For Pete's Sake

Royals’ VP of communications getting reputation for White House surprises

Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost presented Josh Earnest with a jersey along with Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer at Earnest’s morning press briefing on Thursday.
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost presented Josh Earnest with a jersey along with Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer at Earnest’s morning press briefing on Thursday. jsleezer@kcstar.com

Mike Swanson, the Royals’ vice president of communications and broadcasting, has had quite the career in sports.

According to his biography in the Royals’ media guide, he has worked six Final Fours, six Super Bowls, four NFC Championship Games, five Sugar Bowls, six Cotton Bowls, three Fiesta Bowls, the 2007 BCS championship game and 23 Maui Invitationals.

Oh, and Swanson has crashed the White House Press Secretary’s daily briefings twice.

You may have heard about how he set up the surprise visit to Press Secretary Josh Earnest last week. Manager Ned Yost, catcher Salvador Perez and first baseman Eric Hosmer presented Earnest, who went to the Barstow School, with a jersey, mug and baseball.

“Josh is just such a helluva good guy,” Swanson said. He added: “I cooked this whole thing up because you never know when you’re going to get another chance to makea true fan feel special.”

Swanson previously worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and was there when the team won the 2001 World Series.

The press secretary at that time was Ari Fleischer, who Swanson described as a lifelong Yankees fan. Arizona beat the Yankees in the World Series that year.

With the help of Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Swanson helped surprise Fleischer with an appearance from Curt Schilling and Randy Johnson. The visit came in December 2001, and shortly after the release of a video from Osama Bin Laden, Swanson said.

“Curt and Randy look at me like we can’t do this,” Swanson said.

But McClellan insisted that a little fun was needed. And that did happen. Johnson even rubbed Fleischer’s bald head for good luck.

“These are the world champion Arizona Diamondbacks, I’m chagrined to report,” Fleischer said, according to a New York Times story.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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