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Couple vies for cash in 'Bucks' return to Windy City

They are on a cruise to the Bahamas right now, telling stories about how they correctly answered a question from the same Frank Thomas they used to watch as White Sox fans, toasting to the science question she got right as a teacher and the morning-bugle question he got right as a military veteran. They'll be laughing throughout their fabulous getaway about how they were in the White Sox Social Media Lounge of U.S. Cellular Field before a game when they shouted "Show me the money!" in unison upon a "Jerry Maguire" reference.

Standings notwithstanding, Brenda Edwards and Richard Johnson of Gary, Ind., are having a pretty good summer. Exactly how good is not something we can give away here. They star in Episode 17 of the hit game show "Bucks on the Pond" powered by Ford, which had just given away 240 bucks to a quartet of Cubs fans in the previous episode up on Chicago's North Side.

"I love the game," Edwards said. "We play this game on little machines, and we just love it. We go against each other. My advice is, 'Just have fun.' You've got to think quick, though."

"I love it," Johnson said of the whole experience that day. "The stadium is beautiful. It's new. There's nothing falling off the rafters. ['Bucks'] is a great game, a lot of fun, and the camera aspect is even better. Being on TV, potentially, that's everything."

"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's studio through the magic of technology in conjunction with game action inside. In creating a new experience for fans, is giving people a chance to earn bucks while they spend bucks at the ballpark.

Or, in the case of these two White Sox fans, the chance to win bucks "for our cruise."

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.

Here's the new wrinkle: Cross the $100 mark during the show and it's time for "Say The Word" powered by Ford SYNC. You can wager any part of your bank on the next question, which is asked each episode by the Big Hurt, a White Sox legend. Answer correctly and you win, answer incorrectly and you lose that amount ... and it's another strike.

Edwards and Johnson have been dating for "a long time" in her words, and they were at U.S. Cellular Field on this particular day as part of a three-bus caravan thanks to Edwards' mother and her company in Gary, Lever Brothers.

"We have a lot of members here from our family," Edwards said.

She teaches reading to seventh- and eighth-graders at Lew Wallace STEM Academy, and he is in sales. While Johnson has been to White Sox games on multiple occasions, it was a maiden voyage for Edwards.

"I like it. The baseball field is very small, but I like it," she said.

Amused at her reply, Johnson added with a laugh: "Less seats, more field."

They have varying baseball interests, granted, but the "Bucks" crew found their teamwork skills to be pretty formidable in trivia. "Bucks" goes way beyond baseball.

Topics covered in this episode include U.S. states, citrus, White Sox award winners, medical professions, major cities, White Sox relievers, 1980s music, creatures of the night, Tom Cruise (speaking of Cruises and sports), White Sox 1990s stars, musical instruments, baseball terminology and mountain ranges.

It was the second visit to U.S. Cellular Field, and the second involving school faculty. In a rowdy Episode 10 of season one, a dean of students and three buddies completed a perfect game and racked up 170 bucks.

This is the 46th overall episode. In addition to the White Sox, teams visited by the "Bucks" crew include the Angels, Astros, Athletics, Cardinals, Cubs, D-backs, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Marlins, Mets, Orioles, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Padres, Pirates, Tigers and Yankees. Bookmark and be on the lookout for the "Bucks" crew at your ballpark.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of Read and join other baseball fans on his community blog.
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