Last week was one of the most exciting, exhausting and exhilarating weeks I can remember in Seattle sports.
Think about it. We had the Seahawks body-slamming the New Orleans Saints on “Monday Night Football”, Steve Sarkisian bolting for USC, Boise State’s Chris Petersen being hired to replace him as Washington’s football coach and the Mariners closing in on a deal with free-agent superstar Robinson Cano.
And those were just the breaking news stories.
On Sunday, we published a special investigative report examining dysfunction in the Mariners’ front office, with for-the-record interviews from former Mariners manager Eric Wedge, special assistant Tony Blengino and others. That story, the result of weeks of reporting by sports investigative and enterprise reporter Geoff Baker, drew attention from national media and a big response from readers and Mariners fans.
That wasn’t all.
We covered Bellevue winning its sixth consecutive Class 3A state football championship – and five other state title games in Tacoma – Friday and Saturday. We also published our Star Times all-area high-school teams for the fall, with four pages on football, volleyball and girls soccer last week.
But wait, there’s more.
Washington volleyball advanced after winning two matches at an NCAA regional on their home court, and the Huskies men’s soccer team hosted an NCAA match but lost, missing a chance to advance to the NCAA semifinals. The Huskies and Cougars football teams learned what bowls they would be invited to, though it wasn’t official until Sunday.
Like I said, a busy week. And I’m sure I’m forgetting something. Oh, yeah, the World Cup draw.
Of course, the biggest stories – Sarkisian leaving, Petersen’s hiring; the Mariners-Cano deal; the Seahawks – aren’t just one story. They are a whole series of stories. Sarkisian’s exit brought up not only who would succeed him, but where his coaching staff might go and questions about his truthfulness in initially saying he hadn’t interviewed with USC.
Readers were hungry for news, online and in print. Our reporters were blogging, tweeting, doing videos and hosting live chats while making phone calls to try to nail down what was going on behind the scenes and what might happen next.
Our online traffic was crazy. We can monitor which stories are being read by the most online readers, and by any measure sports readership was off the charts. During one 12-hour period, 17 of the top 20 stories were either Seahawks or Husky football, and traffic on the Husky blog was the best I can remember – nearly 1 million page views for the week. Baker’s story also drew remarkable traffic and by 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, it was still our most-read story.
Friday was the busiest day. News of Petersen’s hiring broke about 6 a.m., and the Cano deal within a couple of hours. My phone lit up with calls from the office, and the morning became a blur of calls with reporters, columnists, editors and web producers and updating the stories online. After that, we had the Saturday print edition to fill, and then had to plan for our Sunday and Monday editions. Meanwhile, editors put the final touches on Geoff Baker’s investigative report.
I didn’t leave the office until 10:30 p.m.
It was the kind of day that journalists dream about. And that readers can’t get enough of.
Things have quieted down a little this week, though it’s still busy. And with prep basketball, finalizing the Cano deal, the NCAA women’s volleyball semifinals and finals in Seattle, Huskies and Cougars in bowl games and a Seahawks playoff run to come, it’s going to rev up again soon
So was last week our busiest week ever? Maybe, but stay tuned.
It might get even busier – and better.
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