Haley Orwick and Gabe Mathis kept the tickets from their first ballpark date at Safeco Field: Section 248, Row 2, Seats 8 and 9. Now they have another treasured memento of that big day: Episode 30 in season 2 of the hit MLB.com game show "Bucks on the Pond" powered by Ford.
Safeco becomes the 25th of the 30 Major League ballparks to get in on the "Bucks" concourse trivia action, and you can watch to find out whether MLB.com adds to the $19,525 sum it already has doled out to fans in a run of now 59 overall shows going back to last August.
"We have been together six months, and this was our first date at Safeco," Orwick said in an email to MLB.com. "Gabe hadn't been there since the Mariners played in the Kingdome, and this season was my first game in about 13 years. Alex Rodriguez was on the team last time I had been to a game there. I don't think we could have had a better situation for a ballpark date: Free tickets, free food, free drinks and 'Bucks on the Pond.' I hope we make it back a couple times this season."
Their date, complete with a final-answer kiss, came courtesy of a corporate outing by Satori Software, a mailing and data quality company where Orwick works as an account manager. Mathis, from Battle Ground, Wash., is a consultant working with different businesses to help them choose and implement IT solutions for their companies. The pair used to work together, and thanks to the outing, they wound up in the Terrace Club and were in the vicinity where the "Bucks" crew snagged them.
"It was awesome," Mathis said.
"Neither of us had heard of 'Bucks on the Pond' before," Orwick said, "so after the game, we were definitely watching videos at MLB.com/bucks to see how we compared to other contestants. We loved being a part of it."
"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 released each Tuesday and Thursday.
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.
Topics covered in this episode include Mariners pitchers, international currency, electricity, inventors, Seattle franchise history, "South Park," coffee, Jimi Hendrix, no-hitters, Mariners RBI leaders and the human eye. Haley said some last-minute cramming was responsible for at least one of their correct answers -- knowing 1977 was the first year for the Mariners.
"It was a lucky/educated guess," said Orwick, who is from Spokane. "Earlier in the day, we were looking at stuff about Dave Niehaus. It said he was with the Mariners from 1977 to 2010. I knew he had been with the Mariners for a long time, but I wasn't positive that he had been there from the beginning. So I figured it was as good a guess as anything else."
In addition to the Mariners, teams visited by the "Bucks" crew include the Angels, Astros, Athletics, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, D-backs, Dodgers, Giants, Indians, Marlins, Mets, Orioles, Padres, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Reds, Rockies, Royals, Tigers, Twins, White Sox and Yankees. Bookmark MLB.com/bucks and be on the lookout for the "Bucks" crew at your ballpark.