Andrew Acklin and Katie Nowlin are now just "good friends."
But they had a ballpark date -- and a kiss -- to remember.
The pair of Indians fans star in Episode 33 of this second season of the hit MLB.com game show "Bucks on the Pond" powered by Ford. A total of $20,230 had been paid out so far to contestants at 25 of the 30 Major League ballparks, and this marks the third show of the season to come out of Cleveland. It follows the strikeout by two mascot-aided friends in Episode 14 and a $220 payday for a quartet in Episode 28.
"The experience was amazing and we had a blast," Acklin said in an email Thursday to MLB.com, reporting that the two contestants no longer date. "It was fun doing a trivia game, seeing our divisional rivalry against the Tigers. We had fantastic seats, down low on the first-base line. Unfortunately, it did rain twice, but it was still a great back-and-forth game.
"Being asked to do the trivia game was fun because it gave us the opportunity to win extra money and go out and have more fun at the ballpark. I love watching 'Bucks on the Pond.' I had seen it before at MLB.com/bucks, and it's an interesting mixture of regular trivia and how much you know your own team."
"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 it's time for "Say the Word" powered by Ford SYNC. You can wager any part of your bank on that next question, which is asked each episode by 2014 Hall of Fame candidate Frank Thomas. Answer correctly and you win, answer incorrectly and you lose that amount … and it's another strike.
Topics covered in this episode include Renaissance painters, Indians sluggers, beanies, "Star Wars," zodiac, Indians Opening Day starters, explorers, '80s music, test pilots, Indians affiliates and box score abbreviations.
Nowlin, who bails them out with a couple of big last-second answers, is a shift supervisor at Panera in Homerville, Ohio; Acklin is from Sandusky. In addition to being "good friends" now, here is something else that has changed since the episode was taped at Progressive Field: They know who Robert Redford is. "Yes, we know who he is now," Acklin said with a laugh. Watch the show and you may be glad to know that.
Acklin is among those who appreciate having a playoff chase to follow closely again, as the Indians enter Thursday's action 5 1/2 games behind Detroit in the American League Central, but just four back in the AL Wild Card chase.
"It's awesome," Acklin said. "Being from Cleveland, it's always a good thing."
In addition to the Indians, teams visited by the "Bucks" crew include the Angels, Astros, Athletics, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, D-backs, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, 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.