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.
Dunn shines, Bums win 1st game
Scott Dunn got it done Sunday. The veteran Traverse City righthander pitched seven shutout innings as the Beach Bums broke into the win column with a 6-2 victory over the Joliet Slammers.Continued ...
Beach Bums fall in Joliet, 6-3
Catcher Grant DeBruin went 3-for-3 and drove in three runs Saturday night as the Joliet Slammers made it two straight over the Traverse City Beach Bums, 6-3.Continued ...
Beach Bums lose, 5-2
Goose Kallunki drove in three runs Friday night as Joliet beat the Traverse City Beach Bums 5-2 in a Frontier League season opener.Continued ...
FINAL: Joliet 5, Traverse City 2
The Traverse City Beach Bums lost their 2013 Frontier League season opener 5-2 to the Joliet Slammers on Friday night.Continued ...
UPDATE: Beach Bums, Slammers tied 1-1 in 4th
The Traverse City Beach Bums are tied with Joliet 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning of their 2013 Frontier League baseball season opener.Continued ...
Beach Bums open tonight against Joliet
Jacob Clem will get the start in tonight’s Traverse City Beach Bums opener at Joliet.Continued ...
- Thursday, May 16, 2013
Wuerfel Park power numbers on the rise
One season probably doesn't completely kill the opinion of Wuerfel Park. But after last season's surge in power numbers, the Beach Bums are doing their best to change the notion that their home park isn't friendly to hitters.Continued ...
Gusrang's move to outfield pays big dividends right away
Sean Gusrang was an infielder by trade. Until last season, that is.Continued ...
Bums' bullpen figures to be strong
If things go as expected, Beach Bums’ opponents may be hard-pressed to find success in the late stages of games.Continued ...
Vargas no laughing matter to Frontier League pitchers
You might not know it, but reigning Frontier League MVP Jose Vargas is a bit of a joker. The Traverse City Beach Bums slugger usually keeps a straight face in public.Continued ...
Nidiffer adds more than a bat to Bums' roster
Marcus Nidiffer is a coach on the field. He's also a pitcher's best friend. That's part of his job description as the catcher for the Traverse City Beach Bums.Continued ...
- Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Langbehn not yet ready to set Bums lineup
Starting rotation? Still working on it. Opening day pitcher? To be determined. Starting lineup? Pending.Continued ...
- Monday, May 6, 2013
Former Rippers find home with Beach Bums
Chris Kaminski witnessed a baseball franchise collapse last season. Which makes him all that more glad he's now with one that's been stable.Continued ...
- Friday, May 3, 2013
Skipper vows Bums will make it on merit
When Traverse City Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn met with his players this week he did not talk about goals.Continued ...
2013 Beach Bums training camp roster
2013 Beach Bums training camp roster:Continued ...
- Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Beach Bums pick pair of lefties in draft
The Traverse City Beach Bums selected two left-handed pitchers in Tuesday’s Frontier League draft.Continued ...
2013 Frontier League tryout draft
Frontier League tryout draft results:Continued ...
- Thursday, April 18, 2013
Beach Bums add outfielder, 2 more pitchers
The Beach Bums roster is nearing completion. With Wednesday's addition of outfielder Mike Mergenthaler and pitchers Johnny Omahen and Michael Kerschner, the team's roster sits at 28.Continued ...
- Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Beach Bums re-sign Burch, Sabol, add 2 more
The Beach Bums re-signed first baseman Chase Burch for the upcoming season, giving the team a formidable middle-of-the-order bat to build a lineup around.Continued ...
- Friday, March 8, 2013
Sports in Brief: 03/08/2013
Beach Bums sign pitcher Phil Brua; Mayor passes on bid idea for 2024 Olympics; St. Louis shortstop to undergo elbow surgery. (Plus more)Continued ...
- Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Bums could have familiar look
When the Traverse City Beach Bums take the field for their home opener May 21, the lineup could look very familiar to fans.Continued ...
Maple, birch bats returning to Frontier League
Wuerfel Park is not known as a place to go to see a ton of home runs.Continued ...
- Thursday, December 20, 2012
Still returning to Beach Bums in '13
The Traverse City Beach Bums have announced that All-Star second baseman Ryan Still is returning to the team in 2013.Continued ...
- Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Bums reflect on highs, lows
Gregg Langbehn will rejoin his crew Friday to officiate the Wisconsin Rapids-Oshkosh West high school football game. Langbehn, manager of the Traverse City Beach Bums, was hoping to miss his fourth consecutive week of football, but plans changed after Southern Illinois completed a three-game sweep of the Frontier League’s No. 1 playoff seed on Saturday night.Continued ...
- Friday, September 7, 2012
Bums face elimination
You could almost hear a pin drop in the Traverse City locker room. The silence was created when Southern Illinois’ Ken Gregory belted a solo home run on the first pitch he saw in the 10th inning Thursday to give the Miners a 5-4 victory and a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-5 series.Continued ...
- Dunn shines, Bums win 1st game