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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 07 E 04 Take Me Out To The Holosuite

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"Y'ERRRRRR OUTTA HEEEEEERE!!!"
Sisko is in his ready room when Kira calls. The T'Kumbra, recently returned from the front lines, has docked at DS9. Its Vulcan captain, Solok, wants to see him. The two are already acquainted, it seems. The conversation is a bit... stiffer than usual between fellow officers.

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.
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They talk shop for a bit, subtly exchanging barbs, until Solok casually steers the conversation to a different topic. He wants a holosuite for his crew (all Vulcans, by the way) to enjoy a new program they've been running, based on an Earth game that perhaps Sisko is familiar with.

Baseball.

Sisko calls the senior staff to the ward room. Solok's crew has challenged them to a competition in two weeks. The crew is enthusiastic, but there's just one problem: none of them have ever played baseball before. Just learning all the rules and jargon is giving them a tough time.

The initial team, which they call the Niners, consists of Sisko, Jake, Kira, O'Brien, Worf, Bashir, Ezri, and Nog. Leeta and Rom volunteer soon after, and even manage to goad Quark into giving it a try. Odo is not playing; Sisko instead wants him to be the umpire, both because it will be more authentic than an AI umpire and because of his impeccable sense of fairness. Odo can hardly decline after a compliment like that.

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The first practice goes about as well as one would expect, with half of them ending up in the infirmary, but they're making progress. Everyone except for Rom, who can hardly remember which side of the bat to hold. After several days of this, Sisko eventually runs out of patience and kicks him off the team. This isn't received well by the others. They can't understand why Sisko insists on taking this so seriously. Kasidy, also a baseball enthusiast, has just joined the team after returning from a freighter run. She's determined to find out what the deal is with her boyfriend, and she can tell it has to do with Solok.

It all started at the Academy, when Solok's insistence on Vulcan superiority over "emotionally handicapped" humans got under Sisko's skin. With the kind of judgment that comes with a night of drinking, Sisko challenged him to a wrestling match to settle the matter. Well, Vulcans are three times stronger than humans, as well as much faster. You do the math. Sisko himself admits that he deserved the broken bones and bruised ego, and would have been willing to put it behind him. Unfortunately, the rivalry didn't end there. Ever since then, Solok has taken every opportunity to remind the galaxy of that day.

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Kasidy: You don't mean he was gloating. A Vulcan?
Sisko: That's exactly what I mean! He may have hidden it beneath that Vulcan calm, but he loved every minute of it. [...] He doesn't care about baseball. All he wants to do is rub my nose it in one more time. But now he is using my game. My game!

Sisko is too embarrassed by his motives to tell the rest of the Niners why this game is so personal to him. At his insistence, Kasidy promises not to tell them. So, of course, she immediately tells them. They all agree that Solok is a Jerkass who deserves to be taken down a peg.

Game day arrives. Both teams line up on the holographic field for the Federation anthem before the game begins.

Odo: Play ball!

Things don't start out so well for the Niners. By the fifth inning they haven't scored once, with only Jake's pitching keeping the Vulcans from reaching double digits. It looks like they may have their chance when Kira gets on base until Worf, with a full count, unexpectedly strikes out. He and Sisko dispute Odo's call rather emphatically, but he refuses to yield to them. Sisko loses his temper and jabs Odo angrily with his finger. Big mistake.

Odo: "No player shall at any time make contract with the umpire in any manner. The prescribed penalty for the violation is immediate ejection from the game." Rule number 4.08, subsection A, paragraph 4. Look it up, but do it in the stands. You're gone!

O'Brien takes over while Sisko goes to stew in the bleachers a few rows down from Rom, who has been loyally cheering the Niners on all by himself this whole time. As the game continues and Sisko cools off a bit, he makes a decision...

Sisko: Chief! Call time out.
O'Brien: Why?
Sisko: You're making a substitution.

And so at the bottom of the Ninth, with Nog on third, Rom comes out in uniform. It's not the best time for their worst player to take the plate, but that's not the point, and everyone cheers him on as he awkwardly shuffles forward. Two strikes later and it's not looking good, until O'Brien considers that maybe Rom can bunt Nog in for the run. They try to give the hand signal, but he only stares back at them, confused. The Vulcan pitcher, tired of waiting, throws the ball... which through sheer dumb luck ricochets off the distracted Rom's bat.

Nog slides into home and the Niners go wild, lifting Rom up on their shoulders! Annoyed by this disruption, Solok tries to get Odo's attention, briefly grabbing his arm before realizing his mistake. Odo tosses him off of the field like he did to Sisko (though with a sly grin on top).

The Niners lose 10-1, but celebrate at Quark's as though it were a victory. They know how stacked the odds were against them, and so does Solok, who seems chagrined by how much fun they're having. He tries to maintain his haughty attitude, reminding them that Rom got lucky and they're still the losers, but the Niners don't care. They laugh their opponents out of the bar, share a round of drinks, and Kira tosses Sisko a gift: a baseball signed by the team.

This episode contains examples of

  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Rom was initially kicked off the team for being legendarily awful at baseball. Near the end of the game, with nothing to lose, Sisko makes Rom the pinch hitter.
  • Accidental Hero: Rom successfully bunts by pure accident.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Cadet Sisko's idea to challenge Solok to a wrestling match. Looking back, Sisko himself admits how stupid it was.
  • Answer Cut: Jake asks his father who he plans to get to fill an empty spot on the team. Cut to him welcoming Kasidy back to the station right before making the recruiting pitch.
  • Baseball Episode: With Sisko's obsession it had to happen eventually.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Sisko's reaction when Odo ejects him for violating the hands-off-the-umpire rule.
  • 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". It's to the point where he commands one of the very few front-line starships in The Federation that's manned by only one species. In addition, 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!
  • Foregone Conclusion: A team of Vulcans who are naturally stronger than most humanoid races and have been practicing baseball for some time already, versus three human baseball fans and their Ragtag Team of Misfits who only just recently started training, of whom only the Klingon and the genetically-enhanced doctor are any physical match for said Vulcans. Sisko's team never really had a chance.
  • Game of Nerds: The crew is baffled and incredulous at baseball's many rules, exceptions, and complexities.
    • The game is so complex and difficult to play that the Vulcans enjoy it.
  • 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.
  • Graceful Loser: Even though Sisko and his team got curbstomped, they take their defeat in stride and, in fact, celebrate a well-played game and the one point they managed to get from Rom's accidental Bunt, to Solok's chagrin.
  • Gretzky Has the Ball: To be expected from a group of people who don't share the Sisko obsession with baseball.
    Quark: And you can barely spin a dabo wheel, much less kick a ball around a field.
    Leeta: Shows how much you know. You don't kick the ball. (to Ezri) Do you?
  • 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.
  • Large Ham: Odo really takes to his position as umpire. As does Worf with equal enthusiasm, especially when there comes a call for "infield chatter."
  • Lighter and Softer: A meta example — David Bell is one of the Darker and Edgier composers for this era of Trek. This is one of the rare comedy episodes that he scores.
  • 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.
  • Oh, Crap!: A subdued one when Solok grabs Odo's shoulder while protesting the Niners' celebration of their only run, and then remembers that touching the umpire is forbidden. Odo, of course, is more than happy to eject him.
  • 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.
  • Pet the Dog: Sisko brings back the holographic crowds to cheer Rom on when he goes to bat.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Niners: the Captain of DS9, his son, his freighter captain girlfriend, the station's former-insurgent first officer, a genetically-augmented doctor, a perennially unlucky engineer, a proud Klingon, a Trill who just inherited the Dax symbiont, a Dabo girl, and three Ferengi. Of this motley crew, only Sisko and his family have any experiece with baseball, and one of the Ferengi is so hilariously inept at the game that he gets thrown off the team (until the very end).
  • Reality Ensues:
    • What happens when a team of mostly 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.
    • And on a similar note, what happens when a drunk human challenges a sober Vulcan with three times his strength to a wrestling match? He gets his ass kicked.
  • 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.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Rom's number is 13. 'Nuff said.
  • 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. Also Solok's crew, who are probably only playing to please their captain, just like Sisko's crew is doing for him. The Vulcans even attend the after game party.
  • Walking Disaster Area: After the first practice, half the team is in the infirmary being treated for various injuries. Turns out that Rom was responsible for most of them. (The exception is Ezri, who tried to channel Emony's gymnastics and failed.)
  • 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.
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