Denise Mitchell is a longtime Orioles fan, and she recently took Shenandoah University cross-country teammate Roni Frye to her first game at Camden Yards.
The Orioles won, and so did the two fans. The pair scored $235 from MLB.com in the brand-new ballpark game show "Bucks on the Pond."
"It was seriously one of the coolest things that could have happened on my first trip to an MLB game," Frye said in an email. "We had joked that we should have bought the more expensive tickets since we wouldn't have been out so much money. I think that the show will do well, it was a lot of fun and it was so awesome to start off my first game. The ballpark was a lot of fun, it was great that the Orioles won and overall it was a great experience."
"Bucks on the Pond" is hosted by Jeremy Brisiel and is exclusive new content from MLB.com, and you might be a part of it when you least expect it. Shot on location at Major League stadiums, it is a fun and exciting fan interactivity in conjunction with the game action.
In creating a new experience for fans at the ballpark, MLB.com is giving people a chance to win bucks while they spend bucks.
Let's say you got up to order a hot dog between innings or you are at one of the souvenir stands on the concourse. Fans are selected randomly on the day the Bucks team is at that park, and suddenly the game is on.
Contestants are asked a trivia question -- general knowledge and baseball -- on each pitch in a half-inning of baseball. Get the question correct and earn some bucks. Get the question wrong and it's a strike. Three strikes and you're out.
The questions' difficulty and value increase with the 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 money in their bank.
That is exactly what happened to Mitchell, from Ellicott City, Md., and Frye, from Winchester, Va. In the bottom of the first inning, they had a quick $5 and then correctly said what type of candy Jelly Belly is famous for making (the answer is jelly beans). As they were answering, Ryan Flaherty of the Orioles hit a home run, so their winnings shot up to $35.
The Orioles hit three home runs in that half-inning, a gift for the contestants. Bonus bucks include a two-times value for a double, three-times value for a triple and four-times value for a homer. Each run scored during a play adds a $10 bonus.
While Mitchell handled most of the baseball questions pretty well, knowing that "Major League II" was filmed there, Frye complemented her by nailing much of the pop-culture fare. There were two outs, so the hardest questions started. One of them was knowing the Discovery Channel show "Deadliest Catch," and that took them from $175 to $195.
"Look at you," Mitchell, also a softball player, told her former college roommate amid their exuberance.
Two more correct answers before the Orioles were retired in the first inning and they had a cool $235, just for being at the ballpark.
"Denise was just as stunned as me that it happened that way," Frye said of her maiden voyage to a Major League game. "We met up with some friends inside the park later and told them that we had gone on 'Bucks on the Pond,' and they thought that it was really cool, as well as us. Some of our friends were shocked that we really did get to go on a trivia game."
In addition to the Orioles, teams visited so far include the Dodgers, Marlins, Red Sox, Royals and Yankees. Tentatively coming up are home games for the Astros, Cubs and Mets.
"Overall, we loved the experience," Frye said, "and we think that it was great ... it was a lot of fun and a wonderful way to get another experience at Camden Yards."