If you’ve ever watched Deep Space Nine, then you know how much Commander Sisko loved baseball. The first time he met his new love interest, Kasidy Yates, she told him how some human colonists were playing baseball — and Sisko just about jumped out of his seat with joy. Baseball was a theme on DS9, and the crew even got to face a team of Vulcans on the episode “Take Me Out to the Holosuite.”
So, to mark the opening day of Major League Baseball season, we’ve compiled a few fun stories to show how Baseball and Star Trek have influenced each other for many years.
The Spock Pitch
For the years he was in the big leagues, relief pitcher Joe Nelson would come into a game and prevent any batter from reaching home. His objective was to end innings as quickly as possible. To do this, Nelson used his patented “Vulcan-Grip Changeup.”
Nelson told the Tampa Bay Times that he started using this pitch when he was in college at the University of San Francisco. Basically, he made Spock’s famous “Live Long and Prosper” gesture with his right hand, shove the ball in, and throw it that way.
The pitch must have worked for Nelson because he lasted four seasons in Major League Baseball. He brought his Vulcan-Grip Changeup to the Kansas City Royals, the Tampa Bay Rays, the Miami Marlins, and the Boston Red Sox.
Drafting New Players the Vulcan Way
Apparently, executives in baseball sometimes tap into their inner Spock. When selecting new players for their big league teams and minor league rosters, they must try to remain logical at all times. This includes comparing the numbers a player produces when at-bat, fielding, and all the other statistics produced during the game.
This thinking is known as sabermetrics and was the basis of the ideas in the Brad Pitt film Moneyball.
So, to think more like Mr. Spock when drafting your roster is best. Recently, sportswriter Seth Carter compared the Tampa Bay Rays to Spock, saying that they drafted their team much like Spock would have. That is, logically.
Carter had some fun with his article, noting that while the Rays did the logical thing, they must have had to fight off their “inner Kirk” when making those picks. Kirk, according to Carter, was the voice of passion and emotion.
Star Trek Theme Nights
For years, especially in the Minor Leagues, teams will give promotional items to fans who come to special games. These are theme nights, and there have been many Star Trek theme nights and a ton of cool giveaways from the various franchises.
One hilarious theme night was actually supposed to be a Star Wars evening. A bunch of Trek fans showed up — in uniform. During a Fresno Grizzlies game, the fans of the two sci-fi franchises were allowed to take to the field to settle their differences. This time, it was by dancing and not with phasers or lightsabers.
— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) June 18, 2017
According to Polygon, the Star Wars fans won the dance-off. This time.
Scotty Beams One Across Home Plate
In 1996, James Doohan was the special guest of the Seattle Mariners for their “Turn Back The Clock Night.” The announcer couldn’t resist calling him “Scotty” as Doohan tossed the ball across the plate to start the game. After the pitch, as Doohan walked off the field, the stadium played the theme from Star Trek: The Next Generation.