09/04/12 11:00 AM ET
Classroom knowledge applied to 'Bucks on the Pond'
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
They were watching Chris Sale and the White Sox beat the A's on a magnificent Sunday afternoon, and they were in a festive mood on Spirit & Mascot Day at the ballpark. But dean Brian McLaughlin was especially spirited: He and three buddies were winning some bucks.
The hit MLB.com game show "Bucks on the Pond" is releasing a new episode every Tuesday and Thursday this season. Starring in Episode 10 is "B-Mac," along with Jim Sokoloski of Oak Forest, Ill., Rob Assise of Chicago and Adam Phillips of Chicago Ridge, Ill. All we can say is bee-yaaaaa, and you can watch the video to see why.
"It was really cool being grabbed to do 'Bucks on the Pond,'" McLaughlin said in an email to MLB.com. "We didn't know what we were in for, but wow, we had an awesome time and it led to a big White Sox win that day."
"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.
"I think it's a really cool show, and being part of it is even better," said McLaughlin, also a Bears and Blackhawks fan from Mokena, Ill. "You go to the game to enjoy yourself, and to get surprised by the 'Bucks' crew was awesome. It should be on MLB Network, too. I have watched all the episodes online, and it's really cool to see other ballparks and fans competing on the show."
"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, [particularly] 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."
Think you can stump a group that includes a high school dean? 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.
Fans are selected randomly on the day the "Bucks" team is at that park, and MLB.com's "Bucks" crew found this quartet out on the right-field concourse at U.S. Cellular Field. From the beginning, a curious pattern emerged after each answer.
"Not exactly sure what's happening, maybe that was South Side Harry [Caray]," Brisiel said after one of the first celebratory gestures from the dean. "It'd be nice if you guys could try to find some energy just to bring to the show."
Would this become a ballpark trend? Where did that celebration move come from? They even added one for the road, applying it to the signature sign-off by participants in every episode.
"The BEE-YA came from the  presidential candidate Howard Dean, when we went off on what states he was going to and then after [comedian Dave] Chappelle's show did a mock of him," McLaughlin explained in the email. "We just use that whenever we are together having a good time. BEEEEE-YYYAAAAAAAA. It's pretty funny."
In addition to the White Sox, teams visited so far include the Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles, Royals, Astros and Marlins. Some clubs have had multiple episodes. Be on the lookout for the "Bucks" crew at your ballpark, and feel free to add your own happy dances.