Aaron Goldsmith is very cognizant of how quickly he’s risen through the broadcasting ranks, and he’s suitably grateful for the opportunity he’s getting, at age, 29, to be part of a major-league broadcasting crew.
It’s a far cry from the days in 2008 when he was working in the Cape Cod League as an unpaid intern, scraping by with a landscaping job in the day and then calling the games of the Bourne Braves at night. In a phone interview, Goldsmith recalled the time he was hungry after a game and went to a fast food joint to get a burger.
“I checked my balance, and I didn’t even have a full dollar,” he said. “I couldn’t even buy a burger on a dollar menu. That’s when reality kicks you in the rear.”
It’s not an unfamiliar story to any aspiring broadcaster working his way up through the sticks. One offseason in his native St. Louis, while between gigs, Goldsmith took a job coaching high school basketball at night, and had a day job as a professional dog walker — $8.50 per walk.
“I love dogs, and I loved that job in fall,” he said. “But once winter came, it was the worst job I ever had. I had a lot of time for self reflection, walking six dogs a day. A lot of times, I thought, ‘Maybe this (broadcasting) is not for me.”
Now he has the best job he can imagine, as the radio broadcast partner of Rick Rizzs.
“Needless to say, when I got the call I had gotten the job last night, it was the best call of my life,” said Goldsmith.
Goldsmith was late to the broadcasting game, having majored in history in college (Principia College, in Elsah, Ill.) before going to broadcast school, “so I was four years behind other guys my age,” he said. “As a result, I had to take low-level jobs out of the gate, but that’s exactly what I needed. I wasn’t qualified for anything else, or ready for anything else.”
Goldsmith’s first big break was getting hired by the Portland (that’s Portland, Maine, not Oregon) Sea Dogs, the Double-A team of the Red Sox, which got him in the door of affiliated baseball after a stint in Indy ball in Sauget, Ill. Portland’s lead announcer, Mike Antonellis, become a mentor and friend, as others did while Goldsmith slowly moved up the ranks from Portland to Frisco, Texas (where he proposed to his wife, Heather, whom he had dated since college), to Pawtucket, and finally Seattle.
“It (the Mariners) job means more and more to me each hour it sinks in,” he said. “When I got into this business, I knew there was a chance I could spend my entire adult life on a bus riding the minor-league circuit. I had to come to terms with being happy with that or find another profession — all the while knowing if I do this the right way, learn from my mistakes, and surround myself with the right people, I had as much chance as anyone else. I always had that optimism, but I was also realistic.”
Goldsmith said he felt “a pretty instant connection” with Rizzs, who also had a minor-league background when he joined the Mariners. The two had lunch together during the interview process.
“I don’t want to make it sound like an online dating commercial,” he said with a laugh. “I think we share a lot as people. We both like to bring a smile to the park every day, bring some laughs; we take the job seriously, but we want to have fun at the same time. As I listened to him on the air (in audio files), he’s clearly someone who loves the Mariners, and you can tell he loves being in the booth. That’s the type of guy I want to work with. I think of myself as a guy who’s not moody, who shows up with the same warm smile every day. That’s Rick, I can tell. I’m thrilled to not only work with Rick, but to learn from him.”