Royals hire Mellinger as communications VP

December 14th, 2021

The Royals have hired Sam Mellinger, a sports columnist for The Kansas City Star, to be their new vice president of communications, the club announced Tuesday. Mellinger will replace Mike Swanson, a widely respected longtime public relations executive, who is retiring after 43 years in the industry, the last 15 spent with the Royals.

A Kansas City resident and graduate of the University of Kansas, Mellinger joins the Royals after a 21-year run at The Star, including the last 11 years as a sports columnist. He’s covered everything from high school sports to the Olympics, the Super Bowl and the World Series, and he has won several awards for columns, features and projects. Mellinger also co-authored the book “The Art of Scouting: Seven Decades Chasing Hopes and Dreams in Major League Baseball” with longtime Royals scout Art Stewart, who died last month.

“I had the only writing job that I ever wanted,” Mellinger said. “And I could have done that job forever and been happy. But I see this as an opportunity to be part of Kansas City in a new way, being on the other side of this. I was at The Star for 21 years, and I’ll miss everyone that I worked with. I believe in the mission; I believe in what The Star does for Kansas City, and I’ll miss being a part of that. But this is an opportunity to see it from a completely different perspective.”

Mellinger joins the team he’s covered for over a decade. His knowledge of the area and the Royals organization was crucial to his hiring.

“It was an extremely thorough and intense process with multiple layers,” president of baseball operations Dayton Moore said. “Sam did an amazing job and displayed, at the end of the day, his appreciation and knowledge of the history of the organization. His love for Kansas City, our community and the organization were separators.”

Mellinger will start on Monday, overseeing the Royals’ media relations department, which acts as the liaison between the organization and media and is responsible for the publication of the team media guide, yearbook, gameday magazine, daily game notes and press releases.

“I’ve started to think of this as the job I never knew I wanted,” Mellinger said. “There’s a million reasons for that. But it’s primarily the people that are there. Dayton is just different. I respect him so much and the people that are around him. I’ve known a lot of them for 15 years.”

Swanson plans to retire this month, with his last day being Dec. 31. He will serve as a consultant for the Royals as Mellinger acclimates to his new role.

“In the final analysis, we felt Sam was the top candidate to take over the role that I have vacated with my retirement,” Swanson said in the Royals’ statement. “A gifted writer who we all came to know with The Kansas City Star, his knowledge of and relationships within our organization and dedication to our region made him the best fit for us.”