Cynthia Reilly's Twitter presence is small. She's tweeted just 42 times and follows only nine people. She has three followers. But she's there for an important reason: to get people to call her husband, ESPN writer Rick Reilly.
She started tweeting on behalf of Rick "I had it first on Twitter" Reilly in the run-up to the NFL lockout in the 2011. At the time, Reilly was working on a 5 year, $10 million+ contract with ESPN. Cynthia began with then-Eagles wide receiver Chad Hall.
@chadhall16 Please call Rick Reilly for an article he is doing at 818-383-3208. thanks.— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) April 18, 2011
That number is the same one found on Rick Reilly's home page, where Cythina handles speaking arrangements. (The two got married in 2008, leading inexorably to ... this moment.) Hall didn't respond to Cynthia's request and went about life tweeting about other things. But Cynthia was impatient:
@chadhall16 So, do you want to talk to Rick today for a column he is writing for ESPN.com or no?— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) April 18, 2011
He didn't respond on Twitter but evidently it worked. Hall showed up in Reilly's story. She also reached out to the Eagles' player rep, offensive tackle Winston Justice. He didn't respond at first. Despair set in.
@JusticeLeague74 Rick is trying to reach you for a column. If you don't want to talk to him, just let me know and I'll stop trying— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) April 18, 2011
He did respond to that one. We don't know what he said, since he has either changed his Twitter handle or deleted his account altogether. Whatever it was, there was no time for a back-and-forth. There was a deadline to meet!
@JusticeLeague74 How about you email him asap at email@example.com. about things nfl players will do during poss lockout— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) April 18, 2011
There's the golfer Andres Gonzales.
@Andres_Gonzales....Rick Reilly is trying to contact you to get quotes for a column TODAY. plz contact me for his details. thx— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) June 10, 2011
Sometimes the person didn't have to email Reilly directly. He could go through her.
@momentofsilas25 my husband,rick reilly/espn.com is trying to reach you to comment on Paterno's passing: firstname.lastname@example.org— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) January 22, 2012
To a Dodgers beat reporter:
@kengurnick Rick Reilly is trying to reach you regarding a column on deadline. will you email me at email@example.com please asap— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) May 14, 2013
There were many, many tweets about a Newtown column Reilly was working on:
@ChuckWendig Rick Reilly, ESPN wants to email u to discuss the Newtown, CT, shootings, assault rifles and hunting for a column he will write
— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) December 17, 2012December 17, 2012
@geezjeff He is at firstname.lastname@example.org Needs to hear from you asap— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) December 17, 2012
@crintransition @madpolok please email Rick at email@example.com asap— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) December 17, 2012
But he'd already talked to Rick! It was a good chat.
@crintransition Had a nice talk with Rick today.We agree to disagree. but a serious discussion is needed-not confiscation or confrontation.— Steve Czaja (@Rightwingpolok) December 17, 2012
There were occasional logistical problems.
@SayethSimon How does that work? how to navigate to ur email on that page?— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) December 17, 2012
And some hesitant participants.
@ErikBraghirol he was writing a column which he already turned in...thanks anyway— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) December 18, 2012
Here she is hitting up a high school baseball player without legs or hands:
@JoshRuchotzke Rick Reilly of ESPN would like to talk to you. email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org to reach him asap— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) April 29, 2013
A few days later, Reilly wrote in his column:
About 20 people lost limbs in the Boston Marathon bombings. Now they're swimming in that soup of phantom pain and real fear of what their future holds.
Boy, do I have a kid for them.
His name is Josh Ruchotzke.
Occasionally, a passive-aggressive note would creep into her tweets. To the golfer Ben Crane:
@bencranegolf He thought he might hear from you, personally, yesterday. He already sent in his column, but thanks for responding!— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) February 19, 2013
And sometimes she just wanted to banter. Here she is, tweeting at Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa:
@KellyandMichael my husband, Rick Reilly of ESPN, polished those ND helmets! He lost a bet by saying they would never make the playoffs!— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) January 8, 2013
It wasn't always about Rick's ESPN work. This week, Cynthia Reilly reached out to Conde Nast Traveler editor Klara Glowczewska. Reilly apparently wanted to pitch a story to her.
@KlaraTraveler trying to reach you regarding Rick Reilly writing a piece for you. email@example.com— Cynthia Reilly (@crintransition) August 12, 2013
Glowczewska didn't respond on Twitter, though maybe that's because she was fired on Wednesday, two days after the tweet went out.
Husbands and wives do occasionally work in concert in journalism. Dan Baum and his wife, Margaret Knox, are collaborators, and Richard Ben Cramer's first wife, Carolyn White, was the shadow editor of his great epic, What It Takes. Your mileage on these arrangements—and on what it says about a man taking the byline, and the wife doing the bylineless grunt work—may vary.
Writer Dana Goldstein calls it "poignant how many great books by men contain acknowledgements to a wife who did the research, edited, factchecked." Particularly poignant in this case: @ReillyRick doesn't follow his wife on Twitter.