Love Letters to ‘A League of Their Own’ – The Epic Romance of Carson Shaw and Greta Gill

Carson Shaw (Abbi Jacobson), and Greta Gill (D'Arcy Carden). Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

Dear A League of Their Own,

Having watched hours and hours of queer content equating to what is at this point a significant amount of my life, I’ve seen a lot of stories. Some are classic films directed by legends that worked on this show like Jamie Babbit and others that well…had women kissing in them which was enough for me to deem them award-worthy in my adolescence. Though accessible options were scarce in the early 2000s, I still consider myself fortunate enough to have grown up on the queer love stories that I snuck in my room and behind several hidden tabs on the family computer. I’m even more fortunate to be the gay pop culture nerd I am today with friends in real life and on the internet to freely discuss, ship pairings, and swoon over gorgeous women with. Knowing you were going to own the queer parts of the story the original film couldn’t was an obvious draw for me.

Nothing really could have prepared me for how hard I fell for Carson Shaw and Greta Gill.

Previously in Love Letters to ‘A League of Their Own’: Thank you for Max Chapman and Thank You for Uncle Bert, Vi & ‘Stealing Home’.

Thank you for the epic romance of Carson Shaw and Greta Gill

Amazon Prime Video.

Pouring over rewatches, gorgeously written fanfics, hundreds of liked fanvids and TikToks, along with fan accounts capturing their best moments on Twitter because I simply cannot get enough of their chemistry can take up most of my time on any given day. The incredible performances of Abbi Jacobson as Carson embarking on her journey of self-discovery only to realize how incredibly independent, strong, and queer she really is next to D’Arcy Carden’s effortlessly dreamy but guarded Greta Gill have had me in a hold that can only be described as perfectly realized yet bordering on obsessive love. I have plenty of wonderful things to say about the fluffy and sexy goodness they pulled off while just as easily being able to praise the conflicts that arise for them. If I really let myself go on about their relationship, this letter may never actually end. So this is my attempt at brevity on the things I love about my favorite ship, Carson and Greta.

TikToker @thatclarafied was one of the first folks I heard put it this way, but you gave us stories of  “coming in” and that was genuinely something special. It’s one of the many things that made me fall hard for the show and of course Carson and Greta. Both characters are changed by their opportunity to become Peaches and follow their dreams and they are just as powerfully changed by finding each other.

When we meet Carson in the pilot, she quietly believes that she is a person without a destiny. But in that very same episode, she takes a literal leap of faith and jumps on a moving train to follow her dream of playing baseball. That decision leads her to Chicago, to Rockford and the Peaches, to the opportunity to lead and coach her newfound friends and teammates even with its ups and downs and most importantly its lessons. Lots of different things contribute to Carson’s growth through the first season, but the catalyst and driving force behind most of her steps are in fact Greta.

A hotel room haircut leading to a drunk but necessary letter to Charlie? Greta. Who convinces Carson to stay and get on the bus to Rockford the next day? Greta. When it’s time to elect an interim coach, who nominated Carson? Greta. When Carson’s leadership is later questioned, Greta is always the first person to support her. Even if that’s simply because she’s slightly turned on by Carson being an asshole.

Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

Greta is consistently the first to put Carson back in line when she doubts herself. In one of the only times Carson hears from her family, her sister Meg uses her whole two minutes of a phone call to talk down to her sister and let her know just how selfish she is for a decision. Greta lingers in the background and waits for another opportunity to eavesdrop and tease Carson, but instead uses it as a moment to subtly inspire her by handing her A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It’s an act of kindness that Carson later draws inspiration from for her best locker room speech of the season. And just before that when Carson slides into being the shy housewife she’s conditioned to being with Charlie around, it’s Greta who pulls her aside to demand that Carson stop hiding and be the leader she’s built herself to be. Not just because it’s who the Peaches need to lead them, it’s who Carson deserves to be. Watching Carson grow into being a ballplayer, coach, and most importantly into a version of herself that is so much bigger than she could’ve hoped for was a gorgeous manifestation of character development. Baseball is Carson’s destiny, but dammit so is Greta Gill.

Now of course Greta is so much more than a plot device for Carson. I may come off a bit biased on this as it took about .2 seconds for me to fall for all of the beauty, humor, and charm that is Greta Gill, but everything I am about to say is still true. Few characters have left me kicking my feet off the edge of the couch and swooning the way she does, and I know too many of my fellow Fruits would agree with that sentiment. As we came to know over the course of the season, Ms. Gill is far beyond a pretty face and a mean swing. For Greta, her journey isn’t so much about finding her confidence, but more so the ability to use her strengths in real ways that genuinely push her forward rather than help her skate by to her next “adventure”.

She successfully maneuvers her way through the world with a carefully curated act and strict sets of rules for keeping her and Jo safe. Though she’s talented and clearly has a love for baseball, the Peaches are just another opportunity in the beginning. If it all falls apart no one will have a better exit plan. Greta perfectly understands the business she’s found herself in and how to benefit from it, but it’s when we see her challenged that we see just how fragile all of that really is. Greta always had Joey to confide in, but along with that undying support she also gets Carson to lean on. Reluctant though she may have been at first as getting too close emotionally is clearly a violation of her previously mentioned rules, many of Greta’s most vulnerable moments are of course spent with Carson.

Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

When Greta is told she is “too much” after justifiably losing her temper and questions her right to want anything. Carson is there. When she nearly lets her fears from her trauma of when she was 17 and lost her first love win, Jo gets her to realize that truth, but Carson stays, hears her out, and tells her that she still wants what they have. That Carson still wants her. When she decides she’s toxic for everyone around her and tries to run away before the championships because she just knows that Carson is going to dump her for Charlie, it has to be Carson who shows up to bring her home with words of reassurance and reminders of all the good she’s done for her new friends along the way.

The Peaches and being a ballplayer give Greta the rare opportunity to be everything she actually is. My absolute favorite Greta moment comes in episode eight when the team is in game four against the Blue Sox. She struts to the plate with her patented kiss and a wave to the crowd flirtatiously challenging them with a “watch this, boys”. But it’s when she turns to face the camera and squares in on the pitcher, that the real Greta is able to drop the mask and show us who she is and absolutely knocks the shit out of the ball. The confidence we initially meet her with was more than enough to make a fan out of me, but the unfiltered version of the badass with a heart of gold we end up with by the finale is simply an undeniable upgrade.

You made Greta so much more than the gorgeous supportive love interest. Her story is one of finding the freedom to become the realest version of herself. Carson’s support, admiration, and love of who she really is makes Greta do something she’s never done before. She stays.

Photo courtesy of Amazon Prime Video.

As we await what comes after porch kisses and sweet but albeit very dumb husbands who definitely should have gone home when their wives said to, I have to say that I’m hopeful for Gretson. Though I clearly love them together, I applauded Carson’s choice to not go to Idaho or New York. You showed us she’s only just begun to figure out how to make her own choices for herself. She deserves the liberation she found in the few months we spent with her with Greta and as the coach of the Peaches. And Greta needs to come to terms with the fact that she can survive on her own and have something completely hers as she sets off on a new job that she earned. I have no doubt that even in separation on their journeys to find those things, they will ultimately find their way back to each other.

In the next and final letter….thank you for helping us find our team.

Ashley Durham
Ashley Durham (she/her) is a writer and communications manager from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a graduate of Westminster College with a BA in Broadcast Communications and has worked in the Steel City as a media specialist in recent years. She continues her love of journalism as a blogger with a focus on television and film.