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.
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:
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.
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!
There's the golfer Andres Gonzales.
Sometimes the person didn't have to email Reilly directly. He could go through her.
To a Dodgers beat reporter:
There were many, many tweets about a Newtown column Reilly was working on:
But he'd already talked to Rick! It was a good chat.
There were occasional logistical problems.
And some hesitant participants.
Here she is hitting up a high school baseball player without legs or hands:
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:
And sometimes she just wanted to banter. Here she is, tweeting at Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa:
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.
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.