Episode 14 of the hit new MLB.com game show "Bucks on the Pond" features six contestants, the largest group so far this season. Here's what it means to go large as a trivia team:
(a) You have a better chance at answering the tough questions correctly;
(b) You have to split your winnings with more people;
(c) You will suffer greater humiliation if you fail to win some bucks;
(d) You are more likely to team up with in-state rivals at an Interleague game;
(e) You might suddenly start a dance craze.
A new "Bucks" episode is released every Tuesday and Thursday, and the latest one returns to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City as a crowd within the crowd. Royals fans Randy and Stephanie Angerer of Jefferson City, Mo., and Jennifer Engelhardt and Christopher Vandiver of Roeland Park, Kan., teamed up with friends and Cardinals fans/newlyweds Jessica and Ryan Stuenkel of Jefferson City for Tuesday's latest version. Watch the show to see how they fared and why "Milky Way" dance fever could become popular.
"It was an exciting experience that made for an awesome birthday," said Randy Angerer, whose 29th birthday present was not only a trip to Cardinals-Royals but also a "Bucks" taping. "We all really love playing trivia games, and combining that with the excitement of the ballgame, along with the activities going on in The Outfield Experience, made for an incredible day."
"I think this makes the game a little more fun and interactive for the fans -- both those participating and those watching the group prosper or perish," Engelhardt said. "The larger group definitely helped us -- or at least me. I am not very good at trivia, so I'm glad there were others to pull my weight for me."
"Bucks on the Pond" is hosted by Jeremy Brisiel, and you might be a part of it 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.
"It was definitely an advantage having more people, and we all have our own knowledgeable areas," Randy Angerer said. "That does mean less money to go around, but we probably would have done it just for the fun of it."
Randy is a software engineer at Public School Retirement of Missouri and a lifelong Royals fan, who converted wife Stephanie "into a Royal fan/Cardinal hater." Jessica Stuenkel is his sister and is married to his friend Ryan, and as Cardinals fans, they must weather the storm when the group is asked which year the Royals won the World Series (1985 vs. St. Louis).
Engelhardt is a business graduate from the University of Missouri and now works in Kansas City as a safety consultant in the food industry, focusing on worker and work environment safety. She is dating Vandiver, who is Randy Angerer's former Mizzou roomate. Vandiver served time in Afghanistan for the U.S. Army and is now attending University of Missouri-Kansas City doing his residency at Truman Hospital in Kansas City for his CRNA (Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesia), scheduled to graduate next May. Oh, and Engelhardt is Stephanie's sister.
Got all that? In addition to a "Bucks" episode, these six would make for a great MTV series. From left to right during most of the show are Jessica, Stephanie and Jennifer in the front row, with Ryan, Chris and Randy in the back.
"Since most of us are from central Missouri, it is a toss0up as to which team you are a fan of," Randy said in an e-mail Monday to MLB.com. "A lot of it depends on who your parents rooted for as you were growing up. This causes many heated debates, but it is all fun."
On June 23, the Cardinals beat the Royals and there were a slew of rival fans from St. Louis celebrating afterward. The opposite can be true sometimes at Busch Stadium, as Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer noted the day of the taping.
"It's the rivalry," Hosmer said. "When we were in St. Louis, there was a good amount of blue there too. They have a real strong fan base and we're right here in their neck of the woods. It's part of the rivalry, and we all understand that. That's what makes it fun."
But who knew it would be this much fun?
"It was very unexpected, but it was a lot of fun," Engelhardt said. "I really enjoy being part of the other events going on at the stadium; I'm still surprised our group got picked."
"The show is very entertaining," Angerer said. "It is amazing to see how much people know about baseball and other random trivia. My favorite show so far has been the boys in blue."
It was the second show of the season at Kauffman Stadium, following Episode 4, which starred two fans wearing blue paint. Other clubs visited so far include the Reds, Cubs, White Sox, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Astros and Marlins. Bookmark MLB.com/bucks and be on the lookout for the "Bucks" crew at your ballpark.
"This has been great, and I hope MLB.com will continue doing these around the country," Angerer said. "It makes for a great memory that we can tell friends and family for years to come."