(written from a Production point of view)
When Captain Solok of the Federation starship T'Kumbra challenges former classmate Sisko and his crew to a game of baseball, Sisko refuses to lose to the arrogant Vulcan and begins to take the game too seriously.
When the Nebula-class USS T'Kumbra docks at Deep Space 9 for repairs, her captain – a Vulcan named Solok – visits Sisko in his office to discuss the maintenance schedule, and apparently to disparage Humans in general. Solok had recently received the Christopher Pike Medal of Valor and makes a point of reminding Sisko it is his second. The T'Kumbra has been in combat in the Dominion War for six months, and Solok makes note that DS9 is well behind Federation lines. He even disparages the maintenance schedule as "inefficient." Sisko responds, calmly refuting his thinly veiled insults with his own.
Then, Solok brings up a final matter that prompts Sisko to call for an immediate assembly of his senior staff in the wardroom the instant the turbolift carries Solok out of Ops. It seems that Solok and his all-Vulcan crew have challenged Sisko and the crew of DS9 to a "contest of teamwork, courage, and sacrifice" that Sisko couldn't turn down – a game of baseball!
Deep Space 9's senior staff is skeptical, especially since none of them has ever played the game before, but they accept the challenge and promptly start learning all they can about the game. As they learn the basics and quite a lot of terminology (Bashir is convinced "Fancy Dan" is a phrase Dax invented on the spot until he reads it for himself), the excitement spreads to others aboard the station. Leeta and Rom are both interested in trying out for the team as a way to get closer to Nog. Even Quark begrudgingly agrees to try out after some harsh "encouragement" from Leeta.
So, an unlikely collection of baseball players, dubbed the "Niners", gathers in one of Quark's holosuites – Benjamin and Jake Sisko (the only two who actually know how to play), Worf, Kira, Ezri, Bashir, O'Brien, Quark, Nog, Rom, and Leeta. After an inspirational speech from Coach Sisko, the players pair off for some easy throw-and-catch to get started. Nog, Worf, O'Brien, and Bashir get off to a good start, but everyone else clearly needs more than a little practice. Quite a few balls go sailing past the target catcher, while others seem to be aimed right for someone's head. Rom has more trouble than anyone, missing balls even as they fly right past him. Sisko tells his son that he does not care how hard it will be to train everyone, he will not lose to Solok in a baseball game.
By the end of the first practice most of the team is in the infirmary with various injuries. Quark had some bones in the back of his skull repaired (after an incident involving Rom and an errant bat). Ezri is just generally in pain (after thinking she could do all the things Emony Dax once did as an Olympic gymnast). O'Brien, worst of all, has torn his rotator cuff once again and won't be able to play. Disappointed, Benjamin recruits him as the batting, pitching, and first base coach. He also recruits Odo as the umpire – the only person he trusts to be impartial.
Unfortunately, that still leaves a hole to fill, so Sisko "pulls a few strings" and brings in Kasidy Yates, a fellow die-hard baseball fan. With her next few cargo runs mysteriously reassigned, she has just enough free time to join the team as third base coach. With the addition of Yates and plenty of practice the team improves a little, though Rom still hasn't actually hit a ball, and isn't especially good at catching either. Nog and Leeta keep encouraging him, but Sisko eventually gets so discouraged by Rom's terrible playing that he kicks him off the team completely.
The other players (except Jake, Worf, and Yates) insist they'll quit the team if Sisko won't let Rom play, but Rom won't hear of it, assuring them that he'll be content to watch from the stands and give his encouragement. With Rom off the team it seems like they're improving quite a lot. Baseball has even permeated their normal activities. Quark, for instance, has his waiters throw glasses down to him from his second level so he can practice catching, and Kira is delighted to see Odo practicing umpire moves in the security office.
Meanwhile, Yates makes Sisko explain the real reason he's so vehement about winning the game. Sisko tells her that it's not about baseball, it's about Solok. Solok was in Starfleet Academy with him, and he met the Vulcan in a bar called The Launching Pad where he made disparaging remarks about how Humans were "emotionally handicapped." Already having had a few drinks in him, Sisko challenged Solok to a wrestling match, which, due to Vulcan strength, Sisko naturally lost (and ended up in the infirmary with broken bones and ribs). Yates laughs a bit, and quickly apologizes, telling Sisko that Vulcans are three times stronger than Humans. Sisko admits this, and says that had it ended there, all would have been well. But it didn't. Solok used the incident to write papers proving that Vulcans are naturally superior to Humans in every way, even after they'd graduated. Still, Sisko doesn't want the Niners to know why he's so concerned about the game, and makes Yates promise not to tell anyone either. Despite her promise, she does promptly tell the team, who just take it as further motivation to win the game – for their captain.
So the Niners face Solok's Logicians on the holosuite field, though without spectators (per Sisko's wishes) and start the game with Odo in his umpire's uniform overseeing everything. A Vulcan batter hits the first pitch completely out of the park, and it doesn't take long for the runs to rack up against the Niners. By the end of the first inning the Logicians already have four runs, while the first three Niners up to bat strike out. They manage to keep the Logicians down to just one run per inning the next three innings, but that's still a score of 7 – 0 to the Vulcans.
The Logicians don't score at all in the fifth inning, and Kira actually makes her way to second. With two outs, Worf steps up to bat. Strike. Ball. Ball. Strike. Ball. He prepares himself for the last pitch and when the ball flies by on the outside he steps back, then tosses the bat aside and starts to jog to first even as Odo calls, "Strike three!" Benjamin and Worf are both incensed and scream at Odo while he calmly asserts that the ball "caught the outside corner." Benjamin gets furious at that and pushes Worf aside and argues chin to chin with Odo, going so far to jab Odo's chest as he's shouting. Without hesitation, Odo throws Sisko out of the game, quoting the rule book regarding physical contact with the umpire, and tells him to look it up in the stands.
Benjamin stalks off to the stands muttering to himself that it was a ball, not a strike, and throws himself into a seat near where Rom has been sitting the whole time. The Niners manage two outs against the Logicians at the top of the ninth inning, and Worf throws the ball to Nog at home plate just as the Vulcan batter steps across and returns to the Logicians dugout. Nog doesn't manage to tag him out, but the runner didn't actually step on the plate. Odo watches silently, and O'Brien realizes what must have happened, but Nog doesn't know which player it was! Failing any better idea, he runs to the Logicians dugout and starts tagging each one, but the last one on the bench runs toward home at the last second. Nog throws to Jake, who tags the Vulcan out as he slides in. They get the third out!
Even Benjamin, up in the stands, is overjoyed. "That's what I love about this game – you never know what's going to happen next, every situation is different." With a gleam in his eye, he looks over at Rom. The Niners still haven't scored a single run in the bottom of the ninth, but Nog is on third when Sisko sends Rom to bat in full Niners regalia. He fills the stadium with holographic spectators and even calls upon an announcer to introduce Jake Sisko's pinch hitter, but Rom completely misses the first two pitches. Bashir and O'Brien try to signal that he should bunt the ball down the baseline as the third pitch sails toward the plate. Rom leans forward to try to decipher their signal, bringing his bat right into the ball's path. It glances off and rolls down the first base line. The crowd cheers and Nog takes off, sliding into home just in time. They've scored!
The Niners rush onto the field and lift Rom in the air. Solok is confused and angry, and grabs Odo by the shoulder to protest, but Odo just grins and tosses Solok from the game. The Niners have decided to end the game before even a single out in the ninth inning, and Solok can't understand it.
The team later celebrates in Quark's and Sisko takes the opportunity to apologize to Rom, an apology Rom is happy to accept. Solok protests that they're only attempting to "manufacture triumph where none exists," but every one of the Niners is willing to accept that, even going so far as to toast "manufactured triumph". When Solok protests further, they just accuse him of being emotional, irritated, defensive, angry, jealous, and quite bitter. Solok's continued disparaging comments at their "Human" reactions only leads to further mockery by the Niners with Dax and Quark laughing that despite his intelligence he doesn't seem to know what a Human actually is. ("Did I forget to wear my spots today?" – Dax) To top it all off, Kira tosses Sisko a new baseball for his desk – signed by every player on the team. Sisko offers it to Solok, asking "Would you like to sign it?" Solok storms off, amid laughter.
"It's been a long time."
"Ten years, two months, five days."
"You mean you don't know it to the minute?"
"Of course I do.. But Humans are often irked by such precision. Especially the more emotional Humans."
- - Sisko and Solok, upon meeting in Sisko's ready room
"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
"I hope you learned your lesson."
"Always look behind you before swinging a bat."
- - Quark and Rom, in the infirmary as Quark is treated for a skull fracture
"How many is that?"
"Today? I think he's missed ten."
- - Sisko and Nog, mulling over Rom's misjudged fly ball and overall ineptness in right field
"War is an inefficient business."
- - Sisko
"They just... chewed it?"
"No, they infused the gum with flavor."
"What flavor did you infuse it with?"
- - Julian Bashir and Miles O'Brien, about chewing gum
"I know that look. It's the I'd-really-like-to-smash-something-but-she'll-think-I'm-crazy look. Well, don't let me stop you – they're your quarters. Smash away if it'll make you feel better!"
- - Kasidy Yates, to Benjamin Sisko
"Computer, eliminate the spectators!"
- - Solok, after hearing Benjamin Sisko's request
"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
"WHAT?! What're you talking about? That ball was at least a half a meter out! How come you called it a strike? Reverse the call! Reverse the call!"
"That was low and outside!"
"The ball was clearly outside!"
"Oh, what the hell were you looking at? You can't tell me that ball was over the plate. What were you doing, regenerating?"
- - Worf and Sisko, arguing with Odo over the called third strike on Worf
"You! YOU'RE OUTTA HERE!"
"'No player shall at any time make contact with the umpire in any manner.' The prescribed penalty for the violation is immediate ejection from the game. Rule number 4.06, subsection A, paragraph 4. Look it up – but do it in the stands. YOU'RE GONE!"
- - Odo, while ejecting Benjamin Sisko from the game
"What do I do?"
"Find him and kill him!"
- - Nog and Worf, upon realizing that the Logician runner didn't touch home plate
"Did I forget to wear my spots today?"
"All that intelligence and he still doesn't know what a Human looks like!"
- - Ezri and Quark, after Ezri was called a "Human" by Solok
Ejections: Deep Space Niners manager Benjamin Sisko ejected by HP Umpire Odo (5th); T'Kumbra Logicians manager Solok ejected by HP Umpire Odo (9th)
Story and script
- This episode was based on an episode of the TV show Fame, a fourth season episode entitled "The Ol' Ball Game", written by Ira Steven Behr. The plot involved the characters of Morloch and Danny setting up a softball team that has no talent whatsoever, but who, through luck and perseverance, somehow manage to pull off a big victory. Several scenes in "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" are directly taken from "The Ol' Ball Game", such as the scene where Nog is unsure which player to tag (although Behr says that that particular event was based on a real life incident that happened to him in the little leagues), or the scene involving Rom's fluke bunt at the end (which involved a woman rather than a Ferengi in the original episode). The general plot outline, character development, and burlesque tone of this episode are also very much in the spirit of the classic 1976 Michael Ritchie Little League Baseball film The Bad News Bears, which was also produced by Paramount Pictures.
- Ira Behr commented "One of the things we wanted to do, and one of the many things that we wanted to do over the years on the series, was bring baseball back into the 24th century. Baseball is Michael Piller's favorite sport, but in the first episode he ever wrote for Star Trek, he killed baseball. Why, we still don't know, but we thought we owed it to him to bring baseball back, even though he had chosen to kill it". ("The Home Stretch, Part Two", Star Trek Monthly issue 50)
- Max Grodénchik, although he was playing Rom, 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 of the team. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Joey Banks acted as baseball coach for the cast. Son of the Major League Baseball legend and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame Ernie Banks, Banks is considered one of Hollywood's foremost baseball coaches. Banks also assembled the Vulcan team, which was evidently an extremely accomplished team of players. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- All the exterior baseball scenes were filmed at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
- David Bell composed the music for the episode. Bell commented: "I tried to reference a turn-of-the-century musical vocabulary, old baseball time with solo cornet flavour and some chromatic passages that were in that turn-of-the-century style that was a blast to write: cute and fun". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Collection)
- 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 who later played for the Giants.
- At the time the episode aired, the Giants shared their stadium with the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL – a team often referred to, even in "official" circumstances, as the "Niners".
- Avery Brooks asked for the same number as Dick Allen. Rom was given the unlucky (or lucky) number of 13. Kasidy Yates wore number 47. Jake is wearing number 78, a possible reference to Cirroc Lofton's birth year.
- The Niners' baseball uniforms have the word "Niners" written in Handel Gothic, the Deep Space Nine/Voyager episode credits typeface, while the players' names are written in Zenon, the DS9/Voyager main title typeface. The Logicians' uniforms have the players' names written on the back of their jerseys in Vulcan script.  A score sheet prop used during the episode shows these Vulcan names in their native script clearly. As none of the Vulcan players were named, with the exception of Solok, no translation for these names is available. Only Solok's name is known, shown at the bottom of the list. 
- Kira's uniform reads either "Nerys" or "Kira" at different times during the course of the episode. Leeta's uniform reads simply "Leeta"; her character was never given a full name during the series.
Broadcast and reception
- 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." (AOL chat, 1998)
- Ira Behr was a little disappointed with regards to Sisko's storyline with Solok, 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." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- 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". ("Quantifiably Quark", Star Trek Monthly, issue 46)
- David Bell commented: "["Take Me Out to the Holosuite"] was one of my favourite episodes". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Collection)
- Brent Spiner cited DS9's "baseball episode" as one of the more unusual episodes of Star Trek. (The Secrets of Star Trek: Insurrection, p 33)
- In the final scene at Quark's, neither Michael Dorn nor Rene Auberjonois are present. Their photo doubles (James Minor and Chuck Shanks) stand in for them.
- The baseball given to Sisko after the game bears the signatures (in character) of the Niners team members. In Quark's signature, the letter "Q" has big lobes.
- This episode marks the first time Rom appears not wearing a Ferengi headdress.
- The Christopher Pike Medal of Valor mentioned by Solok at the start of this episode was awarded to Sisko in "Tears of the Prophets".
- Sisko mentions that he had challenged Solok in wrestling. It was established in previous episodes, like "Q-Less" and "Apocalypse Rising", that Sisko participated in wrestling matches in his Academy years.
- 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 crewed by Vulcans, the USS Intrepid, which was destroyed in 2268 by a giant space amoeba.
- The tactic that Rom uses to score Nog is known as the "Safety Squeeze". A similar tactic is the "Suicide Squeeze", which would be if Nog were to take off from third base when the pitch was thrown.
- Worf throws left handed but bats right handed. Michael Dorn is left handed.
- 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).
- In the top of the 5th inning, Logicians player number 15 utilizes a "takeout slide" at second base to knock over Kira (and thus prevent her from completing a double play with a throw to first base). Nog later asks "Was that slide at second legal?", to which Kasidy Yates replies, "'Fraid so." By 2016, Major League Baseball had made such slides illegal due to increasing player injuries. Players in the 24th century would know this, but of course at the time of the episode's production in the late '90s, the move was legal, which means the Niners and Logicians are using late-20th century rules, or a version of baseball rules in which takeout slides are again legal sometime before baseball's demise in the mid-21st century.
- In the top of the 9th inning, Logicians player number 8 fails to touch home when attempting to score. Rather than return to try and touch home immediately, he returns to the dugout, prompting the Niners to shout to Nog that he needs to be tagged out. In fact, by late-20th century baseball rules, the player would be automatically ruled out as soon as he left the field of play.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 7.2, 12 April 1999
- As part of the DS9 Season 7 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Nicole de Boer as Counselor Ezri Dax
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Alexander Siddig as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Nana Visitor as Colonel Kira Nerys
- Sam Alejan as Human science division officer
- Elle Alexander as Vulcan baseball player
- Joey Banks as Vulcan baseball player
- Brett Bartlett as Vulcan baseball player
- Skip Bucolla as Vulcan baseball player
- Uriah Carr as Human civilian
- Amy Kate Connolly as Human command division officer
- Cathy DeBuono as
- Wade Kelley as alien bar patron
- David B. Levinson as
- Shauna Lewis as dabo girl
- Dan Magee as Vulcan baseball player
- James Minor as Human civilian
- Brandon Molale as baseball spectator
- Mark Newsom as Bajoran officer
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Lou Simon as Vulcan baseball player
- Unknown performers as
- Jay Caputo as stunt double for Nicole de Boer
- George Colucci as stunt double for Max Grodénchik
- Denise Lynne Roberts as stunt double for Nana Visitor
- Unknown stunt performer as stunt double for Aron Eisenberg
- John Lendale Bennett as stand-in and photo double for Avery Brooks
- Jennifer Berlant as photo double for Nicole de Boer
- Uriah Carr as photo double and stand-in for Alexander Siddig
- Randy James as photo double and stand-in for Colm Meaney
- James Minor as photo double and stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Nancy Paradis as photo double for Nana Visitor
- Chuck Shanks as photo double and stand-in for Rene Auberjonois
- Todd Slayton as stand-in and photo double for Cirroc Lofton
- Darius Toussant as photo double for Cirroc Lofton
47; Alpha Quadrant; Anthem of the United Federation of Planets; autograph; bar tab; baseball; baseball (object); baseball field; bunt; butterfly; chewing gum; Christopher Pike Medal of Valor; clavicular joint; coach; courage; Dax, Curzon; Dax, Emony; Dax, Jadzia; Earth; ejection; eye on the ball; faith; Ferengi; foul; game; grand slam; heart; holosuite; knitting (medicine); Launching Pad, The; ligament; Logicians; magnetic field; meter; Niners; "Old Man"; photon; pitcher; Promenade; psychology; Quark's; rib; separated shoulder; Sisko's friends; Solok's Vulcan friends; spots; Starfleet Academy; The Slider; T'Kumbra, USS; team; toast; umpire; Vulcan; week; zygomatic bone
- "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" at Wikipedia
- "Wezen-Ball: Take Me Out to the Holosuite: A Star Trek DS9 Breakdown" by Larry Granillo, an analysis of the game from a baseball perspective, at Baseball Prospectus
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