baseball

Taylor Wizner / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, hear how Michigan hops farmers are struggling to keep up with the craft beer boom. Plus, a look ahead on the future of the Traverse City Pit Spitters baseball team.

Five years ago hops were in high demand in Michigan, so farmers started experimenting with the crop. However, as beer tastes changed and breweries went looking for the next new thing, many northern Michigan hop farmers have been unable to make ends meet.

Players from the Traverse City Pit Spitters celebrate winning the 2019 Northwoods League championship on August 16th, in Traverse City.
Traverse City Pit Spitters

It’s going to be hard to top the season that the Traverse City Pit Spitters had in 2019. Besides winning the Northwoods League title, the team set a new league record with an 18-game winning streak. Looking ahead, general manager Mickey Graham thinks 2020 will be even better.

 


Despite the Traverse City Pit Spitters' winning record and engagement efforts, fan attendance numbers have been low.
Dan Wanschura / Interlochen Public Radio

This spring, a lot of fanfare accompanied the announcement the Pit Spitters baseball team was coming to Traverse City. Billboards went up declaring, “New Team. New Fun.” Now free pocket schedules can be found at just about any gas station you stop at in northern Michigan. But for all these efforts and the team’s recent 18-game winning streak, fans have been slow to respond.

 


Taylor Wizner

In the first episode of Points North, a teen parenting program called "Generations Ahead" in Grand Traverse County expands to include dads. It helps parents day-to-day and encourages them to stay in school. Plus, we look at new harvest limits for lake trout fishers in Grand Traverse Bay and visit a wood baseball bat craftsman in the middle of his busy season. 


The Traverse City Pit Spitters revealed the baseball team's new name and logo Tuesday morning at the State Theatre.
Dan Wanschura

The new baseball team in Traverse City has a name. The 'Pit Spitters' was the name chosen from over four-thousand fan suggestions, including Dogmen and Dune Bears.

Joe Chamberlin, CEO of the West Michigan Whitecaps, announces the purchase of the Traverse City Beach Bums and Wuerfel Park Wednesday.
Dan Wanschura

After 13 seasons in Traverse City, the Beach Bums are out. 

A group of investors led by the West Michigan Whitecaps announced the purchase of Wuerfel Park at a press conference Wednesday. They’ll start a new team that will play in the Northwoods League, a summer baseball league for top college players.


This weekend, baseball fans will roll the clock way back, more than 150 years.

There's a four-game tournament of early baseball happening at Cambridge Junction Historic State Park in Brooklyn, Michigan.

That's where the Walker Tavern Wheels will be hosting an invitational with the Saginaw Old Golds, the Detroit Early Risers, and the Canton Cornshuckers.

 

 

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio sports commentator, joined Stateside to give us an update on everything going on with Michigan sports (and there is a lot).

Beards and baseball mixed with roller coasters and religion. That could be a nutshell description of a West Michigan religious society known as the House of David. 

Bob Sandberg / Look

  Join Classical IPR on Monday, April 3 at 6 PM to celebrate Opening Day with "Play Ball!" This program salutes warmer weather and the beginning of the baseball season with a tribute to America’s national pastime.

Stepping up to the plate are Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelley, Les Brown, and Sarah Vaughan, with Count Basie, Vince Guaraldi, and Dave Frishberg on deck as well.

When you ask anyone about women’s professional baseball, the majority of people will make some reference to director Penny Marshall’s 1992 film A League of Their Own. The movie stars Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, and Madonna and tells the story of the real-life Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL).

Longtime Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell.
mwlguide via Wikimedia Commons

Spring is in the air! 

Or, at least Spring Training is in the air.

Before the first pitch, baseball fans expect to hear the national anthem performed by countless individuals throughout the long season.

Beach Bums vying for first championship title

Sep 15, 2015
The Traverse City Beach Bums celebrate a victory earlier this season. Tonight, they host Game 1 of the Frontier League Championship Series.
Traverse City Beach Bums

The Traverse City Beach Bums open up the Frontier League Championship Series tonight at Wuerfel Park. The Bums host the River City Rascals for three games in a best-of-five series.

When the Beach Bums started the 2015 season, they were coming off their worst season in franchise history. Manager Dan Rohn says it’s great to see the team’s hard work this year, pay off.

Metropolitan Detroit is getting a brand new baseball league.

The United Shore Professional Baseball League is preparing for its inaugural season in the summer of 2016, and a big part of that is a new baseball stadium now under construction in Utica.

 

It was 2009 when the wrecking ball took down Tiger Stadium.

Since then, volunteers who love that historic site at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull have cut the grass and maintained the field. They call themselves The Navin Field Grounds Crew, a tribute to the ballpark's name a century ago.

Now they fear their beloved grass could be replaced by artificial turf.

Beach Bums will send six players to All-Star Game

Jul 8, 2015
Traverse City Beach Bums

Six Traverse City Beach Bums have been elected to the Frontier League All-Star team. And because the Beach Bums are currently leading their division, Manager Dan Rohn will coach the All-Star team.

Rohn says the Beach Bums have come a long way from last season, when they were derailed by several injuries to key players.

“We just got everybody healthy and we’ve got a good group of guys and our pitching staff has shored up very nicely and we’re doing a great job," says Rohn. "It’s a matter of the attitude ... of the players going out and playing hard every night.”

Jose Vargas enters his fifth and likely final season with the Traverse City Beach Bums
Traverse City Beach Bums

The Traverse City Beach Bums open their home season this Friday night. Playing his fifth season with the Bums this year, is veteran Jose Vargas.

Ever since he was young, he’s dreamed of playing in the Big Leagues. And at age 27, Vargas has given himself one more chance to turn his dream into a reality. 

 

The waning weeks of the regular baseball season have turned into a real roller-coaster ride for the Tigers and their fans.


The Tigers got clobbered by the Twins last night, losing 8-4. And Kansas City won, so that American League Central Division lead is down to just a half game over the Royals. Now the Tigers head to Kansas City for three games that could be the most important series of the season.

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon says as of now, the Tigers' chance to make it into the playoffs is 91%, according to ESPN. 

There are 10 games still ahead of the team.


* Listen to the interview with John U. Bacon above.