Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

"Take Me Out to the Holosuite"

***

Air date: 10/19/1998
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Chip Chalmers

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

"Scotch." — O'Brien's choice for the flavor of chewing gum

Nutshell: Corny and overplayed at times, but an amiable outing overall.

Let me begin this review with a massive digression. I live in Central Illinois, about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis. For those of you who are completely not up on baseball, there was a home run race this past season between Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs and Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals. There's a long-standing rivalry in my parts; there are a lot of Cubs fans and Cardinals fans, and the rivalry exists through the fans as much as it does through the teams themselves.

So, yes, as a Cubs fan I was rooting for Sosa, and McGwire ended up with the record, but that's not the point. The point is that it's been a great year for baseball—even for a cynical fair-weather fan like myself who was down on the sport (it's simply too often boring to watch) even before the strike. Having Cal Ripken bring his streak to an end also helped a season full of great moments.

What's my point? Well, I guess it's that if you're going to make an episode in which Sisko and the crew of DS9 pick up bats and gloves for a game of baseball against a Vulcan crew, you might as well do it in a year when baseball is doing well.

Really, "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" couldn't have aired at a much better time. Those who complain this episode is too much of a waste-of-time fluff piece to belong in DS9's final season are perhaps taking this series a bit too seriously (there's still plenty of time for the meatier stuff). Even so, I'll admit that this is precisely the sort of episode that may or may not work for you.

While it worked for me, I'll also admit that I don't want to see many more fluff episodes during season seven. We have important stuff to cover before it's all over. Time right now may still be abundant, but that won't be the case as the months roll by.

But one fluff piece at this juncture is absolutely fine, and given Sisko's avid passion for baseball—a character trait that goes back to episode one—this is a show that I think needed to be made for the sake of itself. It's not by any means a visionary comic piece (that honor still goes to fifth season's "In the Cards"), but it's got enough charm to get by.

At times, this episode is about as obvious and hammy as it can be. There are the typical scenes where a fly ball goes way over Rom's head, or where Bashir and Dax both call a fly ball and then it drops between them. Ha ha. Like "The Magnificent Ferengi" last year, Chip Chalmers' direction is adequate, though not all that invigorating.

But I'm electing, if for no other reason (though there are others), to give this episode three stars because of the conversation Bashir and O'Brien have about chewing gum. Without recapping the entire exchange, I'll just say the point where Miles says "scotch" is a masterstroke of comic timing on the part of the multitalented Colm Meaney.

What sets the whole baseball game in motion is also fairly delicious. Captain Solok (Gregory Wagrowski), a Vulcan captain with a crew composed entirely of Vulcans (whom he believes is the "finest in the fleet"), swings by DS9 for a repair layover and challenges Sisko and his crew to a game of baseball. Well, Sisko knows that his crew is the "finest in the fleet," so he'll be damned if he doesn't accept this challenge and beat Solok—to a pulp if possible. The first scene between Sisko and Solok sets the stage wonderfully: Sisko obviously hates this guy, and the conversation is about as icy as any conversation Sisko has had since the early seasons of Gul Dukat or Kai Winn.

Later, we find out why Sisko so much wants to trounce Solok in a competition: Sisko and Solok have a bitter rivalry that goes all the way back to the academy days. Unfortunately, Sisko has been at the butt end of this rivalry on every occasion. Solok, being a particularly arrogant Vulcan, has taken every opportunity over the years to use a single emotional oversight on Sisko's part as an example that Vulcan logic is superior to human emotionalism.

Now, I should probably register a complaint here regarding the social implications of an "all-Vulcan crew." While I don't look at Sisko and Solok's competition here as being racially motivated (any more than I see the cultural pride of Klingons as anti-human), I do wonder why Starfleet would have a ship with an all-Vulcan crew. It's perhaps a measure of a specific cultural circumstance, and I don't think it boils down to intentional segregation, but the question is still there, and without a given answer.

But, really, this isn't a matter of race; it's a matter of rivalry. Rivalries can become ugly things (just ask anyone in the Chicago area about the Green Bay Packers), and "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" captures that irrational ugliness well.

Next comes Sisko's baseball tryouts. I must say it was amusing watching the crew of DS9 read over baseball rules, including complex aspects like "the infield fly rule." The subsequent field practice was a little on the stale and predictable side (Rom being as much of an idiot at baseball as everything else, for example), but watching Sisko get so wrapped up in the whole thing was simultaneously amusing and frightening—especially when he kicks Rom off the team for being, well, terrible at baseball.

There are plenty of genuinely funny moments to make up for the ones that come off as staged and trite. Watching Odo practice his umpiring "moves" was fun, and Worf's deathly competitive attitude benefited from a few nicely placed lines like, "Death to the opposition!" (Besides, no one can make the line "We will destroy them" sound half as good as Worf.)

The game between Sisko's team (the "Niners") and the Vulcans plays a lot like a standard sports movie, with the predictably big moments and the exaggerated competitiveness (Sisko really wants to win). There's even a scene where Sisko argues with Umpire Odo and gets himself thrown out of the game. Even better is the later scene when Odo throws Solok out ("Yer gone!" Odo says with an evil grin).

I won't recap the whole game, but I particularly liked the fact that, for once, a sports story can end without Our Heroes winning the game. In fact, Our Heroes get beat 10-1. Let's face it: Most of the Niners have never played baseball before, and two weeks to prepare is not going to make them a solid team. The question ultimately becomes whether or not the Niners—and, more specifically, Sisko—can have fun despite the bitterness of the rivalry and the fact that they don't have a prayer against Solok's team.

Somewhere along the line, it becomes clear that to score once against Solok's team would be satisfaction enough for the Niners. What's amusing here is that Our Heroes get to celebrate for scoring one run to the Vulcans' 10. And the eventual "manufactured triumph" is just as stinging to Solok as a real one. In many ways, Sisko wins this round in the Solok/Sisko rivalry, because he's able to overcome his own pride and Solok's attempts to provoke him. Putting Rom into the game at the last minute (where he cluelessly bumbles his way into bunting in the Niners' only run) is the perfect way to demonstrate that baseball is really "just a game" for Sisko, where having fun through the unpredictability of the sport is its most important quality. He won't let Solok ruin that.

"Take Me Out to the Holosuite" isn't what I would call particularly good DS9, but it's too likable to resist, so I'm not going to be a stick in the mud by trying. Seeing as the second half of the season is likely to become DS9 Wrap-Up Central, we might as well take our fluff pieces while we still can (although I doubt I'll be so generous next time). I enjoyed this episode, even if it was more for what it was than for what it did.

Next week: The return of Bashir's crazies.

Previous episode: Afterimage
Next episode: Chrysalis

◄ Season Index

104 comments on this review

Jakob M. Mokoru
Fri, Nov 23, 2007, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
I found "Take me out..." a very, very funny episode - even when I am austrian and don't know anything at all about baseball!

But it must be great for fans of the game - I suppose, Michael Piller loved it!!
indijo
Fri, Jan 18, 2008, 10:15am (UTC -6)
As a big sci-fi fan, I had problems following this one, because I couldn't for a second believe that they were actually playing this game on the holosuite of DS9. I'm sorry, but I really couldn't believe it for a nanosecond. The DS9 holosuite isn't half as big as what would be required for a really serious game of baseball.
Jasyson
Mon, Jan 21, 2008, 10:46pm (UTC -6)
To get this out of the way right off the bat (no pun intended) the reality of a holodeck going all the way back to TNG has always been suspect so for a long time now I just have a large suspension of disbelief when it comes to this technology but I digress.

To me while this episode isn't a solid dramatic piece its still a solid story that manages to use all of the cast IE an ensemble and thats a good thing because I love all these characters and when they all get together its quite a sight.
Andreas
Sat, May 31, 2008, 5:10pm (UTC -6)
@indijo
People are being held back by magnetic fields. They think they are running but are actually not moving in the holosuite.
AeC
Sun, Jun 29, 2008, 11:30am (UTC -6)
@Andreas
[pedantic geek]Perhaps, but how do you take into account the distance from, say, the catcher and an outfielder? Does the holosuite alter the laws of perspective for each individual in the room?[/pedantic geek]

This ep is almost as amiable and as enjoyable as it was the first time, but I wish some of the jokes held up better. It's just the familiarity aspect; I laughed hysterically at "Scotch" and "Death to the opposition!" the first time I saw this, but knowing they're coming just blunts the impact.
TC
Sat, Sep 6, 2008, 8:32am (UTC -6)
@AeC: To answer the pedantic geek qustion... this is an excerpt from the novel "Avenger" where Kirk and Spock have to escape a holodeck prison cell. (Thanks to the copy-and-paste magic of ebooks!)

********

"All right, now don't move. You're going to give me a lesson in holosimulations."

Kirk ran a few steps to the meditation garden, leaned over the low wall, and scooped up two handfuls of sand. "First thing, where does the sand come from?"

Spock sounded totally disinterested. "It is replicatot matter. Everything physical with which we can interact is some form of replicator matter combined with precision forcefields."

Kirk started a trail of sand from the toe of Spock's boots, on a direct line toward the bricks where the guard and the healer had been standing. His first handful of sand ran out as he reached that brick. He kept going, checking to make sure he was keeping the line of sand straight. When he was finished with the second handful, he had a trail of sand at least eight meters long.

Kirk stood at the end of the sand line. "We're now farther apart than the room is wide. Explain to me how it works," Kirk called back to Spock.

"It is, of course, a logical impossibility," Spock said, still irritable. "As you walked away from me, sensors in the floor tracked your footsteps. As you neared the wall, forcefields in the floor began moving like a treadmill, giving you the physical sensation of walking, even though you remained in place. The OHD panels lining the cell projected holographic images to keep the scenery moving to match your apparent physical progress." "But you look as if you're eight meters away, Spock." "What you are seeing from your vantage point is a holographic image of me in forced perspective. In actuality, I am no more than three or four meters from you, as logic demands."

"So the real you is hidden behind a holographic screen," Kirk said.

"Until you come within a logical visual range of me. Then the plane of the holographic illusion will pass over me, allowing you to see me as I really am."
Nolan
Thu, Jun 4, 2009, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
@ the above quote

Of course! It was so obvious! [/sarcasm} =P
Jay
Sat, Aug 15, 2009, 11:59am (UTC -6)
Sorry, Andreas, but even if that magnetic field excuse were true (I persoanlly find it silly), it still doesn't change the simple spatial facts of the holosuite...the distance between the various people in the holosuite is larger than the size of the holosuite. The same issue occurred in Voyager as well, such as when several crewmembers went skiing at the enbd of "Macrocosm". I can see one person going skiing in the holodeck, because the holodeck will "move" around them, but several people at the same time? Not a chance...
Jay
Sat, Aug 15, 2009, 12:26pm (UTC -6)
Sisko's obsession sure does put the final nail in the coffin of Roddenberry's "humans evolved beyond interpersonal conflict" meme, but its okay because that notion was always beyond obtuse.
Destructor
Mon, Dec 14, 2009, 6:10pm (UTC -6)
Jay, TC's quote perfectly explains how people can
'appear' to be further from each other than the holodeck has the physical space for- they are all surrounded by holographic illusions.

In this case it's best to just suspend your disbelief.

Anyway, I hated this episode on first airing, but watching it again last night with my gf we both laughed ourselves silly. I guess my perspective has changed somewhat since I was a teen!
neozeks
Wed, Jun 9, 2010, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
WORF: Find him and kill him!

FUNNIEST... LINE... EVER! :D
Shawn
Sun, Jun 27, 2010, 8:53pm (UTC -6)
Not to be too nerdy but there was another federation starship on TOS that was all Vulcan, USS Intrepid. I can't remember the episode but I think it was the giant space amoeba thing that got them.

All in all an enjoyable episode that had a few laugh out loud moments. Especially the "scotch" line and "Find him and kill him" both lines fit the characters who said them perfectly.
Marco P.
Sat, Aug 21, 2010, 11:03pm (UTC -6)
Not a zero stars episode (there were some fun moments), but being a huge sports fan myself (and therefore with a somewhat extensive knowledge of sports movies) I can safely say "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" uses every possible cliché of said genre.

Other than the already mentioned fly ball going way over Rom's head, or Bashir & Dax calling the same ball and then letting it drop between them, we got:
• The team of rookies having to overcome impossible odds by beating a team much much stronger than them.
• The training/practice montage.
• On the day of the big game, the initial "setback" with our heroes getting completely outscored, then somehow turning the situation around (albeit in this case, with the "manufactured victory").
• A "victory" achieved by the team's underdog (Rom in this case)

With captain Sisko being a huge baseball fan, it makes sense DS9 writers wanted to dedicate an entire episode to the sport. However how I was at least expecting a little bit greater originality. Perhaps I am too demanding.

P.S. thanks to the reader TC for *finally* shining some lights on how holodecks work in Star Trek. My suspension of disbelief had been by necessity, until this point, boundless. Now I can finally reconcile some of the past Trek holodeck-episodes I've watched.
Lee
Thu, Sep 9, 2010, 2:06pm (UTC -6)
I loved this episode, but man Solok is a racist asshole.

I wonder where that baseball is now...
Nic
Tue, Sep 14, 2010, 9:33pm (UTC -6)
What a pathetic excuse for an episode. Sorry if I sound harsh - maybe it is because I don't know anything about baseball - but there were very few moments that I was able to enjoy. Everyone is terribly out of character, especially Sisko. We're expected to believe that after all he's been through (losing his wife, chasing after Eddington, bringing the Romulans into the war and learning he was part-Prophet) he still holds a high-school grudge? I shouldn't be taking it so seriously... but if the episode had actually been funny, I wouldn't have been thinking about any of that. I absoloutely loved "The Magnificent Ferengi", "One Little Ship" and even "Who Mourns for Morn?" last season, but this one shot way off the mark. It just feels like a self-indulgence by the writers rather than a part of the Star Trek Universe. I sincerely hope to see another light-hearted episode before the series is over, because they can be fun... if they're done right.
ScooterGirl
Fri, Dec 10, 2010, 11:08pm (UTC -6)
Well, I really like this episode and to those who disagree with me I say this: "Death to the opposition!"
Jay
Sat, Dec 25, 2010, 10:54pm (UTC -6)
Destructor, sorry but no, TJ's explanation doesn't explain a thing, it's just a ridiculous cheat. You're telling me that when a player runs from first base to second, they are essentially riding a magnetic field conveyor belt that's actually keeping them mostly in place (never mind how that feels to a human body or how it affects it physiologically), but everyone else's perception is that they're running normally, and every player in the infield and outfield feels further away from each other than they are, and the baseball, when hit, is manipulated through forcefields to appear to make a normal trajectory in the air, and the person who it seems to be closest to moves to catch it, but magnetic fields keep them from colliding from someone who is near them but appears far from them? That's just ludicrous.

I wonder what happens if someone abruptly "ends program" in the middle of this magnetic free-for-all - I suspect sickbay would have a busy day.
Elliott
Wed, Jan 12, 2011, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
@NIc
This entire series is self-indulgent, this one simply lacked a connection to the larger story arc, so it was both stupid AND pointless. Comedy has its place, but there is no reason to make such a pointless episode. Forget for a moment that humans have evolved beyond this petty sort of bickering...what the hell kind of Vulcans are these? Another note, what kind of racist organisation decides to allow someone like Solok to create an all-Vulcan starfleet crew? It's all just a creation of ridiculous clichés and arbitrary nonsense to make the game possible...and for what? As Marco P. pointed out, the whole thing is absolutely run-of-the-mill sports comedy, one of the worst kinds there are. Zero stars, worse than "Profit and Lace."
Elliott
Wed, Jan 12, 2011, 2:05pm (UTC -6)
If you can give this episode three stars, you can give "Q2" three as well--it's the same thing in a different genre of stupid comedy. Again, you are endlessly forgiving of DS9's stupidity.
jon
Thu, Jan 27, 2011, 5:19pm (UTC -6)
Elliot in the Immunity Syndrome The Intrepid had an all vulcan crew so there and whilst this episode is not great, bickering and pettiness is a part of human NATURE and it will always be with us you ought to know and Q2 was far worse because it completely destroyed the character and concept of Q
Elliott
Thu, Jan 27, 2011, 5:53pm (UTC -6)
I don't see how this episode is less an assassination of Vulcans than Q2 of Q.
jon
Fri, Jan 28, 2011, 8:37am (UTC -6)
Elliot want to see an assanasation of Vulcans watch Enterprise seasons 1 and 2. and your tolerance of Voyager's endless stupidity well pot kettle black.
Elliott
Tue, Feb 1, 2011, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
"so there"?
"pot kettle black"?

what?

I do not forgive Voyager's stupidity, nor TNG or TOS's. Stupid is as stupid does. Q2 was a pretty stupid episode, but not more stupid than this one, so I don't see why this one get such a high rating. I agree that ENT did a pretty abysmal job with Vulcans, but what does that have to do with this? This is still bad.

As far as "The Immunity Syndrome" goes, I feel like that crew had some special attachment to defending Vulcan or something (I could easily be wrong in which case it was stupid back then too).
Jon
Wed, Feb 2, 2011, 4:49pm (UTC -6)
Pot kettle black means your calling faults in other people that you yourself share and it's jammer's reviews and opinions and he rate's them according to his own opinions so ask him
jon
Fri, Feb 4, 2011, 3:57pm (UTC -6)
Football is not a matter of life and death it is more than that Bill Shankly

I can relate to this episode I'm a fan of Wolverhampton Wanderers. When the Wolves beat Albion a couple of years ago it meant something to me it wasn't a victory it was about pride, pride over beating Albion our rivals.

To sisko baseball is a part of him now in my view baseball is a bastardised version of cricket but when it comes to wolves vs albion it's abouut local pride victory over ypur rivals. Sisko wins at the emd of the day by one home run but he beats his adversary
jon
Fri, Feb 4, 2011, 5:43pm (UTC -6)
This episode has similarities with fever pitch by Nick Hornby in which we explore an arsenal's fan obesssion vis a vis sisko's obsession with baseball and they joy he feels at the end
Polt
Sun, Feb 6, 2011, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
Why is everyone quibbling over the physics of a holosuite? We've got ships moving at faster than light speeds, we've got a race of people that can physically change thier shape to anything, and we've got medical procedures that can do things we can't even comprehend now, and yet you're quibbling over a holosuite?

The show's about things that are impossible. Just let it go and have fun it with. Don't overanalyze everything to death.
Dunnik
Sat, Apr 16, 2011, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
"So, yes, as a Cubs fan I was rooting for Sosa, and McGwire ended up with the record, but that's not the point. The point is that it's been a great year for baseball--even for a cynical fair-weather fan like myself who was down on the sport..."

Time to revise this, perhaps? Heh.
enniofan
Sat, Apr 16, 2011, 8:52pm (UTC -6)
death to the opposition!

ha!
Carbetarian
Sun, Apr 24, 2011, 4:08pm (UTC -6)
I can't believe there's so little praise here for my favorite line!

Worf: We will destroy them.

Lmao, Worf was comedy gold in this one.

Also funny:

"death to the oposition!"

"find him and kill him!"

And when Worf objects to brining Rom back because they have a man on third. Haha
Carbetarian
Sun, Apr 24, 2011, 4:09pm (UTC -6)
*bringing
InAUGral
Sat, Apr 30, 2011, 3:26am (UTC -6)
I found this episode very entertaining even though i dont like nor care about baseball. Though i wish Morn was in the crowd and drank heaps of beer or something, Morn never has got enough of a role( well he does get mentioned as doing things)
asdf
Tue, Jul 26, 2011, 12:27am (UTC -6)
So... what if they used /multiple/ holosuites in the game? It could also be that each person is sort of divided from each other in a sort of holographic box, with each having a different image from that person's perspective projected...
Stubb
Thu, Aug 4, 2011, 8:47am (UTC -6)
I'll buy what ASDF says above. Maybe Quark's holosuites (there are four of them right?) are like hotel conference rooms, with walls that can be opened up to join them together and create one giant holosuite. That would give a little more wiggle room for home plate --> outfield and running to first base. But also, don't forget that they are playing with holographic baseballs as well. When a long fly ball is hit to right field, the ball can be controlled/altered by the holosuite to appear to be traveling 350 feet.
Alessandro
Sat, Sep 3, 2011, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
Masterpiece! Possibly the funniest Star Trek episode ever. So many races come together for a "humble" game of baseball, that is the work of a genius :)
gtr
Tue, Sep 13, 2011, 7:18pm (UTC -6)
Seeing odo doing the moves has to be the funniest moment, closely followed by Worf's classics... :)
Jack
Sat, Nov 12, 2011, 6:09pm (UTC -6)
A Starfleet vessel with an all Vulcan crew seems awfully un-Federationlike. Our military has been integrated since the Truman administration.
TDexter
Thu, Nov 17, 2011, 6:25pm (UTC -6)
Regarding the all-Vulcan crew: this has always bugged me about the Federation. It seems like every colony is named after a place on Earth (New Sydney, etc.) and every starship named after a historical Earth place, figure, or naval vessel.

Then there's the whole scene in the last episode where Sisko or the admiral (can't be bothered to remember) says something along the lines that the triple alliance proves that "Klingons, Romulans, and Humans" can work together. Surely he meant to say the Federation?

It's always seemed to me that the writers have had difficulty showing that the Federation and Starfleet isn't completely anthropocentric. I can understand the impracticality of having to put enough extras in full makeup in order to make it seem more "diverse"; but at least the names could have been! I was surprised that the starship in this episode even had a Vulcan name.

Vulcans are obnoxious, so I wouldn't be surprised if they selectively segregated themselves. They're after all only a few nightly meditations away from being psychopathic Romulans.

As for the holodeck physics speculation -- oh, come on! It's science fiction. You're supposed to suspend disbelief.
Steve
Wed, Dec 28, 2011, 12:48am (UTC -6)
TDexter - humans are clearly the dominant species of the Federation and it is therefore human-centric. I think a few trek episodes have touched on it. In Trek, humans tend to be the most adaptable of the sentient races whereas the rest seem "stuck in their ways".
Nic
Fri, Mar 9, 2012, 10:40pm (UTC -6)
Just changing the motivation of the baseball game from "I have to show that arrogant Vulcan who's the boss" to "everybody is on the edge of a burn-out because of the war, so why don't we take a break and have a little fun" would have greatly improved this episode in my opinion.
Some Dude
Mon, Mar 19, 2012, 6:53pm (UTC -6)
I used to have issues with this episode too, but after my latest viewing I don't hate it anymore. In fact I found it very entertaining. It's the old suspension-of-disbelief-thing. You just have to roll with it. Yes, Rom + Leeta are still annoying. But other than that I really don't have any major complaints.

I think the writers were very aware of their over-the-top use of every cliche possible. That's precisely what they needed to do. I would not have been satisfied otherwise. ;)
Nebula Nox
Tue, Apr 3, 2012, 7:10am (UTC -6)
I think there are obvious reasons why a crew would tend to be of a single species. Preferences in temperature, gravity, lighting, moisture - what they eat, how much they sleep, and so on...
Justin
Sun, Apr 29, 2012, 1:14pm (UTC -6)
Seriously? There's a whole grab bag of episodes to choose from and you guys picked *this* episode to have a geekfest about the plausibility of holodeck physics?

Whatever.

Jammer started his review by discussing something which he couldn't have known at the time, but in retrospect became a huge controversy. The sudden explosion in home runs during the 1998 baseball season. It's commonly believed now that Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa hit 136 home runs between the two of them through artificial means - steroid and human growth hormone abuse.

This doesn't have anything to do with the episode in question. I just find it interesting that baseball fans (including myself) had the wool so completely pulled their eyes as they got caught up in the 1998 season. The problem became so bad and so obvious in 2001 when Barry Bonds completed his transformation from a skinny kid with moderate home run power to a power hitting machine that cranked out 73 homers at age 37 - at least 5 years past a ball player's prime.

Talk about suspension of disbelief...
Snitch
Sun, May 13, 2012, 12:44am (UTC -6)
I really hate this episode, bored me with a lot cliches about a sport I already consider extremely boring. This was not a Scifi or Trek show it was just utter crap. 1 Star.
The Sisko
Thu, May 24, 2012, 4:37pm (UTC -6)
0 stars. Seriously who will care in the future about an american sport?
mike
Fri, Jun 15, 2012, 11:38am (UTC -6)
What a pile of crap was that! Seriously the writers have only one season left and so many storylines going on, the prophets, the war, the Romans involvement, bajor joining the federation, the pah'wraith etc and they come up with episodes like this? So far season 7 is the worst.
Latex Zebra
Sun, Jun 24, 2012, 5:33pm (UTC -6)
I'm English so Baseball isn't really my thing. That said I love the movies Field of Dreams and Bull Durham.
Watched this for the first time last night.
I wanted to like it, I really did.
Way too over the top and too many moments that remind you that you're watching a TV program.
Odo and Worf manage to save it a little but overall this is a poor episode and not as funny as it thinks it is.
John (the younger)
Sat, Oct 20, 2012, 11:04pm (UTC -6)
I'm surprised no one has mentioned how brilliant Avery Brooks was in this. He was a very hit and miss actor (pun intended) throughout the series for me but occasionally his take on Sisko's fire and passion worked an absolute treat.
Arachnea
Sat, Dec 1, 2012, 4:16am (UTC -6)
I really don't care for baseball, in fact, I don't know anything about it (I'm Swiss :p) besides hitting a ball, catching a ball and running. But this episode wasn't about a sport game, it was about rivalry and people enjoying something together.

Sisko was very much in character: an obsessive man fighting with all his might - regardless of the consequenses - when his ego is bruised. During the first 3/4 of the episode, he forgets about the fun. And I agree with John the younger, for once Brooks managed to give us some good performance in this episode, with some exceptions.

It's not a great episode, it has many clichés, but it mostly worked for me. The team efforts,comic lines or postures were good. The depiction of the vulcans wasn't.

By the way, I don't think this crew is entirely made of vulcans. It must be like the enterprise, which is made mostly of humans with some other species. But the vulcan captain surely voluntarily chose only vulcans who are stronger.

Just a nitpick: how in the world can genetically-heightened-eye/hand-coordination-engineered Bashir miss to hit the ball ?!!!
Jake
Wed, Dec 19, 2012, 7:29am (UTC -6)
Never mind the fact that there's a war going on. No, we have to waste our time with bullshit like this & "Badda-Bing, Badda Bang." And Ira kept insisting this was the 'realistic' Trek?
Greg M
Sun, Jan 6, 2013, 9:00pm (UTC -6)
Jammer,

It seems whenever I watch an episode of Trek, I come by here to see what kind of review it's gotten, even if I've read the review many times. Tonight was "Take me out to the Holosuite", which is a very funny episode and probably IMO DS9's best comedy. Yeah I know it was missed placed with the war going on and such, but that's neither here nor there.

What I did want to say was you started this review talking about the Home Run chase with Sosa and McGuire and that kind of made me realize how long ago that happened. This episode was done in 1998, and I was just awed that this episode came out the same year as that chase.

Of course I'm not sure if you're ever going to read this and maybe one of these days you can do a blog post about it, but this was at the height of the Steroid scandal. I wonder if when everything was happening, that soured you, much like everyone else, towards this event or maybe the game as a whole. Also, with the Hall of Fame in a predicament for the next several years, it would be interesting to get your thoughts on it. It just wowed me, though, watching this episode tonight on how long ago that was and where we've come since.
William
Sun, Jan 13, 2013, 6:21pm (UTC -6)
I am suffering a phase variance with the rest of y'all on Season 7.

I don't like baseball. I don't like holosuite episodes. And yet, I liked this episode -- A LOT. It's one of my favorites. Great comic lines and a great lesson on friendship and bonding to boot.
WorfWWorfington
Tue, Jun 4, 2013, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
Every time Worf says, "Find him and kill him," an angel gets its wings and then pimp slaps a demon.

According to the DS9 Companion, Max Grodenchik was actually a semi-pro player and the best player of the regular cast.

Huh.
ColoradoGamer
Fri, Jun 28, 2013, 12:57am (UTC -6)
-Bump-

Greg M - Sun, Jan 6, 2013 - 9:00pm (USA Central)
Jammer,

It seems whenever I watch an episode of Trek, I come by here to see what kind of review it's gotten, even if I've read the review many times. Tonight was "Take me out to the Holosuite", which is a very funny episode and probably IMO DS9's best comedy. Yeah I know it was missed placed with the war going on and such, but that's neither here nor there.

What I did want to say was you started this review talking about the Home Run chase with Sosa and McGuire and that kind of made me realize how long ago that happened. This episode was done in 1998, and I was just awed that this episode came out the same year as that chase.

Of course I'm not sure if you're ever going to read this and maybe one of these days you can do a blog post about it, but this was at the height of the Steroid scandal. I wonder if when everything was happening, that soured you, much like everyone else, towards this event or maybe the game as a whole. Also, with the Hall of Fame in a predicament for the next several years, it would be interesting to get your thoughts on it. It just wowed me, though, watching this episode tonight on how long ago that was and where we've come since.
Nancy
Mon, Aug 5, 2013, 3:49pm (UTC -6)
Um, ColoradoGamer, you can't bump a comment on a blog post. If nobody replies, you just have to deal with it. Seeing as how many of these comments were written years ago, let alone Jammer's reviews that were written over a decade ago, you shouldn't hold your breath anticipating a rash of responses.

At any rate, what I really wanted to say was that I found this episode immensely enjoyable. I knew it would be divisive and I understand why those heavily invested in the serialized nature of the show would have little tolerance for such an episode. I, however, found it to be a relief.

I laughed many times. Brooks was terrific here, and I say that as someone who doesn't always enjoy him (especially when he gets into hyperventilation mode). Worf was hilarious! I saw myself in Leeta's panic when the ball comes at her - let's just say I'm not much of an athlete. One of my favorite scenes was the argument with Odo. I was RTFLOL.

There were cliches, cheesy moments, unrealistic moments, yes (although I roll my eyes whenever anyone gets their panties in a wad over the logistics of the holosuite. Do they spend as much time agonizing over transporters, universal translators, and warp speed? If so, I pity them.) However, despite the episode's weaknesses, I was entertained. To me, that's the most important thing.

If you weren't entertained, fine, but that doesn't mean it's worthless. Some of us like to laugh every once in a while, even when watching Deep Space Nine.

ProgHead777
Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 4:50am (UTC -6)
@Nancy, if you browse comments via Jammer's comment browser page you can indeed "bump" a thread. I'm not saying whether it's a good or bad thing, just that it's possible. ;)

I also enjoyed this episode but I'm one of those annoying people who doesn't feel that a frivolous episode here and there detracts from the overall series. As long as it's enjoyable on its own terms, it's worth the 45 minutes.
Nancy
Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 10:19pm (UTC -6)
@proghead777 oh! Shows you what I know. Sorry!
Jammer
Fri, Aug 9, 2013, 8:23pm (UTC -6)
"Of course I'm not sure if you're ever going to read this and maybe one of these days you can do a blog post about it, but this was at the height of the Steroid scandal. I wonder if when everything was happening, that soured you, much like everyone else, towards this event or maybe the game as a whole. Also, with the Hall of Fame in a predicament for the next several years, it would be interesting to get your thoughts on it. It just wowed me, though, watching this episode tonight on how long ago that was and where we've come since."

I find myself indifferent to the whole steroid scandal. To me it comes down to: If everyone (or a lot of people) were doing it, then the crime is sort of like exceeding the speed limit. Maybe that's simplification, but I'm completely indifferent to baseball in general in recent years, and the steroid scandal always struck me as overblown and overhyped ... especially when we had congressional frigging hearings about it, like they don't have better things to be doing.

So did the steroids era sour me on baseball? No, not really. But that's because save for the 2008 season when I happened to have a lot of time on my hands, I have barely followed baseball at all.
Patrick
Tue, Oct 15, 2013, 2:51am (UTC -6)
I'm surprised that several people were bothered by the all-Vulcan ship. We've seen several starships that are crewed by pretty much all humans. I can see that in some ways the races will have a lot in common: temperature, atmospheric composition, ship's gravity, day length, common recreational and cultural activities, friendships that date from childhood. The single-race ships were discussed in one of the behind-the-scenes books after the original series.

Kotas
Tue, Nov 5, 2013, 7:28pm (UTC -6)

I loathe baseball and the concept of the crew spending two weeks training for a match during war-time is completely absurd. There were some funny moments though.

3/10

Ric
Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 3:27am (UTC -6)
Useless episode, not funny, not fun. Not to mention what Elliot has said just perfectly in one of his comments here:

"what kind of racist organisation decides to allow someone like Solok to create an all-Vulcan starfleet crew?"

DS9 came to the point that it even does not care about how it portrays the either the Federation or the Starfleet.

Anyway, a waste of an episode specially for a last season.
Ric
Sat, Jan 4, 2014, 3:39am (UTC -6)
Oh yes, in a side note, has anyone else got bothered by Solok remembering in the firs scene how many days, minutes and maybe even seconds since he last met Sisko?

I mean, it makes sense that Vulcan can calculate something to a very accurate level of precision, such as Spok usually did (often with probabilities of events to occur). After all, they are logical and remarkably intelligent. But remembering things from years ago with such a precision seems to fit better to Data than to Spok, i.e. to an android than to a Vulcan.

Of course, a minor issue, but just thinking aloud.
K'Elvis
Wed, Jan 8, 2014, 12:15pm (UTC -6)
There's nothing unrealistic about a baseball game in wartime. During WWII, games were played at military bases, even with a war going on. One such game was the 1945 "Spaghetti Bowl", a football game played in Italy, where a team from the 5th Army beat a team from the 12th Air Force 20-0. www.mmbolding.com/bowls/Spaghetti_1945.htm

I had problems with the use of the Holosuite in this episode, but it didn't prevent me from enjoying the episode. Holosuites aren't very big, and there were a lot of people there, around 20. It would have made more sense to play the game on Bajor. There is plenty of open space, all you need is a field. I could see Bajorans taking up the sport, just because the Emissary likes it.

It's not a dark, serious episode, but it is the sort of story that Star Trek does well, it felt very much like something you might have had from an episode of the original series. Star Trek is good at exploring ideas, in this case, rivalry and obsession (obsession is one of those ideas Trek loves to explore). Sisko keeps allowing Solok to make him feel inferior. Even if the Niners had won the baseball game, it would have been only a temporary reprieve, Solok would have picked something else to defeat Sisko at. But by letting go, and having fun with the game, Sisko defeats Solok, even though the game was lost. Solok is rendered powerless over Sisko. Solok doesn't really care if he wins the game, so long as he can keep Sisko dancing to his tune. When Sisko refuses to dance, Solok is deprived of his victory.

I don't know where the idea came from that Roddenberry's vision was that "humans evolved beyond interpersonal conflict". Interpersonal conflict has been part of Star Trek since the beginning. Remember "Shore Leave", where Kirk confronts a simulation of Finnegan? Kirk finds it satisfying to beat the crap out of the guy who was a jerk at the academy. Then there was "Balance of Terror" where an officer displays bigotry toward Spock. Roddenberry does describe a future that is more enlightened than the present, but not one where humans have evolved beyond interpersonal conflict.
Jons
Sat, Feb 8, 2014, 11:25am (UTC -6)
Boring, couldn't stand watching more than 15 minutes of it. So far, season 7 is a complete let-down.

The worst of Star Trek in a single episode: 20th century-centric (again!), anthropocentric, ridiculous about Vulcans (logic is bad! emotions are good!), illogical (well of course - as if Odo was a logical choice of umpire and as if Vulcans would accept that?) and unnecessary fluff (especially, as others have said, during the last season!).

And of course, worst of all, it makes no sense - what kind of Vulcan would suddenly take up a 400 year-old Earth game? Which JUST SO HAPPENS to be Sisko's favourite? And then come to a warzone and challenge a Starfleet captain? And what kind of captain would spend TWO WEEKS during a war to prepare for something as futile??
Jons
Sat, Feb 8, 2014, 11:29am (UTC -6)
PS: For all the good about DS9, it does seem to bend over backward to pander to people who don't like science-fiction anyway.

If I wanted to watch a series about baseball (or any other 20th century pastime), I wouldn't watch Star Trek. If I wanted crass Americanist pandering fluff, I'd watch Walker Texas Ranger or something.
Patrick D
Sat, Feb 8, 2014, 1:21pm (UTC -6)
This episode is a prime example of the post-TNG Trek shows that has the characters of DS9, VOY, and ENT just head over heels in love with the 20th century from its pop culture and its various tchotchkes. But, more than that the majority of them act like they're transplanted from the late 20th century and adopting late 20th values (i.e. "Vulcans are lame, Klingons are cool!") That's totally absurd.

One of the reasons I love TOS and TNG the best, is that it had future people acting like they're actually FROM the future (or more accurately, a reasonable extrapolation). Vulcans were treated with respect on those shows.

Star Trek is slightly sabotaged as escapist fare, when the main characters are bringing up the latest Seinfeld episode.
Corey
Thu, Feb 13, 2014, 9:44am (UTC -6)
I know this episode is all cliches, and the racism is a bit troubling, but I liked the light-heartedness of it and some of the humour was refreshing. DS9 always did comedy well, Voyager too. TNG was very much prim and proper, all very stiff-upper-lip.
Jay
Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 12:18pm (UTC -6)
"Seriously? There's a whole grab bag of episodes to choose from and you guys picked *this* episode to have a geekfest about the plausibility of holodeck physics?"

Um...of course. Where better than the episode that makes the most ridiculous mockery of the holodeck concept yet?

Well, until Fair Haven came along, that is.

This is just as inexcusable as when they "disposed" of a growing universe in Playing God by simply dumping it in the Gamma Quadrant, as if that would somehow make it stop growing out of control.
Jenn
Wed, Feb 19, 2014, 3:16pm (UTC -6)
This episode was fun, fun fun. Lighten up everyone it was a fun story and a good game. The learning of the game was interesting, Sisko certainly didn't believe at first that this ragtag bunch of players could beat a Vulcan team with a grudge! But he played the game anyway he didn't decline, and a victorious party for one run put a damper on his old grudge opponent! That Stung Solok more than a real victory. The lines were hilarious, such as Find him and kill him! were priceless, silly chatter in the field was funny, and Odo's playing his part to the max was funny and tossing both captains out was a gem! Scotch flavored gum was a hoot! At the party all the talking smak about the vulcans was hilarious and psd off the ever logical Vulcan! Ha ha! One commenter said "But by letting go, and having fun with the game, Sisko defeats Solok, even though the game was lost." Brought a lot of happiness and closeness to all the Niner team players. :)
Bravestarr
Mon, Apr 14, 2014, 2:18pm (UTC -6)
So...Nog is an ensign right? I guess he works in Engineering right? So what in the hell is he doing there during the senior staff meeting? Seriously, Chief O'Brien is there so you don't need any more engineering officers. So why in the hell is he so hamfisted into this show!? I'm serious about him being the DS9 Wesley Crusher, the guy literally does eveything! And who makes the one score in the game? Nog of course.

While I found this episode fun, and I do love baseball, this episode was also grade-A stupid.
Robert
Wed, Apr 16, 2014, 11:56am (UTC -6)
@Bravestar - Considering Nog is Jake's best friend and the purpose of the staff meeting was to get a senior staff baseball game going and the only person who knows more about baseball on the entire station than Kassidy and the Sisko's is probably going to be Jake's best friend.... I'd say it makes plenty of sense that he was invited.

Beyond that.... since I'm aware of at least 3 people that WERE NOT main cast that outranked Harry Kim, what the heck was HE doing at the staff meetings (or Seven).
Buck
Tue, Apr 22, 2014, 5:52am (UTC -6)
It's amusing that a lot of people can't "suspend disbelief" over the physical aspects of the holosuite, but have no problem believing that everyone would still work and lead productive lives if holosuites existed.

Max Grodenchik -- played high school baseball against him. He was an outstanding athlete.
eastwest101
Sun, May 4, 2014, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
An immature irrelevant lazily written and directed, corny, juvenille cliche ridden, illogical derivative after school special snoozy hot steaming mess. Graced without any charm, wit or humour whatsoever, it commits the ultimate crime of simply being boring to its audience without having anything funny or clever to say.

I normally love the lighter and silly DS9 episodes but this was simply boring dross.

Zero stars. Actually -1 stars because they knew they had lots of stuff to do in the final season and actually chose to write and produce this.
SkepticalMI
Fri, Aug 1, 2014, 10:25pm (UTC -6)
Hey, Jammer's a Cubs fan! Two pieces of trivia you might be interested in: 1) the coach for the actors was Joey Banks, son of a certain Ernie Banks, 2) Avery Brooks has said that he was inspired in his performance by Dusty Baker.

The latter of which is somewhat humorous, all things considered, since like Dusty, I have to question some of Sisko's management skills... Most people aren't going to care too much about this next part, but I've got baseball on the mind and I'm having fun thinking about it. From what little we saw of the batting order, it makes some sense. Bashir first and Worf third? I do wonder why he didn't put himself and Jake higher in the batting order though, given that they are the ones familiar with actually hitting a ball. I'd probably go Jake - Bashir - Ben - Worf - Kasidy - Kira - Ezri - Rom - Leeta. But the positions? Oy...

- The catcher is the second most important position on the field, and certainly the position that requires the most baseball knowledge. So why didn't Ben play it? Rom was Jake's friend, so presumably there's some good connection there, but it was pretty clear that he never played baseball before.
- Bashir should have been shortstop. Good athlete, and incredibly good reflexes and "instincts" (ok, so more of extremely fast intelligence that can analyze everything as soon as the ball is hit). His skills are wasted in left.
- Speaking of which, Worf is wasted at first. I know, he's the big guy, he's supposed to be at first. But he's athletic, and probably has a cannon for an arm. I'd throw him in right. What's Leeta doing there? She seemed to be one of the least skilled of the players...
- Ezri in center makes sense. So if Worf is in right, you can put a weaker defender in left. Probably Rom if Ben was going to be catcher.
- Not sure where Leeta would go. I'd be afraid of putting her at third; too much weak defense on the left side. Given the poor defense of the team, I'd be afraid of putting her at first as well. Maybe hide her at second.
- So Kira at first then. Kasidy can stay at third. A possible alternative would be to put Rom at third and Leeta in left, and Kira at second.

OK, my fun with baseball is over. Although now I'm tempted to fill out a roster for TNG. Not that it matters too much; Data's the obvious all star. Throws a no-hitter and gets intentionally walked every AB. May have to make him the ump in order to make life fair...

But on to somewhat more serious matters. The writers had three major failures when it comes to setting up the team:
1) Bashir. They even mentioned his genetic enhancements! So why was he such a failure? He should have been a great contact hitter! Sisko should have sat him down in front of holographic pitchers and made him watch a few hundred pitches. By the end, he would have been able to tell exactly when to swing and exactly where to swing as soon as the ball left the pitcher's hand. And given his darts prowess, he clearly has good hand/eye coordination. So while the power behind it may not be there, he should have put balls in play. Not strike out as horribly as we saw.

2) Same with Worf. He's a master of hand to hand combat! His reflexes and instinct should translate to some extent. Yeah, he'll still strike out some, but I would have expected better swings from him. If he can control a bat'leth so well, why not a bat?

3) And then there's the Vulcans. Yes, it is illogical to perform a safety squeeze (essentially what Rom accidentally did at the end of the game) when down by that much that late, but it's still clearly what he was set up for. And given that no strategy made sense at that time and the Niners were clearly trying to just get one run, then the safety squeeze does make sense as a logical option. Which means, logically, the Vulcans should have been defending against the squeeze (first and third basemen charging hard on the pitch). So the dramatic run should have never happened.

OK, so that takes care of the failures in imagining the game. But moving on, the "dramatic" run was a failure in another way: it was a horrible, horrible cliche. For a show that tries to avoid cliches, how could they have had this one? It was so cloying, so cheesy, and so utterly predictable that I was rolling my eyes rather than celebrating Sisko's victory. It also essentially ruins the whole point. Bunts aren't that easy to put down, so essentially this whole dramatic moment is based on completely dumb luck. Yes, baseball involves quite a bit of luck, but how does that work with Rom's story? The dumb luck could have occurred with Worf happening to hit a home run in the fifth! So what was the point of it? It was just to be a dumb cliche. I'm not even sure of the point of it. Either way, this single scene really hurt the episode. I mean, it'd probably even stupider if Rom really did have the skills to lay down a bunt correctly, so at least they avoided that. But frankly, I would have been perfectly happy with no "conclusion" to the Rom storyline.

How on Earth could you be so smug about how you avoid the typical cliche of the ragtag band of misfits overcoming all odds to win, but still make your ending with the most annoying cliche from the ragtag band of misfits cliche (the ragtagiest character making the crucial play)???

Yeah, it annoyed me. But other than that, the episode was fun.
Yanks
Thu, Aug 21, 2014, 12:57pm (UTC -6)
Should we have this episode now? I guess the writers thought so. The war is only important when the writers say so you know. It IS light-years better than other "filler episodes" like "Profit and Lace" etc... (insert dumb Ferengi episode of choice) I'm glad this episode didn't make it in the "we didn't get to it" pile. That would have been a shame.

I'm a baseball guy. I played and have coached quite a bit. This episode was an absolute riot.

I won’t go through all the cliché’s as everyone else has hit on them. I'll just list a couple moments that stood out to me.

- Rom getting kicked off then agreeing with getting kicked off the team.

"ROM: But it should. You're good at it. (to Leeta) So are you, and I want to see you play. I want to see all of you play. I want to see our team beat the Vulcans, even if I'm only watching from the, the er
NOG: The stands?
ROM: Right. Please?"

That's so Rom...

Then, the best part of this show and arguably the whole series is when Sisko via Coach O'Brien puts Rom back in the game with the support of his teammates. Rom enters, as only Rom can, humble as Rom always is, then Sisko turns back on the crowd for him. If this doesn't put a lump in your throat (whether you know or like baseball or not) you have no heart or soul, you will not gain entrance to Stovokor and may the prophets give you the KIA Winn treatment.

The conflict between Sisko and Solok mirrors that of the Dominion war. The Federation faces an enemy many times more powerful than itself, yet they continue to fight and continue to take pleasure in whatever small victories they can achieve. We all know sometimes their victories are just lucky, just like Rom's "hit" when he was trying to figure out the bunt sign.

Overall, this is one of the most intelligently written humor episodes ever. It was nice seeing the crew working together on something other than the war for a change.

All good fun with some meaning attached.

4 stars.

***Yanks heads to the replicator to get a piece of the "scotch gum" :) ***
Jack
Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 10:59pm (UTC -6)
The best part of this episode is the manufactured extraction of victory from the humiliating defeat suffered by the Niners at the end. It's particularly delicious because if there is any race that would take such an illogical tactic with more distaste and suppressed fury, it's the Vulcans.
Eric
Tue, Sep 23, 2014, 8:08pm (UTC -6)
So... anyone else noticed that this episode showed the federation anthem? Kind of odd that they even have an anthem. How do you decide what its going to sound like? All these different species would have different musical styles. I'm over-thinking this.
$G
Fri, Oct 17, 2014, 1:49pm (UTC -6)
@Skeptical:

Thanks for that post. It saved me doing it. I'd have put Bashir in CF, but you make a good point about his reflexes making him a good middle infielder. Sisko and Kasidy should be 3B and 2B. Leeta at 1B, although Quark didn't look terrible so maybe him too. The OF from left to fight could be Kira, Ezri, and Worf. Nog and Jake make a good battery.

Phew.

Yeah I love baseball, so I love this episode. This episode is more fun on rewatch because there's no anxiety about will-they-have-enough-time-left-to-finish-the-story that contemporary fans sweated about.

And yeah, "scotch" is legitimately one of the funniest lines from the whole series.
Christoph
Thu, Oct 23, 2014, 9:00am (UTC -6)
It is by far the worst DS9 episode. Another rehash of a boring American kind of sport in the future. I liked the pure US-American epis.. - eh excuse me - Ferengi episodes much better. They were always very funny.
spindles
Tue, Nov 11, 2014, 3:59am (UTC -6)
How 'bout that Kubrickien, 2001 shot at the very end? What the hell was that?
Phillip
Tue, Dec 30, 2014, 12:46am (UTC -6)
"The Sisko....0 stars. Seriously who will care in the future about an american sport?"

Many people will care. America leads the world economically, culturally, militarily and in pretty much every other way. You're commenting on an American show. Star Trek has always been made by Americans and mostly for Americans. I can't stand baseball but it annoys me you would be jealous enough to take a shot at America. Would you rather If Sisko had been a fan of Soccer? Someone please tell me how soccer is exciting. People run around for a long time and only score a couple times a game. That is boring yet the majority of the world likes it. Is it because most people drink the whole time while watching it? Someone please enlighten me.

Anyways i thought it was s funny episode.
Josh
Mon, Mar 2, 2015, 7:13pm (UTC -6)
I really don't get people who don't like this episode or, worse, compare it to the likes of "Profit and Lace". It is surely the ultimate expression of Sisko's idiosyncratic love of baseball (as compared to most other characters who don't know anything about it). The "manufactured triumph" is a nice subversion of the typical sports plot.

A couple quick points:
- I think this marks the only appearance of the Federation anthem.
- I love the moment when Odo throws Sisko out of the game.
- I really, really want one of the Niners caps.
Eeqmcsq
Mon, Mar 30, 2015, 12:07am (UTC -6)
During the play where Vulcan #11 is at bat, when he hits the ball, the music during this play suddenly made me think of ST Voyager episode Dark Frontier, when the crew boarded the Borg ship to steal a transwarp coil.

It turns out both episodes were scored by David Bell. Nice little piece of music trivia there.
Toony
Wed, May 27, 2015, 6:20am (UTC -6)
I can buy there being all alien crews in starfleet due to different species requirements like waste management, sleep patterns among other things. I can understand the Enteprise, the flagship and ship of the line, having a secular crew. I think Voyagers crew becomes a bit more believable when you remember Earth has a population of aliens including Bolians and Vulcans all adjusted to Earths lifestyle.
If not then I take it demiliterisation is a requirement for Federation memebership.
Andy1
Sun, Jun 28, 2015, 9:09am (UTC -6)
I agree with eastwest101, and would like to add that this is nothing more than an anti-Vulcan episode. The DS9 crew, especially Sisko, behaved like a bunch of inferior idiots who suffer from a superiority complex.
Nissa
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 12:24am (UTC -6)
@Andy1

Don't forget the part where Rom can't decide which Vulcan to tag with the ball, because they all look alike. THAT was racist.
Yanks
Fri, Oct 16, 2015, 7:40am (UTC -6)
Nissa,

Racist? ... come on...

Andy1,

It's not "anti-Vulcan"... it's all about the competition between Sisko and Solok and Sisko's personal distain for him.
Ben
Wed, Oct 28, 2015, 2:44pm (UTC -6)
1 Star from me. We don't care about baseball in Europe but that wasn't even my main preblem with that episode. So this Vulcan is a racist and even writes about it which is pretty odd. And all these : "Oh look they can't play baseball." scenes were so over the top. And why would the other Vulcans help Solok in his stupid endevour. Ok, so he is kind of an anti human racist but how did he convince his team mates ?? Hey guys I really want to beat this human captain I had a fight with at the academy so let us train baseball because that would really hurt him. What are these guys ? vulcan sociapath ?
Chrome
Fri, Nov 13, 2015, 4:25pm (UTC -6)
@Ben

It's not like you needed to be a baseball aficionado to enjoy this episode. The show panders to casual sports fans and even goes out of the way explain sports terms that the characters themselves admit are foreign.

As for Solok, maybe his crew exclusively deals with Vulcan system matters and its crew needs a strong familiarity with Vulcan social and political affairs; things that other species find boring.
Dusty
Tue, Dec 1, 2015, 6:02pm (UTC -6)
I instantly dislike Solok, but not for the reasons I'm supposed to. More like "this cold, arrogant racist is supposed to be a Vulcan?!" Since when is Vulcan pride based in anything but the functionality of their own logic-based society? It's not about their species being superior; it's about having a system that works for them and naturally they want to promote it. Sisko claiming that Vulcans lack heart is almost as bad. This series really didn't know what to do with Vulcans, it seems. Only a few of them, such as Sakonna in Season 2, seemed authentic.

Racial bollocks aside, this episode worked okay when it focused on baseball. Odo was great as the umpire, Ezri's backflip off the wall was cool (must've been channeling Emony there), and it was reasonable that the DS9 crew lost badly but still gained something from the experience. I won't go back to it often, but it's a decent filler episode.
Conor
Fri, Dec 4, 2015, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
I couldn't stop smiling for the entirety of this episode. Comedy gold. Full marks from me.
Jack
Sat, Jan 2, 2016, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
Ben say "every one of you was watched a baseball game with me in the holosuite".

Really? Even Quark? Rom? Leeta?
Jack
Sat, Jan 2, 2016, 5:15pm (UTC -6)
And...O'Brien needs more time to recover from a joint injury than Quark needs from having his skull smashed?
Louis
Sat, Jan 9, 2016, 5:58pm (UTC -6)
Worf's "Death to the opposition" is the greatest line in all of star trek, i laughed for quite a while after that.
Worf
Sun, Jan 31, 2016, 2:27pm (UTC -6)
Well, here it is. The worst DS9 episode. Yes, worse than Profit and Lace or Let He Who Is Without Sin (neither of which I found that bad).

First, the absurd premise that they would spend 3 weeks doing this during wartime is absolutely ridiculous. The waste of episode space at this crucial time is criminal when they should be building up to the finale.
Secondly, Sisko's spiel about Solok writing academic psychology papers based on a single isolated incident (wrestling matches) is laughable and should dismiss any claims that Vulcans are the 'superior' species. No one with any basic knowledge about psychology or science in general would accept that you can draw any conclusions from a few spats between Starfleet cadets.
Thirdly, baseball is one of the dumbest and dullest recreations to ever grace the planet and yet the episode assumes we all find it enthralling. The whimsical music when the team is practicing, forcing upon you feelings of 'look! they're hopeless! isn't it amusing?' made me cringe every time.
Finally, was there any doubt that Sisko would somehow emerge triumphant?
I get the episode's intention, that a group of alien races in the future playing an antiquated sport is somehow charming, but it completely fails and instead irritates and grates on the viewer. A terrible episode, completely irrelevant to the series and Star Trek and failing on every count.
petulant
Tue, Feb 2, 2016, 4:05pm (UTC -6)
@Worf

Somebody at DS9 had a thing for baseball, i forget who, possibly Ron Moore,

Cirroc Lofton probably got the part of Jake Sisko because his uncle was Kenny Lofton a Major League Baseball veteran, if that's true it's a bit sad that instead of looking for the best young actor for the part they just picked him for his baseball connection!
Max Grodenchik was a baseball player who considered going pro before becoming an actor so i have to wonder if he also got the part of Rom because of that.
William B
Tue, Feb 2, 2016, 5:53pm (UTC -6)
I think Michael Piller was the biggest baseball fan on staff, and along with Behr probably most responsible for s1 casting. Ron Moore didn't work on the show until season three.
Diamond Dave
Sat, Feb 20, 2016, 8:02am (UTC -6)
"What flavour did you infuse it with?"
"Scotch."

Yes it's fluff, and yes it's a walking, talking, swinging cliche, but damn isn't this fun? What's not to like about Odo practicing his umpire's moves? Are there three better Worf lines than "We will destroy them", "Death to the opposition", and "Find him and kill him"?

And to its credit it doesn't follow the ultimate cliche and have the misfit team triumph against the odds - indeed finding the triumph in the small victories is a worthy lesson in itself.

No, it's not the Magnificent Ferengi. But it's a fine addition to the comic stories. 3 stars.
William B
Tue, Mar 22, 2016, 3:21pm (UTC -6)
First things first: this episode is intended to be light and fun. I didn't enjoy it much, but if I *did* enjoy it, many of the criticisms I have would fade away. The stakes are low and it's an episode that's all in good fun, where the main message is to have fun. So I am opening myself up to "don't take it so seriously" criticisms, and all I can say is that I didn't really enjoy the fluff of the episode, and if I did, well, my take would maybe be different. Maybe if I liked baseball more, I guess. Even then, I love The Simpsons' "Homer at the Bat" to pieces, which is a deft masterpiece of comic invention, fast-paced, weirdly subversive, surreal and full of unforgettable sequences. I didn't particularly feel any of those with this episode.

I think the reason that O'Brien's "scotch" line is cute is that it puts a 24th century twist on a 20th century concept. Along those lines, I also like Worf's lines, which add an over the top element to baseball chatter -- though the idea of Bashir and Ezri going "hey batter batter" still makes me cringe, it's worth it for the "DEATH TO THE OPPOSITION" punchline. These are moments which have reactions very specific to the characters. There is a similar attempt with Ezri’s acrobatics, which to some degree plays in with her arc of integrating other lives with difficulty. To some degree, other jokes in the episode are supposed to do that -- but they seem pretty hoary to me. The montage of people trying to make sense of baseball's weird rules, especially the infield fly rule. The montage of people being bad at baseball for a long time. People are injured. The opposing team is really, really great and Our Heroes don't seem to stand a chance. And, oh my, that *bunt* of Rom's at the end is incredibly painful to watch -- really? He holds his bad like that, the pitcher throws it straight to the ball? And the slow motion? Nog dramatically sliding in? The musical score letting us know how funny everything is. And the payoffs within the game to what has been established earlier, Ezri's improbable gymnastics right on cue. Eesh. I will say that once it got to the baseball game itself it was a little more tolerable, if only because it seemed to go further off the very standard sports movie script -- the Vulcan failing to cross home and Nog having to try to tag one was indeed a pretty unusual play. For the most part though I did not particularly feel any urge to see these characters playing baseball, and the episode, as it went on, continued failing to let me know why I should.

Anyway, onto my criticisms. For starters: the war. Look. I get it, not every episode has to do with the war. And yes, sometimes there are sports games between platoons or whatever during wartime. But the episode even begins with:

SOLOK: My second, actually. The T'Kumbra has been in combat for over six months. Spending time behind the lines will be a welcome change.
SISKO: This isn't exactly a safe harbour. We have seen our share of action.
SOLOK: Of course you have.

What better way to demonstrate how much action the crew sees than having the entire senior staff spend two weeks learning a new game and getting significant injuries (like Quark getting a *broken skull*) from being pushed too hard? I guess probably they were doing their jobs some of the time, but the episode sure makes it seem otherwise. It is hard for me to square this episode with those episodes where Sisko is essentially put in charge of entire fleets, is allowed to be the person who starts wars, gets Starfleet approval to personally deceive a key foreign state into alliance, or is the person planning invasions of Cardassia. But more than the logistics, for Sisko to get this wrapped up in something this petty *at this time* runs so far counter to the tone taken in episodes like Statistical Probabilities, In the Pale Moonlight or Tears of the Prophets, where there are daily casualty lists dropping in an Sisko feels every decision as carrying the weight of thousands or millions of lives. It would be one thing if this were a lull in the war, but we just had Damar and Weyoun saying that they turned things around in Image in the Sand/Shadows and Symbols, though maybe we are supposed to assume that the Rotarran attack (and maybe stopping the Pah-Wraiths, somehow) totally undid that. It is not that I require Sisko to be tormented for the rest of his life, but so much of season six and the premiere eps depends on Sisko being driven by circumstances into despair and even into hugely immoral acts (deceiving an entire nation, murder), and those circumstances have not particularly changed. Yes, the Romulans are on their side now, but, hello, still war? Still death? I was somewhat hoping there was an alternate version of this episode where Solok had no intention of playing a baseball game, but was simply using this as an excuse to make fun of Sisko by demonstrating how little work gets done on these human-run space stations.

Speaking of.... OK, so Solok is overtly racist against humans and other emotional beings. Solok’s racism takes the form of petty bullying, to the point where he will spend weeks of his and his crew’s time *during wartime* to learn a sport that interests virtually no one except his rival just so that he can then beat him. That Sisko has a chip on his shoulder about Solok is understandable given Solok’s behaviour, but we are given no indication of why Solok is such an asshole, first of all, but more to the point why he became so fixated on *Sisko*, to the point where he is still picking on him decades later, and going *so far out of his way* to do so. Why would Solok care about some Earth sport? How could Solok even claim to anyone that he was doing anything other than continuing some old rivalry? Look, bullies pick on people, I get it, and I can accept for the moment that Solok is such a bully—but for him to be so fixated on Sisko that he quotes that one incident again and again, and then goes through these hoops specifically to humiliate Sisko, only makes sense to me if he really does have some particular stake in Sisko and what Sisko thinks of him, rather than some sort of generic jerkiness. I have no idea what he thinks he is accomplishing—Sisko’s clichés aside, yes, Vulcans are going to be better at most sports than humans, so it’s not as if any people are going to change their mind and agree that Vulcans truly are the superior species specifically because of their relative skill in some ancient human sport like no one has heard of. So it is ONLY to put Sisko in his place. Why would this Vulcan guy have that kind of obsession with him? Given Sisko’s periodic bursts of rage, I actually wonder if Solok doesn’t have a more fundamental reason to dislike Sisko and to want revenge on him, which would not be “logical” in the Vulcan sense but would at least explain that this is a two-way rivalry rather than, as Sisko seems to indicate, a decades-long bullying campaign which Sisko reluctantly agrees to fight back on. In any case, it may simply be that Solok is that insecure, that his two Christopher Pike medals are not enough to convince him that he is worthwhile, and he needs to crush Sisko on the game that only Sisko and no one else he knows cares about to prove it again. I guess here it probably comes down to: Solok probably resents that Sisko is given such high position in tactical planning for the quadrant and seemingly by chance happened to have the “luck” of being assigned to a station where he ends up discovering a wormhole and becoming a messiah figure. Still, to put it mildly, this is not how I expect Vulcans to behave, nor how I expect Starfleet captains to behave. I’m hoping that the journals in which he uses that wrestling match to write racist screeds at least aren’t peer-reviewed.

But fine, I guess some Vulcans and some Starfleet captains are racist asshole petty bullies who go out of their way to pick on the same guy for decades. What is his crew doing? What do they think the point of this exercise is? Of course, we never hear any of them speak, because it’s much cheaper to pay non-speaking extras I guess. One of the Vulcans seems to be hanging out with Nog at the very end (“That’s my dad,” Nog says, and the Vulcan is unreadable). I guess it’s possible that Solok simply ordered them to play baseball for him. Now, it may be that Vulcans really buy that baseball is this great spiritual, physical and intellectual exercise which is absolutely not a waste of their time, in which case they may be in this for the sport. Or is there a whole senior staff full of Vulcans who are waiting for the chance to use “baseball, that game that humans stopped caring about decades ago” to “prove” to…those humans and friends, that Vulcans are better? Has Solok actually curated not only a seemingly all-Vulcan crew (or at least all-Vulcan senior staff), but a set of Vulcans who both believe in Vulcans being the master race AND are going to go prove it using this bizarre metric? I gather we are supposed to think that at least some of these Vulcans are assholes too—that one runner who pushed Kira over, for example, and also that weird play where one of the Vulcans failed to hit home and then hid out for a while in an attempt to trick Nog. Oh well. Unlike the Vulcan crew, I do get why the DS9 crew decide to start playing baseball to start with—it sounds like fun and they know their captain likes it. That they keep going after Quark gets his skull broken (!) is a bit hard for me to believe. But anyway, fine. So maybe the Vulcan opposition is similar—they are willing to participate in what activities their captain suggests. Maybe they just don’t know that his primary motivation is being a racist?

Sisko volunteering his crew to face Solok to prove that they are superior bothers me on a few levels. One because he shouldn’t just volunteer his crew like that. (At least, though, when he volunteers his crew, it’s people who are actually on the station, unlike when he later “pulls some strings” to rearrange his girlfriend’s life, seemingly without telling her that he was the one to do so.) Two because he really is holding onto a decades-old rivalry and is now dragging his entire crew into it. And three because it’s *obviously* doomed to failure. I mean, the origin story for him and Solok is him, as a drunken cadet, agreeing to a wrestling match with him. So now decades later, while ostensibly older and more sober, he agrees to another match with Vulcans, when they have superior hand-eye coordination and speed and everything? When also Solok has apparently had his crew train for a long while before now? Yes, okay, I get it, rivalries sometimes follow patterns and Ben keeps falling for Solok’s crap, but it was literally the FIRST MISTAKE he made with Solok which, according to Sisko’s story, was the thing that led him to be the butt of psychology papers for decades. And even if Sisko fails to see that, it seems weird to me that the crew’s reaction to Kasidy telling them about this is to fully understand Sisko’s perspective and to agree that they should work harder to defeat the Vulcans to prove their worth. No? I don’t quite know why they think that they stand a chance in the first place, but more than that they accept the whole premise that somehow whoever wins at baseball wins at life. Which would be one thing IF they were baseball fans, in a culture where baseball is universally valued, and where people *more or less* were on an equal (figurative) playing field. Anyway, Solok is obviously motivated by racism, insofar as his motives are legible. Sisko hating Solok is pretty reasonable and not a racism thing, I think. However, it is not that reassuring when he says “…and if there is one thing our Vulcan friends lack, it’s heart!”

Anyway. The message, as it were, is that actually the thing that’s more important in baseball is to have fun. And this extends beyond baseball to just, I guess, life, or whatever, and Sisko finally escapes the rivalry by laughing off Solok’s smug superiority. An impression I get from the episode is that the NINERS vs. LOGICIANS face-off *is* supposed to “say something” about the two teams; the Vulcans are all totally uniform and all look nearly identical (becoming a plot point when Nog can’t tell them apart), whereas the DS9 crew is multi-species and have huge differences amongst them. The Vulcans have all the skill and strength and speed, but the DS9 really do have HEART!!! They lose, because heart isn’t enough, etc., but they can feel good about themselves because they’re a motley crew of individuals, even if they’re not “the best.” On some level, this ending rubs me wrong for a very weird reason. The thing is, yes, it’s true that the DS9 crew are a ragtag bunch of misfits in a sense, but they are also characters whom the show also puts on absurd pedestals at times—with Sisko being a primary architect of the war and, as we found out a couple of episodes ago, practically a demigod. Failure Rom, whom Sisko is generous enough to accept at the last minute, may be a screw-up but he also saved the quadrant with the self-replicating mines. Julian is the youngest Carrington nominee in history. Etc. Before the Dominion War, when this was just some outpost “no one had heard of” (as Gowron said), the crew as a set of extreme underdogs would feel more right, somehow, but while they are worse at baseball than Vulcans, I don’t really think they *are* underdogs. They have some of the most important jobs in the quadrant, and until this episode at no point did it seem like inferiority to Vulcans was something that was on their minds much. The need to create an all-Vulcan senior staff led by a racist bully in order to convincingly make the DS9 crew the downtrodden compared to other Starfleet crews kind of underscores my problem. By contrast, The Magnificent Ferengi I thought did a good job of making the gang convincingly underdogs for comic effect.

Anyway, I can suspend by disbelief on some of this. It’s not that big a deal, and that the crew rallies around Sisko in some old rivalry, I guess, demonstrates their loyalty to him. The baseball-station 2001 moment at the end was weird, but the emphasis on togetherness for the DS9 crew is maybe appropriate in season seven, even if I don’t know if I like how this episode did it (and I’m not sure if another fun-romp episode like Budda Bing Budda Bang was a good idea). And if I enjoyed it more, I’d be more forgiving. But you know. I don’t even know how to rate this. I guess 1.5 stars, but it all feels very arbitrary.
William B
Tue, Mar 22, 2016, 3:26pm (UTC -6)
To justify 1.5 stars rather than LOWER here are a few other things of note here: yes, it does get points for avoiding having the crew actually win against impossible odds. There is something poignant about Rom's accepting that he's not good enough, and the implication that he and Nog do bond with each other. (Though there, I do find it very sad that Rom has to join some sport that humans stopped playing a long time ago in order to spend some time with him. :( :( :( ) The Federation anthem is kind of cool to hear, though at the same time it highlights how padded this episode is. And while I find most of the baseball cliches grating, I do appreciate some of the sense of the crew having fun. It is good that Jake gets something to do in a season which mostly pushes him aside.

Then when I start talking about that I think of how ridiculous it is that the ENTIRE TEAM starts doing the signal for bunt as a secret or how Kasidy manages to call a meeting in the Ward Room without Ben knowing or that Quark is convinced to start playing some game which fits in with exactly none of his interests (except, I guess, "competition" In the abstract) because Leeta says it's a game of HEART and I just get annoyed all over again.
methane
Thu, Aug 4, 2016, 10:44pm (UTC -6)
I think this episode goes well in a war season. No, the characters aren't spending all their waking hours for weeks playing baseball. I feel safe assuming the crew are performing their normal duties while this episode takes place, but are coming together for a few hours each night to learn & practice baseball. Sports are a staple diversion during for soldiers during war. I've known several people who have been to war, and they've mentioned that sports were one thing that occupied their downtime. In the comment above K'Elvis mentions a specific historic example, but many accounts of the daily lives of soldiers around the world mention them playing sports. You can even find examples of allied armies stationed together playing each other's sports, as in this episode.

While I've never been to war, I do have some first hand knowledge of what it's like trying to explain a sport or game to people unfamiliar with it. Having lived on a few different continents, I've had the experience of being regularly questioned about anything considered "American". In fact, I can recall one instance where someone asked me to explain some particular baseball rule (I think I failed to make it any clearer for her). So I have some sympathy with Sisko trying to explain the sport, and the various reactions the characters have to it seem true to life (some were interested in it; some didn't care except to try and win for the captain).

A pleasantly diverting episode that actually felt mostly true to life for me, with some expected ridiculousness for comedic affect. The Vulcan with a personal grudge against Sisko doesn't seem out-of-line with the portrayal of non-Spock Vulcans over the years for me. Overall, I agree with Jammer's 3 star grade here.
Toony
Sun, Aug 7, 2016, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
Now that I think about it, Solok was much like a romulan, I guess he skipped a few meditaion rituals or was close to Pon Farr or something.
Latex Zebra
Thu, Sep 22, 2016, 7:23am (UTC -6)
This was better second time round.
Solok is an annoying prick and very un-Vulcan.
Did find myself chuckling more this time round. Maybe a 2... 2.5.
RJ
Thu, Oct 6, 2016, 9:35pm (UTC -6)
An ok episode, and the reason for it, something the reviewer missed is that after a number of grim episodes, some levity is required. See: You are cordially invited and the Magnificent Ferengi. But I didn't like it as much. There is something that really bothers me about the post-GR/Rick Berman era of ST. RB really HATES Vulcans. Look at how they are portrayed in TNG and DS9, not very flatteringly. I hated Troi's "Vulcan's suppress their emotions" nonsense from TNG(it's controlled, not suppressed, suppressed is a term filled with negative and unhealthy connotations). Every time we see Vulcans they are either a prat, like the one playing the Chief in darts, a psycho, in season 7's Vulcan mass murder ep or this one where a Vulcan is written as a blatant racist and all the other Vulcans are nameless cardboard cutouts. These are not the Vulcans of TOS.

Submit a comment





Notify me about new comments on this page
Hide my e-mail on my post

◄ Season Index

▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2016 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. See site policies.