TRAVERSE CITY — You could say Kip Masuda came a long way to join the Traverse City Beach Bums.
Masuda, a 21-year-old catcher, is the first Beach Bum to hail from Hawaii.
"It was seven hours to Dallas, two hours to Chicago and another hour and a half here," Masuda said of his travels to northern Michigan.
It's certainly a new experience for the Kaneohe, Hawaii, native.
"This is the furthest (East) I've even been," Masuda said. "And it's six hours ahead of Hawaii time. Going to sleep at midnight here, it's only 6 p.m. there. It's a little rough."
Masuda played his college ball at Cal State University Long Beach, which allowed him to see snow — once.
"Last year, in the offseason, I went to a mountain in California," Masuda said. "But I'm sure it's better here. I'm not too much of a cold-weather guy."
He — and the rest of his Beach Bums teammates — are hoping not to see it again this spring in Traverse City.
CLOSER TO HOME: Brent McNeil thought he had a long trip to Traverse City from his home in Lafayette, Ind. But it turns out, he lives closer to northern Michigan than any other Beach Bum.
"It was about five hours," McNeil said. "That's news to me. It felt like (I was a long way from home). I was in the car for five hours, it felt long to me. But we've got guys from a lot further than that."
The right-handed pitcher may not have family and friends at Wuerfel Park every night, but he does expect to have support throughout the season. Especially on the road, since his hometown is close to several Frontier League cities.
"They already plan on coming to some of those closer ones if they can't make it to Traverse City," McNeil said. "It's pretty nice that I'm not too far away."
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM?: Chad Cooper is back for a third go-round as the Beach Bums' radio announcer.
He previously was with the team for the team's inaugural 2006 season and then again in 2010.
So what brought the veteran broadcaster back to Traverse City?
"It's a place with a regular paycheck," Cooper joked. "The last place I was at went under after the season. Plus, how can you complain about being (in Traverse City)?"
STABILITY: The Beach Bums will have essentially the same coaching staff for the third straight season — something that doesn't often happen in this league.
Aside from manager Gregg Langbehn, hitting coach Shannon Hunt and infield/catching coach Matt Pulley return to their spots.
"We like that stability," Langbehn said. "Shannon and Matt have done a great job. They're hard-working and will do anything for the players. Our comfort level with each other is great."
There is one addition to the staff, as Traverse City native and veteran minor-league manager Dan Rohn will be helping out.
"Dan Rohn will be helping us out a little bit this year, primarily with the home games," Langbehn said. "We welcome the addition to help us out. He has a great background."
Rohn will mainly help with the infielders and fill in where needed. He managed the Seattle Mariners' AAA team from 2001-05 before joining the Mariners big-league team as an assistant in 2006. He also managed the San Francisco Giants' and Toronto Blue Jays' AAA affiliates.
WINNING WAYS: Beach Bums closer Scott Mueller was excited to get back to baseball after what he called a busy offseason.
It was also a winning one.
Back home in Arizona, Mueller coached the Greenway Demons JV basketball team to an 18-0 record. He's hoping to carry that into this summer with the Beach Bums.
"I've already had a good season, followed by another one," Mueller said.
INFIELD SHUFFLE: The Beach Bums haven't had good luck at keeping shortstops around for long this season.
The Bums signed Jordan Kreke, but he was snapped up by the Houston Astros before he could even get to Traverse City. Then Michigan State's Jon Roof was brought on to man the position, and he was signed by the San Diego Padres.
"We definitely have options," Langbehn said. "(Sean) Gusrang is an option. (Tom) Zebroski, (Jose) Vargas. We signed two kids out of the Frontier League draft, Albert Gonzalez and Felix Marte, so there's plenty of options. It'll all play out."
Slugger Stephen Shults — who would likely have started at third base — retired just a few days before the start of camp, adding to the shuffle. That could see Jose Vargas — who played at second, third and short last year — end up starting at third or short if none of the other options steps up in spring training.
"During the off-season I was taking a lot of grounders at shirt and third, so I've prepared myself to play shortstop if they need me to," Vargas said. "If not, I'm comfortable at third."
EX-BUM LANDS COACHING GIG: Former Beach Bums pitcher Matt Dillard is the London Rippers' assistant general manager, and was also given the title of bench coach this week.
Dillard was a reliever in the 2007 and 2008 seasons, appearing in 19 games with a 3-1 record after a four-year career at Eastern Michigan.
SNEAK PEAK: For the first time, the Beach Bums will host an open exhibition prior to the Frontier League season.
The Beach Bums will take on London at noon on May 12 at Wuerfel Park. Cost of the game is $1 for fans with free parking.
Catcher is TC's first player from Hawaii
TRAVERSE CITY — You could say Kip Masuda came a long way to join the Traverse City Beach Bums.
Bums ace hurler headed closer to home
A desire to play close to home led to a trade announced Tuesday that sent Traverse City ace pitcher Scott Dunn to the Washington Wild Things for All-Star infielder Jovan Rosa and a first round draft pick.Continued ...
Beach Bums trade Burch to RedHawks
TRAVERSE CITY -- A longtime fixture in the heart of the Traverse City Beach Bums lineup is gone. The Beach Bums traded first baseman Chase Burch to the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks of the American Association for a player to be named later and other consiContinued ...
Bums' Langbehn: Season was a success
If it were up to Traverse City Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn, his team would still be fighting for a Frontier League championship. But even after a Divisional Series loss to Lake Erie, Langbehn was happy with the way his team performed this year.Continued ...
Beach Bums season ends with rain-delayed loss
A crushing Game 5 loss in Friday’s early hours ended the Traverse City Beach Bums’ season.Continued ...
Game 5 of Bums' series delayed by rain
The fifth and deciding game of the Frontier League Divisional Series between Traverse City and Lake Erie was delayed by rain on Thursday with the Beach Bums leading 4-2 in the seventh inning.Continued ...
Crushers force Game 5, stun Beach Bums late
The Traverse City Beach Bums were seven outs away from their second-ever trip to the Frontier League Championship Series on Wednesday.Continued ...
- Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Video: Lake Erie 13, Beach Bums 3
Traverse City Beach Bums' first baseman Chase Burch shares his thoughts on tonight's 13-3 loss to Lake Erie. The Frontier League Divisional Series is now tied at 2-2.Continued ...
Bums take 2-1 series lead
Forget about home plate or third base, even second base seemed like a mirage to the Lake Erie Crushers on Tuesday night.Continued ...
- Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Video: TC Beach Bums vs. Lake Erie
Watch interviews with Traverse City's starting pitcher Mike Devine and Manager Gregg Langbehn after the Bums' 5-0 win over Lake Erie, which gave Traverse City a 2-1 lead in its playoff series with the Crushers.Continued ...
- Monday, September 9, 2013
Lake Erie ties series with Bums
Traverse City’s Frontier League playoff series will be coming back to town all knotted up at a game apiece.Continued ...
- Sunday, September 8, 2013
Bums take Game 1 from Crushers
Scott Dunn and Matt Miller combined to shut out the Lake Erie Crushers as the Traverse City Beach Bums won 8-0 to win Game 1 of their Frontier League playoff series.Continued ...
- Saturday, September 7, 2013
Beach Bums open playoff series tonight
The second season begins tonight for the Traverse City Beach Bums.Continued ...
- Friday, September 6, 2013
Bums beat Lake Erie to snap streak
Traverse City snapped an 11-game road losing streak on Thursday, ending the regular season with a 2-0 win over Lake Erie.Continued ...
- Thursday, September 5, 2013
Crushers clinch East championship
Lake Erie clinched the East Division championship with a 5-1 win Wednesday over the Traverse City Beach Bums.Continued ...
- Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Bums lose, clinch playoff spot
AVON, Ohio — Lake Erie's Anderson Hidalgo singled in Craig Hertler with one out in the 12th inning as the Crushers handed Traverse City a 3-2 loss Tuesday in the opening game of a series to decide the Frontier League's East Division. Even with that lContinued ...
- Monday, September 2, 2013
Gusrang wins game for Bums
Sean Gusrang’s two-out, game-wining RBI single in the 10th inning Sunday night set the stage for what promises to be an intriguing end to the Frontier League’s regular season.Continued ...
- Sunday, September 1, 2013
Bums no-hit by Joliet, lose 4-1
Six Joliet pitchers combined on a no-hitter Saturday night as the Slammers beat the Traverse City Beach Bums 4-1 in 10 innings.Continued ...
- Saturday, August 31, 2013
Beach Bums beat Joliet Slammers
Scott Woodward homered and drove in two runs to help the Traverse City Beach Bums stay atop the Frontier League’s East Division.Continued ...
- Friday, August 30, 2013
Burch hits walk-off grand slam in 11th
In the 11th inning, the Washington Wild Things walked Jose Vargas to load the bases and get to Chase Burch.Continued ...
- Monday, August 26, 2013
Beach Bums finish sweep of Normal
Remarkably, it only took a few days for Traverse City to make its recent six-game skid seem like a distant memory.Continued ...
- Sunday, August 25, 2013
Beach Bums beat Normal
The rollercoaster ride of the Traverse City Beach Bums continued Saturday as the Bums topped Noral 5-2 at Wuerfel Park for their second straight win.Continued ...
- Friday, August 23, 2013
Beach Bums drop sixth straight game
Traverse City dropped its sixth straight game on Thursday as River City completed a three-game sweep of the Beach Bums, 8-5.Continued ...
- Thursday, August 22, 2013
Beach Bums let lead slip away
River City plated six runs in the sixth inning to edge the slumping Beach Bums 6-5 in a Frontier League clash here.Continued ...
- Wednesday, August 21, 2013
River City tops Bums, 8-5
River City exploded for five runs in the bottom of the seventh for a come-from-behind 8-5 Frontier League win over the Beach Bums, who have now dropped seven road games in a row.Continued ...
- Monday, August 19, 2013
Boomers sweep Beach Bums with 5-3 win
Traverse City and Schaumburg came into their three-game series each atop their division. Not any more.Continued ...
- Bums ace hurler headed closer to home