Signings, homers and Mariners heroics: It’s a multi-task night on the beat

It’s a night like this when I feel like the guy who spun plates on the Ed Sullivan Show. (No need to Google it, kids, here’s a video)

As the Mariners were in the midst of a thriller against the Blue Jays, members of the front office were upstairs hashing out the final details of contract offers that either would or wouldn’t secure their unsigned draft picks. The deadline to sign their picks was 9 p.m., and the stakes were especially high considering they’d used the second overall pick in the draft to grab Virginia left-handed pitcher Danny Hultzen.

So, down in the press box I watched the game, traded emails with a few folks in college locales who might know something about the draft picks, monitored the Twitter stream and offered a few Tweets of my own (@kirbyarnold), and prepared for a hectic three hours. Here’s how it played out:

• 8:50 p.m.: We got indications that Hultzen had signed. Same with second-round pick Brad Miller, a shortstop from Clemson, and eighth-round pick Carson Smith, a right-handed pitcher from Texas State. At The Herald, we’re not allowed to use unnamed sources or report on “indications,” so we waited for the Mariners to confirm the reports with an official announcement before going online with anything.

• 9 p.m.: We continued to wait for a draft signing announcement, although Twitter was blowing up with signings from around baseball. On the field, the Mariners were playing Home Run Derby with the Jays and losing – they trailed 5-4 in the sixth after three Toronto homers vs. one by hot-hitting Mike Carp.

• 9:15 p.m.: The Mariners announce that they have signed Hultzen, Miller, Smith and ninth-rounder Cavan Cohoes, a shortstop from Patch High School in Germany. Among the unsigned was their third-round pick, slugging first baseman Kevin Cron from Mountain Pointe High School in Phoenix. Also unsigned was a player of interest in Snohomish County, former Meadowdale High School shortstop Taylor Smith-Brennan of Edmonds CC, drafted in the 34th round.

• 9:20 p.m.: The Mariners announce that general manager Jack Zduriencik will talk with reporters in a media workroom outside the press box. What this means is that anyone who leaves the press box to talk with Zduriencik won’t be able to watch the game, which is going into the eighth inning. My scoresheet is complete through seven innings, then nothing.

• 9:25(ish) p.m.: About a dozen reporters and Mariners personnel are in the media workroom waiting for Zduriencik and scouting director Tom McNamara when we hear a huge roar from the crowd outside. Looking at a TV monitor, we see Mike Carp circling the bases. He’d just hit his second home run of the game, off Jays reliever Trever Miller, and the Mariners had tied the score 5-5.

• 9:30(ish) p.m.: Zduriencik and McNamara arrive in the workroom. About 30 seconds into his comments, just as Zduriencik is saying “It came down to the midnight hour, as a lot of these do…” there is another huge roar outside in the stadium. Casper Wells has homered, too, off Rays right-hander Jon Rauch, and the Mariners take a 6-5 lead. Zduriencik surely heard the crowd but if he saw that homer in his peripheral vision on the TV monitor, he didn’t flinch. What a grizzled baseball exec.

• 9:40(ish) p.m.: Zduriencik finishes answering a question I had about Chris Ray, the injured relief pitcher who was released in order to clear room on the 40-man major league roster for Hultzen (who signed a major league deal). Just then, McNamara’s phone buzzes and he checks a message he has just received. It’s a text from Hultzen, who tells him that he’s eager to start his pro career. Whether that means he is abandoning his desire to finish college at Virginia in the fall and start playing ball during the winter, we don’t know. Zduriencik wouldn’t say where Hultzen would go next, or when. All that’s known now is that Hultzen will be in the major league spring training camp come February in Peoria, Ariz.

• 9:45 p.m.: We arrive back in the press box to see Mariners closer Brandon League on the mound to protect a 6-5 Mariners lead. Not sure what kind of adrenaline rush League has during a time like this, but mine was flowing. I had exactly an hour to: freshen up a blog with quotes, write a draft signings story for tomorrow morning’s Herald, write a story on one of the more dramatic games of the Mariners’ season. That’s about 1,500 words to shovel out by our 10:45 p.m. deadline. Yes, I was shoveling.

• 9:53 p.m.: League gets Jose Bautista to ground out to end the game, recording his 30th save this season and finishing off rookie Tom Wilhelmsen’s first major league victory. I write a quick game-ending Tweet, then dive right back into the draft signing story for tomorrow’s newspaper.

• 9:55 p.m.: I flip the TV monitor near my spot in the press box to Channel 37, where manager Eric Wedge’s postgame news conference will air on a closed-circuit feed. While working on the draft signing story, I have another story open ready to type quotes from Wedge when he arrives at the lectern.

• 10 p.m.: Wedge talks about the comeback victory and especially about Carp’s hot hitting, and he credits Wilhelmsen and Dan Cortes with the three innings of scoreless relief they pitched. My fingers are flying, typing those quotes.

• 10:10 p.m.: I get back into the draft signing story and finish it about five minutes later, give it a re-read and then send it to the desk editors (the real heroes of our business) at 10:22 p.m. I call Aaron, our slot editor tonight, and warn him that I’ve got 15 inches of game story to write and I haven’t typed a word. Might not hit that 10:45 deadline, but I’m aiming for it.

• 10:30 p.m.: Plates are really wobbling now (see Ed Sullivan reference above), but a game story is taking shape. At 10:45, it’s finished. After a quick re-read to make sure I didn’t leave out the score of the game (yep, I’ve done that), I send the gamer. It’s 10:48 p.m. Missed it by three minutes.

• It’s now midnight and only a few people remain at Safeco Field. A cleaning crew is outside pressure washing and prepping the stadium for tomorrow night’s game, and two Toronto writers are nose-deep into their laptops. Bob Sherwin, who covered the game for The Associated Press, slings his computer bag over his shoulder and walks away.

“Fun night,” he says. “Let’s do it again tomorrow.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Houston Astros relief pitcher Hector Neris (50) gestures to Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodríguez (44) after striking Rodríguez out to end the sixth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
MLB investigating Astros pitcher’s alleged use of homophobic slur

The incident occurred during a heated exchange between Houston’s Hector Neris and M’s star Julio Rodriguez on Wednesday night.

Marysville Pilchuck’s Dominik Kendrick (9) runs with the ball during a football game between Marysville Pilchuck and Stanwood at Marysville Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Washington on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023. Marysville Pilchuck takes the win, 36-7. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Marysville Pilchuck proud of 4-0 start, but has loftier goals

The Tomahawks aren’t listening to the outside noise, including a No. 1 WIAA RPI ranking, as a tough stretch lies ahead.

Stanwood players react to their coach bringing them the Stilly Cup on Sept. 30, 2022 in Arlington. The Spartans snapped a 12-game losing streak in the rivalry matchup last year. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
4 games to watch in Week 5 of the prep football season

An in-depth look at the best games the area has to offer, plus a full schedule of the local action in Week 5.

Prep roundup for Thursday, Sept. 28

Prep roundup for Thursday, Sept. 28: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Angel of the Winds Arena stands ready and waiting Friday afternoon for Kraken fans to arrive for the preseason game against the Edmondton Oilers. (Jake Goldstein-Street / The Herald)
Patterson: After past fails, can arena football thrive in Everett?

The turbulent past of arena football in the city stems from the opening of the Everett Events Center, now Angel of the Winds Arena, in 2003.

Stanwood's Michael Mascotti relays the next play to his teammates during football practice on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Game picks for Week 5 of the prep football season

Find out which teams the experts and readers pick to win in Week 5.

Hall of Fame inductee Gina Carbonatto accepts her award during the 2023 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
GALLERY: 2023 Snohomish County Sports Hall of Fame banquet

A look at Wednesday’s ceremony honoring some of the most decorated sports figures in the area.

Sultan’s Derek Feltner tries to stay upright after picking up an offensive fumble and getting a few yards against Granite Falls on Friday, Sep. 30, 2022, at Sultan High School in Sultan, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Week 5 prep football leaderboard

A look at the area’s top passers, rushers and receivers through four weeks of the season.

Everett's Max Soterakopoulos points to his name on the leaderboard after winning his division the Regional Qualifier for Drive, Chip and Putt, held last Saturday at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place. (Photo coutesy of Chris Soterakopoulos)
Community roundup: Everett youth golfer headed to The Masters

Plus, Mill Creek Country Club’s Val Patrick honored by LPGA, updates on local NFL players, and more.

Most Read