It's How You Play the Game
"Take Me Out To The Holosuite" Plot Summary:
Sisko's old adversary Captain Solak, who commands an all-Vulcan crew aboard the Tecumbrah, arrives at Deep Space Nine for repairs and complains about human inefficiency and laziness. When he mentions that his crew will be needing a holosuite to practice their new favorite program, baseball, Sisko summons his own senior staff and announces that they're going to compete on the field. Most of his crew can't even remember the terms for bases loaded or bunts, but they're enthusiastic - particularly Rom and Leeta, who want to try out - and even Odo agrees to referee. O'Brien becomes first base coach, Jake's the pitcher, and the rest of the main staff tries to learn the game.
When Rom proves to be an inept player, Sisko throws him off the team, angering the rest of the players. But Rom says he wants them to win and insists that they shouldn't quit because of him - he'll watch from the stands. Sisko recruits Kasidy Yates and tells her his history with Solak: when they were at the Academy together, a drunken Sisko challenged the sober, condescending Vulcan to a wrestling match, and the human ended up with cracked ribs and a bruised ego. Solak proceeded to rub in the victory, making an example of Sisko at the Academy and mentioning him in papers on the superiority of Vulcan logic and strength over human emotionalism. Though he swears her to secrecy, Kasidy tells the rest of the crew, who get psyched to beat the Vulcans.
On the day of the game, Sisko asks that the holographic spectators be deleted for the sake of his crew's concentration, but the Niners quickly find themselves four runs down to the Logicians. Odo seems to be having too much fun calling players out, and when he calls a third strike on Worf with Kira on base, Sisko touches Odo during an argument and is ejected from the game. Rom is the only person in the stands, rooting for Dax as she makes a great gymnastic catch, and Sisko calls him over. At 10-0, he gets O'Brien to let Rom pinch hit for Jake. Rom bunts quite by accident as he attempts to decipher O'Brien's signals, successfully getting Nog home. The crew celebrates as if they've just won the world series, and when Solak taps Odo on the shoulder to protest, Odo throws him out of the game.
At Quark's after the game, Solak expresses his disgust that Sisko is celebrating when his team lost. The Deep Space Nine crew taunts the Vulcan for his emotional behavior and gives Sisko an autographed baseball. Sisko apologizes to Rom and buys drinks for everyone.
This was a cute idea for a B-story, but as the only story, it wore really thin very quickly...and I'm speaking as a big fan of The Natural, Field of Dreams and other contrived movies about the true meaning of baseball. I can't believe that Sisko didn't learn to be a good Little League parent during Jake's youth, and had to ridicule a member of his own crew before he realized that It Doesn't Matter Whether You Win Or Lose, It's How You Play The Game. The fact that this episode aired in my market opposite the final game of the World Series didn't help my opinion any; I could have been watching real baseball, instead of wasting my science fiction hour on this silliness.
More disturbing, however, was the racism upon which this episode was constructed, especially since it was used entirely as a source of humor. The Vulcan attitude towards humans seems unconscionable in the Federation, especially in the middle of a war when no one species can afford to isolate itself. Sisko's anger at Solak was expressed more than once as anger at Vulcan logic, which is also pretty frightening. There was no lesson learned in that regard, which is a real drawback.
I was certain at the halfway mark that some Anomaly of the Week was going to come along and distract both crews, requiring that they work together and play together or somehow get over the frivolity and selfishness they evinced (though it was admittedly fun to watch Odo practicing calling batters out, and Jake looked hot in those baseball duds). Instead it had a dragging final half-hour with a moral most of us learned in elementary school. Overall, I'd have to say I'd have preferred one of those long evocations of Klingon honor.
Deep Space Nine Reviews