By Chuck King
Fort Myers, Fla. – Extra inning games aren’t just tough on the players. Broadcasters get worn out, too.
Sean Aronson, the voice of the Fort Myers Miracle, didn’t expect to work a double shift when he sat down in the booth to call the 20-inning affair between the Florida State League’s Miracle and Clearwater on April 13.
“You can’t ever prepare for something like that,” Aronson said. “In about the 13th or 14th inning you realize what is going on. The longest game I had ever called before that was 15 innings and that was three years ago.”
The 4-3 Clearwater victory lasted over five hours, ending just after midnight. Aronson marked the date change by wishing his audience a good morning.
As the announced crowd of 1,544 dwindled to less than 100, Aronson struggled to find fresh content for his listeners.
“They tell you as a broadcaster to leave something in your back pocket,” Aronson said of his material. “I ran out of stuff (to talk about), and I said that on the air.”
Making things more difficult was that Aronson worked most of the game alone. Aside from a sponsor guest in the fourth inning, Aronson’s was the only voice in the broadcast.
As the game wore on, Aronson asked listeners who had tuned in for the entirety to send him an email. Most of the responses came from players’ families, and some offered statistics and trivia pertaining to especially long games.
Three Pepsis and plenty of cups of water kept the six-year broadcasting veteran alert. He made it through the entire broadcast with just one bathroom break.
Aronson wouldn’t mind doing another marathon game, so long as he has some time to rest.
“There comes a point in the ballgame where you are just rooting to see how long it can go,” Aronson said. “Any hopes of going out and having social life that night are already over, so it really doesn’t matter.”
Check out my blog for more on Aronson and Minor League Baseball.