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VIDEO: ‘Batter’s Box’ game show will test Cubs, Sox fans in the clutch

AT A GLANCE

The Batter’s BOX

Premiere:
5 p.m. Sunday (after Cubs postgame).

TV: CSN.

Online: View a preview at suntimes.com/sports.

Updated: July 30, 2012 6:35AM



When Luke Stuckmeyer talks about hosting Comcast SportsNet’s new game show, ‘‘The Batter’s Box,’’ he can’t help but pepper the conversation with references to ‘‘The Price Is Right’’ and ‘‘Love Connection,’’ two of his favorite game shows from his youth.

‘‘I was afraid I was going to tell people to spay or neuter their pets, but I was really hoping for Barker’s Beauties to come out,’’ said Stuckmeyer, referring to iconic game-show host Bob Barker and his models.

‘‘Batter’s Box’’ begins its first season Sunday immediately after the Cubs postgame show. The half-hour show will air every Sunday for 15 weeks after that day’s baseball broadcast. The championship round will air Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

The concept of each show is to pit either two Cubs fans or two White Sox fans against each other, with questions ranging from the easy (classified as a ‘‘single’’) to difficult (a ‘‘home run’’). The first episode will feature Cub fans Brian Bosley and Will Cook.

Sample questions contestants may face:

† In the ‘‘single’’ category: What year was the Cubs’ first night game? (Answer: 1988.)

† In the ‘‘triple’’ category: Who holds the Sox’ career record for saves by a lefty? (Terry Forster.)

† In the ‘‘home run’’ category: Which Cubs pitcher threw two complete-game shutouts in one day? (Ed Ruelbach.)

‘‘Overconfidence can set someone up for disappointment,’’ Stuck­meyer said. ‘‘You just blurt out the answer, and a couple of times I thought, ‘Oh, wow, I’m really glad I’m not them right now.’ ”

As the season goes on, contestants are eliminated until one Cubs fan and one Sox fan remain; they’ll square off in the final show. Each finalist wins an autographed jersey and tickets to either the Cubs or Sox convention. The overall champion will receive the ‘‘ultimate game experience’’: a suite at U.S. Cellular Field or Wrigley Field for the winner and guests, a visit to the broadcast booth and the opportunities to throw out the first pitch and watch batting practice on the field at a 2013 game to be determined.

There are 16 contestants when the season starts, eight Cubs fans and eight Sox fans. Greg Bowman, CSN’s vice president of programming, said those players were chosen from a casting call at Kincade’s in Lincoln Park on May 18 and 19. About 100 fans showed up to the two-day event. CSN taped 15 shows.

Bowman said he is always looking for more and varied programming. A year ago, he came across a similar game show in the Boston area for Red Sox fans. Bowman contacted the production company, StarPilot Productions in Boston, and put a proposal together in November 2011.

‘‘I was surprised at how passionate and knowledgeable they were about their team,’’ Bowman said. ‘‘And I was surprised at the different strategies of how people played. Some played it safe and went for ‘small ball.’ ’’



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