Dominion War, take a break. It's time to PLAY BALL!!! Solok, an old academy rival of Sisko, shows up with a challenge that the captain can't possibly refuse: a game of baseball. However, Sisko's assumed home-field advantage might not be enough to overcome the Vulcans' inherent advantages in strength, speed, and snark. The crew will have to dig deep to grind out a victory, any kind of victory, to knock these logic-obsessed bullies off their pointy-eared pedestal.
This episode contains examples of
- Accidental Hero: Rom successfully bunts by pure accident.
- Baseball Episode: With Sisko's obsession it had to happen eventually.
- Breather Episode: A comedy episode after some very heavy material.
- Champions on the Inside: The match was by no means close, but considering the odds, even the single score by the Niners is enough to take the piss out of the Vulcans.
- Chekhov's Classroom: Some of the baseball terms discussed early in the episode come into play during the game, like the "Fancy Dan" and the bunt.
- Curb-Stomp Battle:
- The Vulcans win, 10-1. Not that the Niners care at the end.
- Sisko talks about receiving one from Solok in a wrestling match back at the academy. The fact that Sisko was drunk didn't help.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Ezri automatically defers to her memories of Emony the gymnast, with painful results. But it works when she pulls off a "Fancy Dan" by running up the wall to grab a would-be home run.
- Everybody Laughs Ending: In which the team gets Solok's goat.
- Fantastic Racism: Solok considers other humanoids inferior to Vulcans, hidden under a thin veneer of "logic". In fact, he repeatedly refers to the Niners as 'humans' despite the team including three Ferengi, a Trill, a Klingon and two Bajorans. At one point, Ezri responds "Did I forget to wear my spots today?"'Quark': All that intelligence and he doesn't know what a human looks like!
- Game of Nerds: The crew is baffled and incredulous at baseball's many rules, exceptions, and complexities.
- Gilligan Cut: Benjamin makes Kasidy promise not to tell anyone the story of why he and Solok don't get along.Kasidy: I promise.
(cut to Kasidy with the Niners)
Kasidy: He made me promise not to tell you, so you'll have to keep it under your hats.
- It's Personal: Sisko quickly starts obsessing over turning his staff into a good team and beating Solok, which they don't approve of until they find out why he hates Solok so much.
- Jerkass Has a Point: It may seem like Sisko picked up the Jerkass Ball when he kicks Rom off the team, but Rom himself admits that he's not a good player, meaning that he's more of a liability than an asset.
- Ludicrous Precision: Gets brought up in Sisko's office:Sisko: It's been a long time.
Solok: Ten years, two months, five days.
Sisko: You mean you don't know it to the minute?
Solok: Of course I do. But humans are often irked by such precision. Especially the more emotional humans.
- The Mutiny: The Niners almost start one when Rom gets thrown off the team. Rom himself defuses it.
- National Anthem: We finally hear the Federation anthem before the game starts.
- Percussive Therapy: Kasidy invites Sisko to indulge in this, since he looks like he wants to. Instead, he calms down and tells her why he's so mad.
- Reality Ensues: What happens when a team of untrained people with two weeks of experience try to challenge a trained and coordinated team of experienced players (who also happen to be stronger and faster)? They lose. It doesn't stop them from having fun, though.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Odo is named umpire because he is the only one who will be completely impartial. This is later evidenced when he ejects an out-of-control Sisko.
- Rules Lawyer: Odo, who quotes paragraph and subsection as he ejects Sisko and later ejects Solok for the same infraction.
- School Yard Bully All Grown Up: Solok. Apparently he built his entire academic career around continuing to taunt Benjamin Sisko.
- Serious Business: Worf and his "infield chatter.""Death to the opposition!"
- Also, when told the Vulcan's player didn't touch the plate: "Find him and kill him!"
- Upon being told that the station's crew was challenged to a game: "We will destroy them."
- Serious Business: For Sisko.
- Smug Smiler: Odo when he gets to eject Solok.
- Society Marches On: When Odo umpires the baseball game, he sends Sisko off for touching him, referencing rule 4.06. In 2016, Major League Baseball renumbered all of its rules so they were in a more coherent order, and the rule is now 6.04.
- Odo, being the Rules Lawyer that he is, could still have had access to the original numbering of the rules. Considering the game is all but extinct, it could be reasonable that Sisko wrote the program to play on a more historical field (nothing beyond the Federation Flag and Anthem would look out of place from a 90s field) and Odo used rules as written from that time for accuracy's sake.
- "Stop Having Fun" Guys: Sisko, at first - in universe. He berates the team for not being as worked up about the game as he is, and even kicks Rom off for his Epic Fail attempts at baseball. After getting kicked out of the game himself, however, he realizes that it's just a game, and relaxes so as to take pride in his team, win or lose.
- Straw Vulcan: Solok.
- Team Hand-Stack: Done by the Niners (minus Sisko) when vowing to help him defeat Solok.
- The Cast Show Off: Inverted. Max Grodénchik, who plays Rom, was a semi-professional baseball player in high school, and the only way he could play as badly as Rom was by playing left-handed.
- Training Montage: With plenty of Improvised Training off the diamond.
- Underdogs Always Win: Averted. They lose, but after Rom's bunt and Nog's run, the Niners celebrate as though they had.
- Villainy-Free Villain: Solok isn't evil, but he is a Jerkass to the core. He teaches his crew baseball for no other reason than to humiliate Sisko at his favorite game.
- We Win Because You Did Not: By the end the Niners are celebrating their victory for getting a single point past the Vulcans, depriving Solok of the crushing victory he wanted. This makes him completely lose his cool.
- You Are in Command Now: O'Brien takes charge of the Niners after Sisko gets ejected.