In the early morning hours of Opening Day at the St. Paul Saints’ new ballpark, Sean Aronson wandered into the training room searching for somewhere to sleep. It was 1 a.m. when he climbed onto a padded treatment table, hoping for a little bit of rest before the most important day of his 15 years working in minor league baseball.
At 4 a.m. he threw off a thin blanket, hopped off the table and ran on adrenaline for the next 20 hours.
The Saints’ director of broadcasting and media relations started his day as the face of the organization handling morning TV interviews. By late morning, he was tying up loose ends around CHS Field. The early afternoon was spent coordinating player and coach interviews. In the late afternoon, he found a few minutes to prepare for his own broadcast. In the evening, he made time to engage with corporate sponsors. At 7:05 p.m., he was finally in the one place at the ballpark he can relax: the press box, calling the radio and TV play-by-play.
“In a nutshell, he’s the best utility player I think we have,” co-owner Mike Veeck said.
Broadcasting has kept Aronson close to baseball but calling Saints games (available locally most often on KLBB 1220-AM and local cable channels) is about 12th on his list of priorities.
“I’m able to block out everything that’s going on in a day when 7:05 rolls around,” he said. “When you put that headset on, there’s nothing else that is in your way at that point.”
Off-air, he helps with sales and public relations, writes and edits the team’s website and social media accounts, tackles crisis management and even vets interested players seeking a tryout. He even unloads boxes from clients’ cars and pulls the rain tarp off the field if necessary.
“This [job] is not about broadcasting, it’s about being as versatile as possible,” Aronson said midway through his ninth season with the Saints. “As much as a grind all the other stuff can be, I’d probably be bored if I didn’t do it. … How many people can do four or five different jobs at once and go on the road and be away for 50 days? There is something that makes you feel alive about it.”
After stops in Colorado, Pennsylvania and Florida, he’d quickly learn there was much more to minor league broadcasting jobs than calling the game.
“Couldn’t stand him. And he hated what I did,” Veeck recalled of his first days with Aronson. “In the beginning, he just loved the game and didn’t understand that if the Saints relied on people that just loved baseball, we could have been lonely. But here are two guys that really learned to work together and that learned they enjoyed working together and became friends. It was his sheer talent that won me over.”
After belting his signature “GOODNIGHT!” to close out another summer broadcast, Aronson immediately began preparing for his next 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. baseball marathon. His work ethic, Veeck and Saints vice president Annie Huidekoper believe, is why Aronson eventually will get called up to the majors.
“Sean is a wonderful sales person … public relations, media relations, wonderful at handling crisis management. He has his finger on the pulse of things,” Huidekoper said. “He’s more like the polish [of the franchise]. He helps refine some of us and put our best image forward. … I don’t want to say he’s the glue, because I’m afraid he’ll move on.”
Aronson aspires to one day call Major League Baseball games; he dreams of getting at least one inning in the booth with Dodgers broadcasting legend Vin Scully. As an 8-year-old, the Los Angeles native tried doing play-by-play from his seat at Dodger Stadium. A neighboring fan told him to shut up, but he knew he was hooked. As a 21-year-old journalism major at the University of Colorado, he pieced together his first audition tape by calling high school baseball games inside a shack next to the field. Seventeen years later, he’s nearing his 1,000th game with the Saints.
“It’s just me in my element, watching a baseball game with a view and with the listener tuning in,” Aronson said. “There is nothing better. It’s very cliché, it’s very corny, but I’m living my dream. This is what I set out to do. I get to come to the ballpark every day and it’s great.”