Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Take Me Out to the Holosuite   Rewatch 
October 13, 2016 3:17 AM - Season 7, Episode 4 - Subscribe

It looked extremely rocky for the Deep Space nine that day: / The score stood oh to ten with just an inning left to play…

Todaydayday I consider Memory AlphaAlphaAlpha the nerdiest sitesitesite on the face of the EarthEarthEarth:

- Captain Sisko wore a San Francisco Giants baseball cap during practice, while Jake wore an Atlanta Braves cap. Cirroc Lofton is the nephew of Major League Baseball player Kenny Lofton, who the season before this episode was filmed (1997) had played for the Braves, and would later play for the Giants.

- Max Grodénchik, although he was playing the worst player on the team, was in fact the best baseball player among all of DS9's regular and recurring cast. Grodénchik was a semi-professional in high school and considered going full professional before deciding to become an actor. In fact, Grodénchik was literally incapable of playing as badly as he was supposed to, which is why Rom plays left-handed; it was the only way Grodénchik could avoid looking like a skilled player trying to play like a bad player. Avery Brooks, Cirroc Lofton, Armin Shimerman, and Aron Eisenberg are all also talented players. Nana Visitor was by far the worst player.

- The original airing of this episode coincided closely with the 1998 World Series. Ronald D. Moore commented, "We knew it would air close to the series, but didn't know it would be the same week."

- Ira Behr was a little disappointed with how this episode turned out, stating "If there's anything about the show I don't think was successful, it's that we didn't do enough with the Vulcans. The lead protagonist – who comes in so strong at the beginning – is absent through big chunks of the episode. We didn't realize it until we saw a rough cut of the show, and by then it was too late. So the structure is weird. The thing with Sisko and the Vulcan goes about halfway through the show, and then it becomes Rom's story. And the fact that the show works as well as it does is due to Max, who really makes you care about Rom."

- Armin Shimerman commented "For years, we've seen Sisko's baseball on his desk, and it's a symbol for a lot of things. It's really nice to finally get around to actually having a baseball episode. We all had a wonderful time, the crew especially, because they got to play ball during their lunch break and it was nice to have a week out at the park. The episode was directed by Chip Chalmers, who also directed "The Magnificent Ferengi". As I said to him early in the shooting, the plots of both episodes are relatively similar, so it will be interesting to see if people see the connection".

- Brent Spiner cited DS9's "baseball episode" as one of the more unusual episodes of Star Trek.

- This episode marks the first and only time the Anthem of the United Federation of Planets is played on-screen.

- In the episode "Afterimage", Ezri states that she is left handed; however, in this episode she both throws and bats right handed. This could be consistent with her stated difficulty in sorting out her prior lifetimes and when their skills and abilities take over.

- The original series episode "The Immunity Syndrome" also featured a Federation starship completely manned by Vulcans, the USS Intrepid, which was destroyed in 2268 by a giant space amoeba.

- The rule quoted by Odo to Sisko regarding contact with an umpire was the actual number of the rule in the Major League Baseball rulebook (Rule 4.06, Subsection A, Paragraph 4) at the time the episode was filmed. In 2015, the rules were reorganized. The current rule is 6.04(a)(4).


"Which is why when their captain challenged us to a contest of courage, teamwork and sacrifice, I accepted on your behalf."
"We will destroy them."

- Sisko and Worf


"Computer, eliminate the spectators!"

- Solok, after hearing Benjamin Sisko's request


"They just... chewed it?"
"No, they infused the gum with flavor."
"What flavor did you infuse it with?"
"Scotch."

- Julian Bashir and Miles O'Brien, about chewing gum


"Alright, Niners, let's hear some chatter."
"Hey, batter, batter, batter, batter, batter."
"Hey, batter, batter, batter, batter, batter, batter, batter."
"Death to the opposition!"

- Kasidy, Leeta, and Worf, responding to Benjamin Sisko's instruction
posted by CheesesOfBrazil (19 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is a strange episode, it's not very good, but it's also kinda fun. There are, as posted in the FPP, some funny quotes in it - the "Scotch" line by O'Brien is particularly good, and the way the crew interact and come together is well done; but it is clear they are going to lose from early on. They get so far behind that you are thinking there is surely no way back barring some sort of holosuite malfunction, and when do they ever happen, hey?

The other issue is that baseball is very American, it isn't really played anywhere else, so the cultural aspect is not the same for anyone from a non-baseball country.

And the lack of Vulcans in it weakens it further, you just see their scores go up. And for the whole thing to be a spat between Sisko and the Vulcan guy just made it worse. The whole crew go along with it as well.

The obligatory training montage isn't too bad, but again, not a highlight of season 7. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the WKRP "Baseball" episode is actually better than this, and that is one of the weakest episodes of WKRP.

Great to see Kassidy Yates back in the show though - Penny Johnson is so good as Yates, and the way she talks and interacts with Sisko is fantastic.
posted by marienbad at 5:21 AM on October 13, 2016 [2 favorites]


I also agree that more should have been done with the Vulcans. One of the many things that I like about DS9 is that it subverted the Our Elves Are Better trope [TVTropes], which was always somewhat present in the various series (Sarek is not-great toward the Tellarite ambassador in "Journey to Babel"), more so in some of the novels, and especially so in a lot of fanfic. We previously saw Sakonna in "The Maquis", and later this season will meet one with some serious problems in "Field of Fire", and here we've got Solok, who's got such a ridonkulous hard-on for Sisko that it's disappointing that someone didn't recognize it earlier and try to get to him through that, in the manner of Quark manipulating Bashir into losing his edge at tongo in "Change of Heart." You could have still gone through with the plot as it was, with another Vulcan team member striking up a conversation with Sisko in which they revealed that a) the crew of the T'Kumbra was well aware of Solok's obsession with Sisko and that most of them weren't interested in helping out their captain with the baseball thing, but that b) she had fallen in love with the game after watching old 2D videos, and she and Sisko could even geek out over classic games. That could have helped Sisko realize that, for all of Solok's pathetic obsession, he himself was playing right into it.

But, regardless, it was a pretty fun episode. It tickles me that Grodénchik had to bat left in order to look bad, and I think that this is the only time we've seen Rom without that Ferengi head-shield thing.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:56 AM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that this is the only time we've seen Rom without that Ferengi head-shield thing.

According to MA, you are correct.

I have a strong affection for this episode regardless of its flaws. Partly, that may be because, like the upcoming "Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang," it's a Fun One in a series, and especially in a season, that was so often serious. You can feel the actors enjoying themselves. And as far as this one is concerned, I have a vestigial fondness for baseball—and I've been a crummy player on a crummy team—and they knew how to hit the right baseball-enthusiast notes. (Odo, for instance, is a perfect umpire.) I also buy Solok (just another visibly-annoyed-but-"emotionless" Vulcan) and the whole competing-captains thing. Plus any episode that makes Rom a focus is well-served thereby.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:39 AM on October 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


OT but of some relevance: this happened.
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:21 PM on October 13, 2016 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I think this one goes down a lot easier if you have some affection for baseball. I don't hate baseball like I hate football, but this one was just never going to be my fave. But I kind of think of it like getting dragged to a ballgame by an uncle or something. You just shrug and say, "Well, it's important to you, and I'm glad you're having fun."

I'd agree the WKRP episode is probably better, and that that was probably the weakest episode of WKRP. The "baseball episode" is kind of a throwback to the hacky episodic TV tropes of yesteryear, right up there with "Let's put on a show!" I think DS9 may have been one of the last shows to do it. It felt like an anachronism even in the 90s. (I don't think DS9 did it because they were out of ideas, though. I think Ira Stephen Behr is really just that nutty about baseball.)

Cute link, Halloween Jack. I was also taken with this. Christ, Trump is a Ferengi. (Rule of Acquisition #344: "Deal from strength or get crushed every time.")
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:57 PM on October 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


This episode sucks and I love it.
posted by duffell at 6:41 PM on October 13, 2016 [3 favorites]


Objection! Baseball is not exclusively American! It is extremely popular in Asia (notably in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) and throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Also, it's worth reading this review of "Take Me Out To The Holosuite" by a baseball writer at Baseball Prospectus.
posted by chrchr at 10:16 PM on October 13, 2016 [6 favorites]


I don't think DS9 did it because they were out of ideas, though. I think Ira Stephen Behr is really just that nutty about baseball.

Or about hacky episodic TV tropes of yesteryear (like Nilva chasing "Lumba" around a table). Or both!

Thanks for that link, chrchr! That's some really great inside…um, baseball.

OT but of some relevance: this happened.

Ya know, there's no reason at all why Discovery couldn't include a young Colonel Worf—or perhaps HIS father.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 4:17 AM on October 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Odo as Ump.

ODO THE UMP.

I don't care how corny or silly it was, this episode gave us Odo as the best umpire ever, and it can do no wrong in my eyes.

The shot of him practicing in his office...
"SAFE!"
"YER OUT!"
...was so good.
posted by zarq at 5:25 PM on October 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


Brooks playing off of him in that clip is great, with Sisko starting out just shaking in rage, and ending with looking at him and obviously thinking, "I've created a monster." I could also see Odo reffing classic games on the holodeck for fun, and occasionally changing the course of a game, or even a series, by getting it right.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:53 PM on October 15, 2016 [3 favorites]


That tumblr is great Halloween Jack,

I especially like this picture from when the unseen friends pilot.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 5:09 AM on October 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


This is a...good-bad episode? There are great one-liners in here ("Find him and kill him!"), but the episode itself is undeniably silly. Also, the production budget clearly ran out before they got to the Vulcan baseball team.

Solok is the best-acted of the obnoxious Vulcan brigade, I think, although I don't know what to make of the unblinking eyes (which isn't a usual Vulcan tic).

and here we've got Solok, who's got such a ridonkulous hard-on for Sisko that it's disappointing that someone didn't recognize it earlier and try to get to him through that, in the manner of Quark manipulating Bashir into losing his edge at tongo in "Change of Heart."

When saw this episode during the series' run, I thought that Solok's obsession absolutely came across as a schoolyard crush manifesting itself as bullying, but DS9 wasn't going anywhere with that in the late 90s. (Does Sisko Google himself constantly, or is Solok sending him offprints with snarky "thinking of you" notes attached?)
posted by thomas j wise at 8:09 PM on October 16, 2016


Definitely on board with 'good bad' episode, here. It was painfully, painfully 90s, but I still thought it was a lot of fun.

Stuff:
* Okay, so this about killed me:
In fact, Grodénchik was literally incapable of playing as badly as he was supposed to, which is why Rom plays left-handed; it was the only way Grodénchik could avoid looking like a skilled player trying to play like a bad player. Avery Brooks, Cirroc Lofton, Armin Shimerman, and Aron Eisenberg are all also talented players. Nana Visitor was by far the worst player.
(The behind the scenes talk is my favorite part of these threads, and this episode will now have a special place in my heart.)

* Solok definitely seemed to be nursing a schoolyard crush on Sisko. This gets back to a tangent I was going on about in the In The Pale Moonlight thread, how Romulans are basically just Vulcans who don't bottle it up so much. Solok's behavior was basically indistinguishable from most of the Romulans we've seen on screen, and it was especially noticeable to me at the time.

* Loved Chief O'Brien's whiskey chewing gum. I'm shocked nobody made something like that IRL.
posted by mordax at 9:29 PM on October 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I mostly cringed through this one. I have a vague recollection of seeing it - or part of it - at intial airing and not being enough invested in the show to try to watch the whole thing.

I think I must have watched it again more recently *before* I started my rewatch, after I got interested in baseball again in 2011.

I occasionally troll eBay for costume pieces used in this episode. I have about fifteen baseball jerseys and one of these would be just fine.

Side note: the Las Vegas minor league team is called the Area 51s, and their royal-blue away jerseys use the TOS main title font for "Las Vegas" on the jersey's front. I dunno about home whites or the backs of the jerseys.
posted by mwhybark at 2:44 AM on October 17, 2016


Correction, Just "51s", apparently. Font on both jerseys.
posted by mwhybark at 2:47 AM on October 17, 2016


On that topic: this dude sells Niners ballcaps on his CafePress, fwiw. I've often considered picking one up, but…I dunno, right now my entire Trekkie wardrobe consists of a TNG insignia pin, and this garment might be boldly going where I'm not quite prepared to go.

Now, if I actually still played baseball? Hell yes I'd buy it
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:45 AM on October 17, 2016


For reasons unknown to me when I first started going to Mariners games I wore some sort of TOS or TNG fangear, a tee shirt, socks (yes I have a set of three pairs of TOS socks), a commbadge. I never really understood why.

I have a Klingon Empire hockey jersey, which is among the most perfect things in the world. It's sadly waaaay too big for me.

Some time after this peculiarty had gone away I came across a huge lot of what I presume to have been crew caps for the Vancouver shoot of Star Trek: Into Darkness, black baseball caps with the eroded TOS emblem shape used on the film's posters rendered in black as well. The thrift shop had twenty or thirty.

I couldn't bring myself to buy one. They just sat there for a month before disappearing.

I would totally dig a Starfleet Academy baseball jersey, though. Here's hopin’.
posted by mwhybark at 8:58 AM on October 17, 2016


The ‘Star Trek’ Baseball Episode Is a Timeless Look at a Timeless Sport: Writer Ira Steven Behr joins the ‘MLB Show’ to discuss “Take Me Out to the Holosuite”
posted by zarq at 3:28 AM on September 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


Boy, the nineties really did love baseball movies, didn’t they
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:15 AM on October 30, 2018


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