Fri
Jun 14 2013 3:25pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “If Wishes Were Horses”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: If Wishes Were Horses“If Wishes Were Horses”
Written by Neil McCrue Crawford & William L. Crawford and Michael Piller
Directed by Robert Legato
Season 1, Episode 15
Production episode 40511-416
Original air date: May 16, 1993
Stardate: 46853.2

Station log: Quark is annoyed that Odo is hovering in the bar even though it’s mostly empty and tries to talk him into a holosuite program. But Odo has no interest in imaginations or wishes or dreams. (Foreshadowing!) Odo is also aghast when he sees Jake (carrying a bat and what Quark amusingly calls a “baseball mitten”) goes to a holosuite, but Quark explains that it’s a program Sisko brought from his previous assignment. Jake plays baseball with some of the greats of the game.

Elsewhere in the bar, Bashir is trying to convince Dax that he can think of nothing but her, to the detriment of his ability to focus. Dax points out the other women she’s seen him flirt with, which he unconvincingly dismisses as poor substitutes for her. She then just-friends him and heads to ops, where there’s an odd thoron emission.

O’Brien is reading the story of Rumpelstiltskin to Molly before she goes to sleep. But then Rumpelstiltskin himself shows up in her room, to O’Brien’s horror. He shoos Keiko and Molly from their cabin and calls security. The little man manages to evade being grabbed by the guards. Meanwhile, Harmon “Buck” Bokai, a baseball player, follows Jake home from the holosuite, and Dax appears in Bashir’s bed and starts kissing and caressing him. Bashir resists at first, then gives in, then, when Kira calls all senior officers to ops, assumes it’s a practical joke. Dax insists she has no idea what he’s talking about as they go to ops together.

Sisko introduces Bokai and Rumpelstiltskin (the latter is pissed at O’Brien because now everyone knows his name), and asks Dax if this relates to the thoron emission, but Dax has no idea what he’s talking about.

Then Dax—the real one—arrives at ops. The three seem to have been created out of the imaginations of the Sisko family (Bokai), the O’Brien family (Rumpelstiltskin), and Bashir (Fantasy Dax). Bashir examines them—while fending off the amorous advances of Fantasy Dax—and they all read as normal humanoids. Eventually, Bashir gets fed up and tells her he’s not interested right now—at which point Fantasy Dax disappears.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: If Wishes Were Horses

Odo then reports that it’s snowing on the Promenade. Sisko calls for yellow alert, and Odo hilariously orders everyone in Quark’s to stop using their imaginations. This obviously doesn’t work: Quark has a beautiful scantily clad woman on each arm, while all his customers are winning at dabo.

Dax and Bashir are examining the phenomenon that they think has started this. It’s a subspace rupture very much like one that destroyed the Hanoli system in the 23rd century. Fantasy Dax also shows up in the middle of this, revealing way more about Bashir’s thoughts about Dax than Bashir or Dax are at all comfortable with.

They launch a probe to study the rupture, while Rumpelstiltskin makes some veiled threats to O’Brien (and to Molly). Meanwhile, Bokai tries to talk Sisko into throwing the ball around. He also tells Sisko how much he appreciates Sisko’s love for a game that died around him while he was an active player—only 300 people were in the stands for the last World Series game that he helped the Kings win.

Rumpelstiltskin, Bokai, and Fantasy Dax meet and are frustrated by how little they still know. Rumpelstiltskin wants to abandon the mission, but Bokai says he’s made a connection with “his,” adding that “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: If Wishes Were Horses

The rupture is expanding, and the method used to try to destroy it last time failed. But in the intervening years, technology has improved enough so that O’Brien thinks it will work better this time—besides, if they don’t, the rupture will expand to destroy the Bajoran system anyhow.

The hits keep coming: Kira imagines the lower pylon being destroyed, Odo imagines Quark in a holding cell, and Jake is tempted back to the holosuite by Bokai, though his imagination also conjures up his father to convince him to finish his homework.

The expansion rate of the rupture is increasing. Left with no choice, they fire the torpedoes, but it doesn’t help—the rupture expands and causes major power loss and damage to the station. Fantasy Dax is hurt, and Bashir treats her.

Rumpelstiltskin offers to fix the rupture for his usual price: O’Brien’s first born. But Sisko realizes that the rupture is yet another bit of imagination given form—in this case, Dax’s hypothesizing about the thoron reading. Once everyone stops believing there is a rupture, it disappears. As do Bokai, Rumpelstiltskin, and Fantasy Dax. But the thoron emissions are still there. Sisko orders Dax to examine them—without speculating this time—and has Kira keep the station on yellow alert for another 26 hours just in case.

Bokai appears to Sisko and explains that they’re on a mission to seek out new life and new civilizations (cough). They were intrigued by the imaginations of the people on the station and so allowed the manifestations to be created from them. When Sisko asks for details about their life form, Bokai smiles and says, “Maybe next year,” tosses Sisko a baseball, and disappears.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: If Wishes Were Horses

Can’t we just reverse the polarity?: “Perimeter sensors are picking up a subspace oscillation. What the hell does that mean?” Kira speaking for us all.

The Sisko is of Bajor: Sisko has several holosuite programs that have him and Jake watching and/or playing against many of baseball greats. The only ones mentioned by name (by Quark, who’s made an effort to study up on it, given the Siskos’ interest) are Bokai, Tris Speaker, and Ted Williams.

Don’t ask my opinion next time: Tellingly, and tragically, Kira is the only person who imagines something with no positive connotations whatsoever. Even Dax and O’Brien imagine something that comes from a positive place—O’Brien’s love for his family, Dax’s scientific curiosity—but the one and only thing Kira conjures is a pylon being destroyed and a person on fire.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: If Wishes Were Horses

Rules of Acquisition: Quark’s lust for two hot babes is temporarily subsumed by the agony of everyone in Quark’s winning (which means the house loses). But only temporarily, as he’s later again enjoying the company of the “trollops,” as Odo calls them.

No sex, please, we’re Starfleet: Bashir’s interest in Dax is put on display for the entire station to see, to Bashir’s chagrin. Dax sympathizes with the invasion of privacy, but not so much with the submissiveness of Fantasy Dax.

What happens on the holosuite stays on the holosuite: With all the humans coming to the station, Quark is considering opening up more holosuites that have family entertainment, in addition to the more sordid ones. This prompts Odo to call Quark disgusting, to which Quark replies happily, “Till the day I die.”

Keep your ears open: “Sorry I’m late. I was having dinner with Julian.”

“How is our young doctor?”

“Young.”

Dax and Sisko nailing Bashir’s personality.

Welcome aboard: Two great character actors in Keone Young and Michael John Anderson play, respectively, the images of Buck Bokai and Rumpelstiltsken. This is the only Trek appearance by Anderson, probably best known as the backwards-talking dream image in Twin Peaks and Samson on Carnivale, but Young will return as the image of Sato’s father on Enterprise’s “Vanishing Point.” Terry Farrell also “guest stars” as Fantasy Dax, and Rosalind Chao and Hana Hatae are back as Keiko and Molly.

Trivial matters: In TNG’s “The Big Goodbye,” Data mentions that a hitter for the London Kings will break Joe DiMaggio’s record for most consecutive games with a hit. In “The Storyteller,” Jake mentioned a great ballplayer named Buck Bokai. This episode reveals that they are one and the same.

The baseball that the alien posing as Bokai gives Sisko at the end will remain the centerpiece of Sisko’s desk for the remainder of the series (and beyond, in the tie-in fiction), and also carry symbolic significance regarding Sisko’s presence on the station.

The Gunji jackdaw was actually an emu. The emu’s trainer was nearby dressed as a Bajoran monk, just in case.

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: If Wishes Were Horses

Early drafts of the script called for a leprechaun, but that was changed to Rumpelstiltsken at Colm Meaney’s request, who found that kind of ethnic stereotype inappropriate for Star Trek.

Walk with the Prophets: “No imagination, indeed.” This is yet another really dumb episode that is elevated somewhat by the uniquely DS9 elements, specifically the Quark-Odo banter (Odo chasing an emu around the Promenade is worth the price of admission all by itself—supposedly, it reminded Rene Auberjonois of his work on the Robert Altman film Brewster McCloud) and the interactions between Buck Bokai and Sisko. The exposure of Bashir’s fantasy life is a bit on the creepy side, though it does provide a nice opportunity for Terry Farrell to have fun, and seeing that Kira’s imagination really only can come up with violence and tragedy is illuminating—and also very sad.

And we get Sisko’s baseball! I have to admit, I always remembered that as being something Sisko had from the beginning, not a present from an alien species making a bizarre first contact, so I was pleasantly surprised to see its actual origin here. In general, Keone Young does a superb job as Bokai, and I like the fact that he continues the baseball metaphors all the way to the end, staying in character.

But overall, this is a well Star Trek has dipped into before—“Shore Leave” on the original series, “Where No One Has Gone Before” and “Imaginary Friend” on TNG—and this doesn’t really add enough to it to be all that compelling.

 

Warp factor rating: 5


Keith R.A. DeCandido is also a baseball fan, currently one of the contributors to the Pinstriped Bible, a blog about the New York Yankees on SB Nation. Read his blogs on that site here.

49 comments
George Salt
1. GeorgeSalt
Yet another fantasy tale with the thinnest veneer of sci-fi. There have been too many of these this season. It's always a bad, bad sign when a leprechaun, gnome, troll or Rumpelstiltskin shows up in a sci-fi story.

Odo calls Quark disgusting after Quark offers to create a shapeshifter "playmate" with whom Odo can "intermingle." I thought that was a pretty funny scene.

Keone Young is a fine actor but he was miscast as Buck Bokai. He is simply too pudgy for the part. The average height of a major league baseball player is 6'2" and the average weight is 191 lbs. Very few MLB players are less than 5'8". I just couldn't accept Young in the role of the greatest ballpayer of all time. He simply was not credible in that role.

Overall, this is another first season episode I'd rather forget.
Mike Kelmachter
2. MikeKelm
This felt like another mishmash of next gen episodes. Advanced life form shows up to study humans while the humans imaginations run wild. Maybe"Where Silence Has Lease" crossed with "where no one has gone before?" Obviously season 1 ds9 was still finding itself. Great acting by the guest stars and some good comedic elements. I actually give the writers credit for Fantasy Dax. It's nice to see the Trek Characters are in fact real people with baser wants and needs in addition to their high ideals.
Keith DeCandido
3. krad
Young's casting didn't bother me because he did well in the part. Acting ability is more important than physicality, especially in a role that doesn't require him to actually play baseball.

Besides, he kinda looked like Kirby Puckett, and he's in the Hall of Fame....

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Matt Stoumbaugh
4. LazerWulf
@1: Babe Ruth was a little pudgy, too, you know. Baseball, more than any other game, is a game focused on short bursts of strength and speed, rather than overall fitness and endurance.

Plus it's the future. This episode shows that baseball was in a declining state (and eventually died out), so the people who ended up playing professionally were not necessarily the fastest and strongest, but pretty much anybody who loved the game enough to be decent at it. So Buck was "one of the greats" when compared to the rest of the field at the time. And if that's the case, it's easy to see how Buck was able to break DiMaggio's record if the quality of the pitching wasn't as good as it was today. (That said, there's probably also a bit of luck that goes into an accomplishment like that anyway.) For similar reasons, his stats were also probably comparable to the stats of the greats like Williams and Mantle.

However you slice it, I never had any problems "buying" Bokai as an actual baseball player.

As for the episode itself, I'd say a 5 is about right. Not the best episode, but still enjoyable.
Nentuaby
5. Nentuaby
GeorgeSalt:
Well, his record was for extreme hitting accuracy. It's not like baseball hasn't seen its fair shair of crack batters with poor overall athleticism!
Nentuaby
6. Uncle Mikey
I can't really disagree with anything you say here. I actually also had somehow gotten it into my head that Sisko brought the baseball with him, and even when I rewatched this one a couple years back, showing the series in sequence to a friend, it somehow didn't stick that this is where it comes from.

But, yeah, this episode is very...meh. Like so many S1 stories, it's really just generic Star Trek. But it does give us some useful insights into characters, and those insights don't really get retconned away later, so it's not completely without value.
George Salt
7. GeorgeSalt
@3: Kirby Puckett was slight in stature for a MLB player at 5'8" but he wasn't pudgy, at least during his playing days. Physicality isn't everything but I do think it counts.
George Salt
8. GeorgeSalt
@4: Babe Ruth was 6'2". At times during his career he was chunky but he was not pudgy.
Nentuaby
9. Matt Doyle
George, I'm not sure where you draw the 'pudgy' line - kind of subjective -- but towards the end of his career Puckett definitely carried some weight on him. It wasn't just his height -- his build and shape were distinctive enough that you could never confuse him for anyone else on the field, even if you were high up enough in the stands that you couldn't read the number. I went to a significant number of Twins games, but if you don't want to take my testimony, a Google image search will show plenty of pictures of him on the field that will back me up on this.

Anyway, largely irrelevant to the episode, I know. Sorry. I actually kind of like this one -- besides the baseball, which gives it nostalgia points for me, it's just kind of... charming?
Nentuaby
10. Brian Eberhart
I agree with almost everything; the concept has been used before. The witty panter was fun to listen to.
Nentuaby
11. RobL
Count me among those who were distracted by the casting of Buck Bokai. Some great baseball players have had some excess weight on them, but they weren't soft. That actor looked like he had never worked out a day in his life.
Nentuaby
12. Jeff R.
I have less trouble with Bokai's psysique than with the idea of London ever having a team. Unless maybe it's London, Ontario and something horrible happened to Toronto...
David Levinson
13. DemetriosX
Like GeorgeSalt, I was going to say that Buck Bokai's physique wasn't really credible. And while there are/have been players who tend to be a little chunky, they're usually outfielders or catchers, while Bokai seems to have been an infielder. They need to be somewhat more mobile. OTOH, @4 LazerWulf has a point that he played in what appears to be an era of rapid expansion, which tends to dilute the talent pool. MLB had just expanded the year this episode aired and there was a lot of discussion about just that problem. Since the writers here are talking about so much expansion in a little over 20 years that there was at least one team in the UK (I'm assuming the monarchs didn't play in London, Ontario), we can expect plenty of talent dilution.

Count me among those who thought Sisko brought the baseball with him. His passion for the game is odd, though. If it hasn't been played in centuries, one has to wonder where his interest came from.

The fact that the conversation here almost immediately diverted to the physique and athleticism of baseball players really says everything that needs to be said about this episode. 5 is generous.
Matt Hamilton
14. MattHamilton
I have to say, being Irish myself, I would like to thank Colm Meany for having them change it. Not everyone has any idea just how annoying it is that Leprachauns are the go to stereotype. Lest we forget, the Irish had a large part in building this country during it's industrialization (the U.S. I mean) and have a long and varied history in Ireland as well as America and other parts, all without those goddamn little wish granters. And yeah, power hitters sometimes are a little pudgier than the average player. But I can't disagree with anything said. The only thing that makes this episode even remotely watchable, other than some of the acting, is the fact that it takes place on DS9. As much as I would like to see what Data would have imagined, if anything, the characters here make the episode slightly funnier (and in Kira's case, telling and sad) than it would have otherwise been.
Matt Hamilton
15. MattHamilton
Another thing I've always wondered is what happened to baseball. Why did it disappear? I mean, I've seen some of the games they play in the 24th century and, with the exception of Chess (regular and 3 Dimensional), many of the games are lame beyond lame. I'm not a big baseball fan (though I support my city's teams) but I don't know why it would have declined the way it did. What sport's in our own history have had this kind of decline? Also, I assume it's London, England. Was that team playing when Earth was unifying? That means this episode is showing how baseball, maybe, was becoming more like Soccor/Football or in an Olympic fashion. Countries playing against one another instead of Cities/States. I don't know, I agree with the above comment that this episode is so forgetful that we're struggling to conversate about it and instead have come to talking about how big or small the baseball player(s) should be and whether or not the sport would have disappeared the way that it did in the show.
Nentuaby
16. TribblesandBits
They have Anbo-Jytsu, the ultimate evolution of martial arts. They don't need baseball, football, or even the WWE anymore :).
Christopher Bennett
17. ChristopherLBennett
If they'd tricked Rumpelstiltskin into saying his name backwards, would he have teleported back to Twin Peaks?

@1: Keone Young was cast because he resembled FX modelmaker Greg Jein, whose face was used on the Buck Bokai baseball card seen on Sisko's desk earlier in the season.

This was kind of a forgettable episode, but I kind of liked the surprise reveal that the cataclysmic anomaly of the week was itself imaginary, a self-fulfilling prophecy of a worst-case scenario. It's kind of a commentary on how people can convince themselves that their fears are real and be blinded to the objective truth. Or maybe a metatextual commentary on how so many of the technobabble-danger subplots in TNG/DS9 episodes were just insubstantial filler tacked on to stories that were really about something else.
Nentuaby
18. Alright Then
"He could run well for a fat man."
---Ty Cobb on Babe Ruth

True that most baseball players have been svelt, but certainly not all of them. Ruth was a big man and by many accounts a glutton in his personal life. So it's no stretch of the imagination to see Bokai in a similar situation.

Other than that, this is a fun little filler episode. The exchanges between Odo and Quark make it all worth it (as usual).
Mahesh Banavar
19. maheshkb
Baseball disappearing: I will go to my happy place and decide that cricket took over. About time, too.
Nentuaby
20. Zabeus
It's too bad this episode aired before the WBC was created. It's yet another Trek Americanism to have London be part of the "World Series", almost as bad as calling an American tournament of American leagues the World Series. (yes, this is where the sport originates, but it's been played in other countries for decades)
Nentuaby
21. RyonCollins
Honestly, there is not much to this episode and it is indeed from a well that has been gone to again and again by so many shows etc in the past. However, I have always enjoyed it for the sheer silliness and then deep saddness of it. As KRAD said, the images Kira's imagination are perfect for her character and just so sad. Regardless of anything else we get the baseball. The baseball that is so wonderful in its simplicity that it creates one of the series best moments IMHO in "Call to Arms".
Chris Nash
22. CNash
"All hands on deck, swirly thing alert!"

This episode devoted way too many scenes to the crew sitting around discussing how best to make the blue swirly thing outside the window go away. It also falls into the trap of trying to manufacture tension by having the characters deliver impenetrable technobabble in an urgent manner, while dramatic music swells in the background. If it had had less of that, and more scenes with the "imaginary" aliens (instead of a fobbed-off "maybe next time" from Bokai), it might've held my interest better.

Also: are we to assume that when these aliens came through "the hole in space", they came from some other dimension or something like that? Otherwise it implies that nobody in the Gamma Quadrant has any imagination...
Nentuaby
23. Alright Then
#22

No imagination in the Gamma Quadrant? Well, the authoritarian, racist Dominian would seem to confirm that. Can't see any great works of art or daydreaming coming from those guys.
Keith DeCandido
24. krad
Given that baseball has continued to be immensely popular and profitable in the early 21st century, this look at a future where baseball went out with a whimper in the late 21st century, but that was conceived back in 1988, a good ten years before baseball's uptick in popularity (sparked in 1998 by the record-setting Yankees team, Cal Ripken Jr.'s ending his consecutive game streak, the McGwire-Sosa home run chase).

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Mike Kelmachter
25. MikeKelm
Another thing to consider that in the Trek Universe, the Eugenics War was fought in the 1990s and then 25 years of World War 3. In the middle were things like the bell riots. Perez- First Contact, at least some parts of Earth were still a shambles, with some elements of factional divide. It's distinctly possible by the time of Buck Bokai there just wasn't enough popular interest or support for baseball.
Christopher Bennett
27. ChristopherLBennett
^Did your spellchecker just convert "Pre" to "Perez"?
Nentuaby
28. Mac McEntire
Somewhere amid the endless morass of Trek merchandise, they made an official Buck Bokai baseball card. On the back of the card, there’s a reference to a rival team, the “Gotham City Bats.” This suggests all kinds of crossover potential.

The show was still new at this point, and we (and the writers) are still feeling our way around these characters. Therefore, crazy imagination-comes-to-life stories make for a nice shortcut for us to get to know them, just like the orb visions in the pilot. Unfortunately, in this episode the imagination manifestations just reveal stuff we already know about each character (Sisko loves baseball, Odo wants Quark locked up, Bashir is a horndog, etc.). It would have been nice for the writers to go deeper and use this episode to reveal new facets to these folks, but I guess the show was still too first season-ish for that.
Chris Nash
29. CNash
@23 Alright Then - regardless of what DS9's later seasons would have you believe, the Gamma Quadrant doesn't consist solely of the Dominion and their subject species.

@28 Mac - that's exactly what I thought (though at 2am couldn't dredge up the words to express it properly!) - there should have been more time devoted to exploring the nature of the crew's dreams and fantasies. Voyager's "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy" would handle this better, albeit by focusing on one character's dreams rather than the whole cast's.
alastair chadwin
30. a-j
Zabeus@20
... is where the sport originates, but it's been played in other countries for decades
Point of information. Baseball originated in England during the 18th century (it's mentioned in one of Jane Austen's novels). I always took the idea that the last World Series winning team was from here as a nod to that fact.

Not Irish, though lived there for three years and am also pleased that Colm Meaney asked that the leprecaun be removed, though I noticed that Rumpelstiltskin spoke with a strong Irish accent during the teaser which dissipates after the credits.

Number me amoung those who thought Sisko brought the baseball with him and pretty much agree that this is a standard ST episode made more fun by the cast and setting.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
31. Lisamarie
Agreed, this is a pretty 'meh' episode, and I definitely was thinking of 'Where No One Has Gone Before' during it. I also wish we could have seen a little more of the crews' imaginations just to see what makes them tick. This also makes it pretty hard for me to like Bashir. *rolls eyes*. I mean, that breathy, clueless way they had Fantasy Dax say 'thoron emissions?' - ugh. And he has total Nice Guy syndrome (as evidenced by Fantasy Dax telling real Dax to 'get off her high horse', etc). Yuck yuck yuck.
Pepijn Vemer
32. Artsapat
I never made that connection between this baseball and the baseball on the desk either. When I rewatched the last episode of the season some time ago, I remember thinking about that ball, not having an idea what it signified (beyond an avatar for Sisko), but this explains some.

On Fantasy Dax: I think from this point on you can see Dax take on a more serious shape. The low point was as pilot to O'Brien's genius in "Battle Lines"; from this episode onwards, it seemed as if
Terry Farrell knew she was more than just a submissive, empty head. She herself in the mirror and realized: naw, that's not me.
Christopher Bennett
33. ChristopherLBennett
I'm puzzled about the baseball being a gift from Fake-Alien-Bokai. I thought everything they manifested was an illusion, or a virtual construct that went away when people stopped thinking about it. So how could the baseball be real? For that matter, why would Sisko value it if it wasn't a genuine Buck Bokai baseball?
Keith DeCandido
34. krad
The constructs had a physical presence, and while they did go away when people stopped thinking about them, they also had the ability to appear and disappear on their own. It's perfectly possible that the Bokai alien was able to make the baseball more permanent. Or maybe just that Sisko never stopped believing in that baseball. It's part of the connection that Bokai thanked Sisko for.

---Keith R.A. DeCandido
Nentuaby
35. RobinM
I find dream Dax embarrassing but very Julian. I like the fact that reading your kid a terrifing story about kiddnapping is not really a great idea is pointed out by Rumplestilskin. I liked the baseball player because he had a good connection to Sisko and seemed to be having fun. Other than I forgot where the baseball for the office came this episode I vote 5 too.
Joseph Newton
36. crzydroid
The nice thing about Kira's illusion is that a stuntman got to run around while on fire.

I find it amusing that these things come straight out of imagination, but when Quark complains to Odo that the "trollops" have disappeared, they had been whispering sweet nothings in his ear. Likes to take his time, I guess.
Christopher Bennett
37. ChristopherLBennett
@36: Keep in mind that Ferengi ears are erogenous zones...
Nentuaby
38. David Sim
How did the aliens know what Odo's fantasies were? Lwaxana can't read his mind; shouldn't the same apply here?
Christopher Bennett
39. ChristopherLBennett
@38: Their telepathy must work differently. Betazoids can't read Ferengi either, but these guys knew what Quark wanted (not that you really need telepathy to discern that).
Nentuaby
40. Zabeus
@30, That makes sense. I didn't know Baseball originated in England. Thanks for the info!

As for why the baseball remains, I like krad's second possibility.
"It's perfectly possible that the Bokai alien was able to make the baseball more permanent. Or maybe just that Sisko never stopped believing in that baseball."
It's sentimental, but it still loosely fits the "science fiction" rationale given in the episode. (I'd also not realized that this is where the ball came from.
Christopher Hatton
41. Xopher
The game of baseball wasn't exactly "invented." It developed slowly over time.

It became a serious sport only after the game was played on the Elysian Fields in what is now Hoboken, New Jersey. There's a plaque and everything at the intersection of Washington and Eleventh Street (and by "and everything" I mean the intersection has insets in it to make it look like a baseball diamond...we* had a crazy prodigal asshole mayor who put in brick sidewalks so his restaurants would make more money, but didn't fix the flooding in the low-lying areas).

And of course, if there's a plaque and everything it must be true. Hoboken, Birthplace of Frank Sinatra** and Baseball!

*Oh, come on, you knew I lived in Hoboken from the beginning of that paragraph.
**I hate Frank Sinatra.
Christopher Hatton
42. Xopher
Walking back from the realm of absurd arguments for a minute: are you SURE about the baseball? I could have sworn Sisko brought it from Earth, and it was (the real) Bokai's, yeah, but he bought it as memorabilia. In this ep I just thought Bokai was picking it up and playing with it because after all, it was his.

But I can't think why I believe this. The fact that the baseball persisting makes no sense in any universe doesn't mean it can't be true in the DS9 canon, of course. I just thought I remembered Sisko saying he brought it from Earth.

But then until I read this writeup I'd've sworn it appeared in the pilot. So my memory isn't the most reliable thing (like saying Everest isn't much of a valley).
Joseph Newton
43. crzydroid
@30, 31: This discussion almost got me into a Wikipedia trap of reading the various theories of the origins of baseball and about older games like round ball and town ball. But I've had enough experience with Wikipedia by now to know when I need to get out.
Christopher Bennett
44. ChristopherLBennett
@42: I did a search through TrekCore's screencap galleries of the first season, and while the screencaps were not exhaustive, I couldn't find any shots of the baseball on Sisko's desk prior to this episode.

That said, my assumption was always that ball "Bokai" was handling in the final scene was one that belonged to Sisko and that "Bokai" had just picked up.
Rob Rater
45. Quasarmodo
Was the early plan to make the doctor completely unlikable? Because if it was, they succeeded in spades. For me, anyway.

Double meh for this particular episode.
Christopher Hatton
46. Xopher
@44: That's reassuring. I was really sure...before. Glad that your impression matches mine.
Nick Hlavacek
47. Nick31
This was one of the episodes I actively disliked. The whole bit about the rift being just their imagination was completely predictable and made everyone in the crew look like idiots for not seeing it sooner.
Nentuaby
48. Greasy Mud Fart
The anomaly is a space vagina, that is all.
Nentuaby
49. Etherbeard
This episode reminded me somewhat of Michael Crichton's novel, Sphere.
Nentuaby
50. WideAndNerdy
Creepy? I'm sick of this from geek communities of late. How dare a young man have a fantasy about an attractive young woman being into him. I mean in Julian's case we aren't even talking about how he actually behaves, we're talking about an extremely natural desire that exists only in his head until this happens. And you'll note that he has at least some reluctance about it when it becomes real. A Dax that he at first assumes is real jumps into bed with him and he has at least some resistance to that? I'd call that admirable. If thats not good enough for you, then I'm done trying to understand your position.

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