After holding the trophy and visiting Disney World, perhaps the most memorable reward and post-win moment for championship-winning teams is visiting the White House and meeting the President.
So when the Kansas City Royals won the 2015 World Series, their eventual White House visit was an event Royals Review, SB Nation's Royals fan site, absolutely expected to cover from our tried and true fan-first angle.
What we didn't expect is that the White House would reach out to us to mark the occasion.
The White House reached out to SB Nation
See, it turns out that White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest is a huge Royals fan -- he grew up in Kansas City and while his boss is something of a famous White Sox fan, Josh brought his Royals fandom with him to the most powerful residence in the world.
As the Royals visit to Washington D.C. got closer and closer on the calendar, the White House reached out to SB Nation asking if Mr. Earnest could perhaps write a guest post at Royals Review detailing his fandom and how Royals local community efforts reflect President Obama's initiatives.
While we reserved editorial discretion, we were absolutely interested and wanted to talk with Max Rieper, Royals Review's site manager and lead blogger first.
We didn't expect this at all
In a glorious twist of fate, Max was in D.C. on other business. What if we could set up an interview with Max and Josh? How cool would that be? Despite knowing they'd probably say no, we asked if we could make it happen anyway. How many more times would the stars align exactly like this?
Sure enough the White House agreed and invited Max, where he was was able to visit the press briefing room and then interviewed Josh on White House grounds. And Josh reciprocated by offering his heartfelt thoughts about what it was like being a Royals fan in the White House:
But you can't blame me for loving this team. They put everything they have into the work they do -- both on and off the field. As POTUS noted, this Spring the Royals broke ground on their Urban Youth Academy in Kansas City. It's a place where young kids can find a path away that leads away from drugs, gangs, and violence and toward a future in in baseball -- not just as players, but as broadcasters, sportswriters, analysts, and whatever other career I might've dreamed of myself growing up.
It's exactly the kind of mentoring and opportunity building that lives at the heart of President Obama's My Brother's Keeper initiative. And it's incredible to see the Royals team, and players like Gordo, Hoz, Salvy, Moose, and Chris Young, donate more than just their time to make this Academy a real opportunity for so many deserving Kansas City kids.
So after years of watching the Royals, I just want to reiterate: I called this. Plenty of those petition signers doubted me. In fact, plenty of Royals fans did too. But I took a page out of our manager's sometime unpredictable playbook -- and now, like him, I can bask in the glow of a long-awaited victory, and White House visit. So, as they say, to all of you who doubted us diehards that this day would ever come ... #yosted.
What an awesome honor that we'll never forget.
Thank you to the White House for the hospitality, to President Obama for goading your press secretary about his fandom, to White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest for his availability and fandom, to White House Director of Digital Rapid Response Tanya Somanader for organizing the opportunity, and finally to Max Rieper of Royals Review for being at the perfect place at the perfect time.