhood for you. And I’m a younger sister, so I should know. :wink:

I’ve wondered about this as well.

If we’re talking about the how the film was scripted, I think Penny Marshall would probably have Dottie drop the ball intentionally for the reasons that monstro and Waenara explain.

On the other hand, if we’re talking about what the characters would do if they were real, I come down on the ‘unintentional drop’ side. As catcher, Dottie’s role was always to be a sort of on-the-field commander watching over everyone else, which she was as good at as she was at playing. She also doesn’t seem to have ever been a self-centered showboater. Combine these two qualities and you have, in my opinion, someone who would always be thinking about her team. She’s watched all of them come together and develop over the season and has come to love them all, so I have a hard time imagining her intentionally throwing away their chance at the big win for what is (from her teammates’ perspective) essentially a self-centered reason.

edit: and if it makes any difference I’m an only child, so the sibling dynamics are alien to me.

IMO, Dottie dropped the ball intentionally. She cared about her sister more than she cared about the game.

(However, I’ve never seen the movie all the way through, just bits and pieces)

Another vote for intentional drop. Dottie knew she was quitting and going home to her husband; baseball way way more important to Kit.

I think the climax of this movie would be rendered meaningless if she dropped the ball intentionally. IMHO that is the whole crux of the film’s message. Kit winning because Dottie dropped the ball intentionally would have been a meaningless victory to her. They both wanted to win equally badly and they both gave it their best and Kit for once in her whole gosh darned life actually beat Dottie fair and square. That’s what gives meaning to Kit’s life–not the fact that her sister felt bad for her, YET AGAIN, and let her win. If that had been the case the characters would have been static, which is not the message I believe the artist was trying to get across. My personal perception of the film was that Kit was a damned good ball player in her own right, due to her tremendously hard work–and she was finally able to prove it. Dottie, then, gained a newfound respect and admiration for her sister that she hadn’t before, because she realized Kit was more powerful than she had assumed all along.

No way, it was unintentional. This was not the type of movie to leave something like that for the audience to figure out. If it was an intentional drop, there would have been a telling shot of Dottie’s face.

I never saw the movie, but when I saw the thread title, I immediately heard that thundering Don La Fontaine movie trailer voice, saying, "**Don’t miss…

The League…


Their Own Question**!"

Kit wanted it more.

In the sports cliche - Kit was giving 110%; Dottie only gave 100. It wasn’t intentional, she wasn’t going to throw the game for anything. But Dottie was only holding on to win the game, she wasn’t holding on for dear life. And that wasn’t enough to hold on when Kit was playing at much higher stakes.

I’m the oldest child.

Another theme of the film is that the AAGPBL players were real baseball players. They were out to win. They wanted to be taken seriously.

They didn’t throw games to give their little sisters self-esteem.

I’ve always assumed it was unintentional, because Dottie throwing the game would have been throwing it for the entire team, friends, people that she’d come to love, and who Kit had come to love, too, while she was still on that team. She never would have betrayed all of them like that, not even for her sister.

That makes sense to me.

I’m with amarinth. I’m a younger sister who had a similar relationship with my big sister growing up.

Dottie knows Kit better than Kit does (don’t go for the high ones!) and she knows that Kit is proud and stubborn. I always thought that, no matter what, Dottie knew that Kit would never accept a win ‘given’ to her by Dottie. If Kit won, it could only be on her own terms.

I always believed it was an honest win. Kit just wanted it more, pushed harder, and proved to be the one who deserved it more.

If you think about it, Dottie wouldn’t have unintentionally dropped the ball going from her record. The movie showed Dottie holding onto the ball from other girls slamming into her and even jumping into the dugout to catch a ball. How could her demoralized sister force her to drop the ball? I think after seeing her sister crying in the dugout and thinking back to all the times where she was the center of attention, she sacrificed her big win and gave it to her sister.

I think its hazy on purpose. There is meaning either way. Either way its a touching story. You can believe that in the end Kit won the game because she wanted it more, or you can believe that in the end Dottie dropped the ball on purpose because she was willing to make that small sacrifice for her sister.

The only problem I have with the second (which is how I see it, Dottie threw the game) is that in chosing to let Kit win, she chose to let her teammates lose - it wasn’t merely a self sacrifice. But that isn’t the important part of the movie.