6/27/2014 11:00 A.M. ET
Giants fans star in latest round of 'Bucks on the Pond'
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
Katherine Valenzuela and Hugo Castanon were watching the World Cup on Wednesday in wine country when they heard that Tim Lincecum was on his way to another no-hitter.
"We changed the channels to watch the eighth and ninth innings of Timmy getting the no-hitter," Castanon said. "Every year, we say, 'The Giants are going all the way,' and with Timmy's no-no, it just shows people that this year is going to be our year again."
Whether San Francisco can maintain its pattern of exultant even-numbered years remains to be seen, but you can understand these two fans' exuberance in particular. It's been a vintage season for Valenzuela and Castanon, complete with their starring role in the latest episode of the hit MLB.com game show "Bucks on the Pond," powered by Ford.
Watch the video and see whether they can add to the $320 tally paid out in the previous episode to a trio of Rockies fans. All "Bucks" winnings are matched with a total given to the Wounded Warrior Project, and new shows appear on MLB.com every Tuesday and Friday.
"For both of us, being on the show has been exciting. You can say it was our 15 minutes of fame," Castanon said. "Katherine's a mathematics professor at Santa Rosa Junior College, and her department goes to a Giants game every year. We happened to show up early to watch batting practice, and that's when we got stopped to be on the 'Bucks' show.
"The day we went to AT&T Park, we came with her department, which was great as everyone is a huge Giants fan. We sat behind home plate on the upper-deck level. Any seat in AT&T Park is amazing. The day we went, the weather was amazing, and the view is something you can't get anywhere else."
And where else can you win cash for just answering trivia questions at a ballgame?
"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.
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 Frank Thomas, an inductee next month into the Hall of Fame. Answer correctly and you win. Answer incorrectly and you lose that amount … and it's another strike.
Let's just say that the Big Hurt's question posed a challenge for the two San Francisco fans. But you could tell right from the start that they are a collaborative team. Valenzuela and Castanon are both born and raised in Sonoma, Calif., and they have helped each other become bigger sports fans.
"I showed him about baseball," Valenzuela said. "He showed me about football."
Valenzuela said her best Giants memory was "the first time I came to AT&T Park when it first opened. That was the awesomest game ever. How do you not fall in love with this view?"
Castanon said his was Kevin Mitchell's barehanded catch.
"My favorite moment, at Candlestick [Park], that's my favorite Giants moment," Castanon said. "That's back in the day. That was fun."
Now there is bound to be a new personal highlight, thanks to "Bucks on the Pond." They taped it outside the @Cafe, by the big glove beyond left field. Topics included musical instruments, the mambo, Giants scoring leaders, mammals, TV hosts, Will.i.am, Giants relievers, Levi's jeans, "Anchorman," Giants All-Stars, cheese, lineups and board games.
"It was fun," Valenzuela said. "Some questions were harder than we thought, but it was all good."
In addition to the Giants, teams visited by the "Bucks" crew include the Angels, Astros, Athletics, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, D-backs, Dodgers, Indians, 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.