Life is good for a Bucs fan right now.
Win some bucks from MLB.com at a game and it is even better.
That's what happened to a trio of contestants who rung up $280 earlier this season in the 12th episode of the hit MLB.com game show "Bucks on the Pond" powered by Ford. Now the "Bucks" crew is back in Pittsburgh for Thursday's release of Episode 27, and you'll have to watch the video to see if the wins keep coming.
After a few White Sox fans went down swinging in our previous show, the total cash from MLB.com remains at $18,910 doled out to fans at 24 of the 30 Major League ballparks spanning 55 overall episodes since the first one was posted last August. That's a solid year of helping fans like you spend some big green while you are out enjoying the big leagues.
This episode finds longtime Pirates fans Jim Saylor of Pittsburgh and Rick Sporcic of Brackenridge, Pa., standing on the PNC Park River Walk next to Manny's BBQ as fans filter in and with the glistening yellow Clemente Bridge behind them. They already made a little "Bucks" history. Saylor is the first-ever Ron Washington lookalike on our set, and Sporcic has the biggest glove. Hey, it says "BIG GLOVE" on the back of his Bucs jersey, and he shows a massive glove that comes in handy snagging baseballs.
"I bought it last season," Sporcic explained. "It just helps to get baseballs and it gets players' attention."
Props like that one resulted in a baseball a day from All-Star reliever Jason Grilli, Sporcic said, and it should be noted that they also help get the attention of the "Bucks" crew. Fans filter in for the games and producers snag those who are willing. We're like a big glove.
"I was very nervous," said Saylor, a hospital volunteer.
"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, and shows are posted each Tuesday and Thursday. 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.
Big Glove meets Big Hurt.
"The money is just enough for new laces on your glove," JB tells Sporcic as they are gradually building their bank.
Topics covered in this episode include world geography, bread, calendar, ballparks, fireplaces, birds, hip-hop, Pirates pitchers, Ben Stiller movies, punk rock bands, inventors, baseball positions, Pirates roster, Japanese food and Andy Warhol.
One of the easy-round questions asks the pair to name the 10th month of the calendar year. Without giving away the answer (we said it was easy), let's just say that the contestants' favorite team is very much in line to be playing baseball that month. Pittsburgh entered this episode's release with the best winning percentage (.611) in the Majors.
Fans are happy with the Bucs, and they are even happier when they also have a chance to win some bucks.
"The 'Bucks' money might come in handy," Sporcic, then "unemployed," said when asked what he would do with the money should the pair win. "Might pay my cell-phone bill."
Calling all Pirates fans: You are having way too much fun right now.
In addition to the Pirates, teams visited by the "Bucks" crew include the Angels, Astros, Athletics, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, D-backs, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Marlins, Mets, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, 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.