The hit MLB.com game show "Bucks on the Pond" powered by Ford just rolled through its first birthday with a total of $19,075 handed out for extra gameday spending money on the concourses of 24 Major League ballparks to date. Now it's back to Cleveland to see if four fans can become the first Indians contestants to bank some cash.
Episode 28 of this second season (57th overall episode) includes Amber Simon and Jonathan Forte, a couple who found out a week after this taping at Progressive Field that they are expecting a baby. Simon, now 10 weeks pregnant, majors in early childhood education development at Stark State College in North Canton, Ohio. Forte is from Barberton, Ohio, and works in computer repair.
"Bucks" episodes debut each Tuesday and Thursday, and you'll have to watch the latest video to see whether they can fare better than the pair of Tribe fans who found an ignominious end in Episode 14, despite help from the Sugardale Hot Dog Derby racing mascots. Simon and Forte hope to pocket some bucks toward their expanding family future, as they compete along with fellow contestants and past acquaintances Marjorie Ulyan of Willowick, Ohio, and Jeremy Worley of Timberlake, Ohio.
This much is certain: high expectations when out at the ballpark these days. The Indians entered their current road trip just four games out in positioning for the second American League Wild Card berth, seemingly energized in this Terry Francona era.
"When I was a kid, I went to the Indians game with my family on Father's Day and sat up in a suite," Simon remembered. "It was so amazing and really awesome to see the Indians in the World Series back then. They haven't won it all in so long, and I'm looking forward to the excitement of being in another World Series like we were in '95 and '97."
"It is really amazing to be involved in a pennant race again," Forte added. "I am excited to seeing the Indians doing well and I hope they get better and bring Cleveland a World Series title."
"Bucks" is hosted by Jeremy Brisiel and you might be a part of this season when you least expect it. Fans at the ballpark interact with MLB.com's studio through the magic of technology in conjunction with game action inside. In creating a new experience for fans, MLB.com is giving people a chance to earn bucks while they spend bucks at the ballpark.
Contestants are asked a trivia question -- general knowledge and baseball -- on each pitch during a half-inning of baseball. Get the question correct and win money. Get the question wrong and it's a strike. Three strikes and you're out.
The questions' difficulty and value increase with the number of outs in the on-field action: $5 easy questions to start, $10 medium-difficulty questions after one out, $20 hard questions after two outs. If the contestant lasts longer than the team's at-bat, they win the bucks in their bank.
Cross the $100 mark during the show, and that's where Frank Thomas comes into play. You can wager any part of your bank on that next question, which is asked each episode by the 2014 Hall of Fame candidate. Answer correctly and you win, answer incorrectly and you lose that amount ... and it's another strike.
Topics covered in this episode include continents, Indians pitching leaders, U.S. states, Jennifer Aniston love interests, science, "Saturday Night Live" talent, Indians ballparks, musicians, Hanukkah, Disney characters, Indians RBI leaders, crystal and TV soap operas.
Worley, a property manager at an apartment complex, said he had watched the episodes at MLB.com/bucks and was happy for the chance to make an ideal day at the ballpark even better.
"I've seen it online and it's a really cool game and I'm just glad to be a part of it," he said. "You always get some nerves and stuff like that. But like when you're in a game, you just kind of shake them off and do your thing."
In addition to the Indians, teams visited by the "Bucks" crew include the Angels, Astros, Athletics, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, D-backs, Dodgers, Giants, Marlins, Mets, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox and Yankees. New scenery is on the way, too. Bookmark MLB.com/bucks and be on the lookout for the "Bucks" crew at your ballpark.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog.