To win 'Bucks,' Houston trio deploys Blue Steel

To win 'Bucks,' Houston trio deploys Blue Steel

On the night of Aug. 7 at Minute Maid Park, Brett Wallace hit a ball off Nationals closer Tyler Clippard to deep left-center in the bottom of the 12th inning. It was inches away from what might have been a walk-off winner, but center fielder Roger Bernadina sprinted and made a leaping catch into the screen to seal a 3-2 verdict for the National League East leaders.

Just above that very spot several innings earlier, there were shouts of delight from three satisfied Astros fans. They were on the concourse in left-center, winning some bucks.

The hit MLB.com game show "Bucks on the Pond" releases new episodes on Tuesday and Thursday this season, and starring in episode 11 are Erica and Jenna Rudoff and Jason Wingo, all of Houston. Fans are selected randomly the day the "Bucks" team is at that ballpark, and that trio was grabbed while out of their seats a few innings in. You'll have to watch the show to see how they fared.

"It's amazing," Jenna said.

"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, and the game corresponds with game action inside the park. In creating a new experience for fans, MLB.com is giving people a chance to earn bucks while 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 turn to bat, they win the bucks in their bank.

"I think it's a really cool show and being part of it is even better," said White Sox fan Brian McLaughlin of Mokena, Ill., who starred in episode 10. "You go to the game to enjoy yourself, and to get surprised by the 'Bucks' crew was awesome. ... I have watched all the episodes online and it's really cool to see other ballparks and fans competing on the show."

For example, there was the bachelorette party at Wrigley Field, the blue-painted duo in Kansas City and the Yankee Stadium date.

"It is very addicting to watch, just like other game shows on TV, but this gives you more because of the baseball aspect," McLaughlin said. "Just like 'Cash Cab,' it's just something you're not expecting doing it at a Major League park. I think a lot of people would watch it, especially if the fans are really into it during the game like in the previous shows."

The three Astros fans were into it, all right. After fielding a "Zoolander" trivia question, Erica even breaks out some Blue Steel. Not bad.

Watch this one and you'll know more about Texas cockroaches and Dr. Seuss, you'll get some Will Smith history, and you'll even see a little dance party break out. Geological forces may cause a slight issue, however.

In addition to the Astros, teams visited so far include the Cubs, White Sox, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Royals and Marlins. 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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.