Nov 15

Work in progress: the smoky apartment

When I’m not writing about minor league baseball at Royals Review, or shooting photos at Storm Chasers games, I have a day job in property management. While my job title is office manager, I like to do some cleaning and maintenance too. My most recent apartment is a deep clean, of an apartment I’ve dubbed The Smoky Apartment.

The former tenant smoked so many cigarettes in there over so many years. I forgot to take proper “Before” pictures, but it’s just as well. The one I took after cleaning a tiny part of the kitchen ceiling says plenty:



I can’t decide if it was a mistake to start with the dirtiest corner of the dirtiest room.

Pulling out the stove revealed a lot of dust and floor gunk, but luckily no evidence of pests – this apartment complex is treated monthly, as a precaution, and I’m relieved to see it works.


Like with any hard task, the key here was to start. So first, I swept up the loose debris. Some of those Froot Loops really wanted to stay put! Then I needed to give myself a clean space to stand/kneel to work. I didn’t know exactly what is in that gunk but I figured it contained some grease, so I hit it with Mean Green and scraped up the three-dimensional parts with a plastic scraper.

After that, I was able to easily wipe the rest up with a rag and move on to the walls. The walls were coated with a combination of both nicotine residue and cooking grease, so I had to run a multi-faceted attack with different products: Mr. Clean for the nicotine, and then water so I wasn’t mixing any chemicals, then Mean Green to cut the grease.


This was one round of cleaning. I didn’t want to do finish-levels of washing, because I still have to wash the cabinets above this and there will likely be some drips (clean from the top down!). If a person were to accuse me of procrastinating on deep-cleaning the cabinets, that person would be on to something. SO MANY SURFACES AAAAAAUGH.

This ceiling…whew. My motivating factor whenever I’m deep into a project like this is, “the next renter deserves a sparkling clean place.” Also building up super strong shoulder muscles.


I’m still figuring out the best strategy for the ceiling, but I think I’ve landed on: scrub with a scrubbing pad attached to a power drill, then wipe away excess with a cloth, then scour by hand with a scouring pad, then wipe again. Then it’s still not quite clean and I contemplate walking away, perhaps into the nearest sea.

This update is written primarily for an audience of me, but if you’re reading, thanks for your time! And please don’t smoke cigarettes indoors!

Dec 28

Revisiting my post-concussion story

With the release of the movie ‘Concussion,’ I thought now would be a good time to revisit my own hellish experience with post-concussion symptoms. The story below was originally posted in March of 2013. I encourage you to visit the comments on the original post if you or a loved one are suffering from this. In those comments, you will find you are not alone.

As for me: In the years since I shared my story, my own symptoms have not disappeared, but they are not as bad as they used to be. I still get way more migraines than I did before, and when I get them they are also more severe. Additionally, I feel tired more easily, although that could be attributed to simply not being in my early 20s anymore. And the fear I described in Part X below still follows me everywhere. Anyway, read on, and feel free to email me if you need someone to talk to.

Part I: “What the hell is happening to me?

The start of the whole mess didn’t feel like the start of anything of any significance. Before a family dinner at my brother’s house, I felt kind of woozy and went to the guest room to lie down for a bit. It didn’t help, and in fact that woozy feeling stayed with me for well over a year. If you’ve ever fainted before, you might know that twilighty feeling, where you’re aware that you’re about to black out, but you’re somehow too detached from consciousness to do anything about it. Starting that day in February 2011, I felt like that all the time.

That night my dad took me to an urgent care clinic. Read the rest of this entry »

Sep 27

PHOTOS: Every Omaha Storm Chasers pitcher (2015)

In 2015, 30 pitchers threw for the Omaha Storm Chasers. I photographed 28 of them. Click any name below for photos of your favorites!

Buddy trying to glove-flip a ball home after a bunt was laid downScott Alexander

Finny, pitchingVentura in the dugout, talking about 3 of somethingThis isn't an ad for Bigs seeds, but it could be.SNACK BREAK!Miguel Almonte

Buddy Baumann

Christian Binford

Joe Blanton

Aaron Brooks

Joba Chamberlain

Paul Clemens

Casey Coleman

Louis Coleman

Danny Duffy

Chris Dwyer

Andy Ferguson

Brandon Finnegan

Luke Hochevar

John Lamb

Michael Mariot

Kris Medlen

Clayton Mortensen

Matt Murray

Joe Paterson

Troy Patton

Yohan Pino

Wandy Rodriguez

JC Sulbaran

Yordano Ventura

Robinson Yambati

And the coaching staff:

Brain Poldberg – manager

Tommy Gregg – hitting coach

Al Nipper – pitching coach

Mitch Maier – roving instructor of MITCH-ness

And some assorted specialty categories:

On field promotions


High fives

In the dugout

Special Occasions:

2015 Triple-A Home Run Derby

2015 Triple-A All-Star Game


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Sep 27

PHOTOS: Every Omaha Storm Chasers position player (2015)

In 2015, 24 position players suited up for the Omaha Storm Chasers. I photographed all of them. Click any name below for photos of your favorites!

Lane Adams

Martinez making contactJ.C. Boscan

Orlando Calixte

Dusty Coleman

Christian Colon

Cheslor Cuthbert

Cheslor Cuthbert checking out a flagKenny Diekroeger

Brett Eibner

Matt Fields

Angel Franco

Balbino Fuenmayor

Reymond Fuentes

Merrifield getting under SchwarberMicah Gibbs

Alex Gordon

Ryan Jackson

Casey Kotchman

Erik Kratz

Jose Martinez

Whit Merrifield

Gabriel Noriega

Paulo Orlando

Francisco Pena

Alex Rios

Moises Sierra

And the coaching staff:

Brain Poldberg – manager

Tommy Gregg – hitting coach

Al Nipper – pitching coach

Mitch Maier – roving instructor of MITCH-ness

And some assorted specialty categories: Examining a new treasure, thrown to him by Cheslor Cuthbert

On field promotions


High fives

In the dugout

Special Occasions:

2015 Triple-A Home Run Derby

2015 Triple-A All-Star Game


Thank you for supporting my work by using my Amazon Affiliate link.

Jul 01

Francisco Pena on how to make friends in the dugout

Step One: Get Balloon

Step Two: Pop Balloon

Step Three: Giggle and run away

This has been Life Lessons With Francisco Pena.


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Mar 23

In Pictures: Today’s Royals Spring Training cuts

The biggest news out of Royals camp was Brandon Finnegan being optioned to AA Northwest Arkansas. Below are the other moves, so you can put faces with the names.

Michael Mariot – optioned to AAA Omaha
Michael Mariot
(More Michael Mariot photos here)

Francisco Pena – optioned to AAA Omaha
Frank Pena talking things over with Dwyer
(More Francisco Pena photos here)

Cheslor Cuthbert – optioned to AAA Omaha
Cuthbert relaxin' in the dugout
(More Cheslor Cuthbert photos here)

Terrance Gore – optioned to High-A Wilmington
Gore at bat
(More Terrance Gore photos here)

Parker Morin – reassigned to minor league camp
Parker Morin in his first game at Omaha
(More Parker Morin photos – though only a few – here)

Brett Eibner – reassigned to minor league camp
2014 / Minda Haas
(More Brett Eibner photos here)

Also moved, but not pictured: Yohan Pino and Reymond Fuentes optioned to AAA Omaha.

Mar 18

PHOTOS: today’s Royals Spring Training cuts

Andy McCullough tweeted today’s list of cuts from Royals Spring Training. Put faces with some of the names below:

Aaron Brooks
2014 / Minda Haas
(More Aaron Brooks photos here)

Buddy Baumann
Nice shirt, Buddy.
(More Buddy Baumann photos here)

Lane Adams
Lane Adams. Snazzy as always.
(More Lane Adams photos here)

Jorge Bonifacio
2014 / Minda Haas
(More Jorge Bonifacio photos here)

Casey Coleman
Casey Coleman
(More Casey Coleman photos here)

Matt Fields
2014 / Minda Haas
(More Matt Fields photos here)

Also cut from big league camp, but not pictured: Orlando Calixte, Hunter Dozier, Raul Mondesi (subject of today’s Countdown to Opening Day post), Bubba Starling, Joe Paterson.


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Mar 03

In pictures: Today’s Royals contracts

Today the Royals announced the signing of 8 pre-arb players to one-year deals. Some have passed in front of my camera, and they are pictured below.

Yordano Ventura: $535,675
Yordano Ventura

Francisco Pena: $508,700
Francisco Pena tried to swap hats with this kid.

Christian Colon: $509,525
Christian Colon at bat

Terrance Gore: $508,000
Gore signing a ball

Paulo Orlando: $507,500

Also signed, but not pictured:
Rule 5 pick Jandel Gustave: $507,500
Orlando Calixte: $507,500
Reymond Fuentes: $508,200

Feb 15

Opening Day Countdown: 50 days = 50 RBI by Alcides Escobar

A daily snack-sized meditation on how much closer we are to Opening Day than we were yesterday. Today:


is the number of RBI by Alcides Escobar in 2014.


There’s not much of a need to “analyze” someone’s RBI totals, but yay for nice round numbers, I guess? Moving right along. Alcides Escobar

Escobar played in a career-high 162 games last year, but ended up with far fewer PAs than previous seasons. He only had 620 PA last year, compared with 642 PA in 158 games in 2013, and 648 PA in 155 games in 2012.
The bulk of Escobar’s plate appearances in 2014 came in the 8th or 9th slots (440), compared with 256 PA in those spots in 2013 and and 171 there in 2012. In past seasons, he spent much more time batting 2nd.

It’s obvious to many people, of course, that weaker hitters should hit further down in the lineup to limit the number of times they’re likely to make an out. This is merely an example of how much of a difference it can make.


Now, is it April yet?


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Oct 15

Time machine: Royals in Omaha

This is apparently real life; it doesn’t seem possible but multiple sources confirm that the Royals are one win away from the World Series. One thing that tickles me about this Playoff team – among many things – is how many of them I’ve shot in Omaha.

It’s been a privilege meeting and shooting these guys who somehow, some damn how, have stolen the hearts of the sports world at large. I haven’t seen so many people in sports media just enjoy a pure sports spectacle in a long time. Maybe ever.

Here are all the former Storm Chasers and O Royals, as seen by a handful of my cameras through several years of learning on the job.
Tim Collins!
Tim Collins, doing a slip ‘n’ slide on beer and a plastic drop cloth. As one does. Read the rest of this entry »

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