In the second episode of the hit MLB.com game show "Bucks on the Pond" earlier this season, Angels fan Stephanie Stroup was celebrating her birthday at a ballgame, and she and her group wound up banking $205 for handling our trivia heat.
Episode 6 was released on Tuesday, and it continues that same theme. This time it was Facio Palomino of San Diego celebrating his birthday at his first Angels game, where he was a willing "Bucks" contestant, along with wife Bridget and daughter Alana. Would they find the same kind of payoff? Or would a couple of early strikes on home furnishings and Angels stats lead them to our first 2013 flop?
"He's a fan of baseball, it's his birthday, and put two and two together and that's a great birthday gift for him," said Bridget, who surprised him with the tickets. "We thought it would be nice to come to Angel Stadium and check out the team. Being on 'Bucks on the Pond" caught me off guard, but it was exciting -- something new, something to talk about and experience."
"Bucks" is hosted by Jeremy Brisiel, and you might be a part of it 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.
"It was exciting, because I wanted to be on MLB.com," said Facio, a Puma store manager. "Absolutely fun."
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.
Topics covered in this episode include nursery rhymes, home furnishings, Mickey Mouse, playing cards, Angels stats, British expressions, jewels, Texas cities, foreign flags, Angels owners, music festivals, toy characters, dog breeds, Rocky movies, Missouri towns, U.S. airports, The Jacksons and ocean borders.
You'll have to watch the episode to see how the Palominos did, but we do have a moral of the story to impart to students who are in class, perhaps right now: Pay attention to your teacher. Alana is a seventh-grader, and she can attest to that.
"Every week we do a thing called daily oral geography," she said. "I used to hate it. And now it actually works. It pays off."
Alana's advice for future "Bucks" contestants: "Study all trivia, everything, anything that you can learn."
Her mom added: "Watch a lot of TV." And know some baseball, of course.
Fans are chosen randomly by the "Bucks" crew, and new episodes are being released every Tuesday and Thursday again this season.
The "Bucks" crew has been to more than half of all Major League ballparks and is working its way through the full list. In addition to the Angels, teams visited include the Astros, Athletics, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Giants, Marlins, Padres, Red Sox, Reds, Royals, Orioles, Tigers, White Sox and Yankees. 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.