Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez announced on Sunday that he was taking a leave of absence from his Sportsnet duties due to a recent cancer diagnosis.
“Today will be my last game in the booth for a little while as I have recently been diagnosed with cancer and will begin the process for treatment in the coming weeks,” Martinez wrote in a statement. “I’ve been so honoured and privileged to have the support of Blue Jays fans, colleagues, staff and players since I arrived here in 1981, and that continued support through this next challenge means the world to me.”
Martinez filled a number of roles throughout the Blue Jays organization, first playing on the team from 1981-1986, reporting and commentary from 1987 onwards, and a stint as the team’s manager in 2001-2002.
After working on the Baltimore Orioles broadcast team from 2003-2009, Martinez returned to Toronto in 2010 and was the lead play-by-play announcer on Sportsnet ever since.
Dan Shulman delivered a touching note to Jays fans while addressing the diagnosis on the broadcast.
“You are as tough as they come, you are as beloved as they come,” Shulman said.
“I’m gonna go away for a while,” Martinez said. “But you know what, I came here in 1981 and thought I’d be here for a year or two. But here we are, it’s 2022. My wife Arleen has been very support, we’re very positive. We feel very confident we’ll be back here for the pennant race.”
"A huge part of this community, and a huge part of the fabric and the history of this organization."
We're all sending you endless love and support, you got this Buck! 💙 pic.twitter.com/TettEjrqei
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 17, 2022
“I’m grateful for a tremendous medical team, who has given me great optimism that I will come through this with flying colours,” Martinez continued in the statement. “I hope to rejoin my Sportsnet teammates for the stretch run later this season, but in the meantime I will be watching from the sidelines as I fight the good fight. I thank everyone in advance for respecting my and my family’s privacy during this time.”
Shulman ended Sunday’s broadcast with a message for his friend.
“Buck you are going to be in the hearts and on the minds of everybody who was watching today…”
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) April 17, 2022
“Today was Buck’s last game for a while,” Shulman said. “Buck, you are going to be in the hearts and on the minds of everybody who was watching today.”
Fans and colleagues of Martinez shared sentiments sending their well wishes.
Very sad about our guy Buck Martinez. I think we forget that not too long ago there were basically zero good play-by-play options for this team and he's a world class broadcaster that was thrilled to come and be a part of the franchise. Nobody I'd rather hear call a no doubt HR.
— Zubes (@the_Zubes) April 17, 2022
Buck Martinez is like a brother to us. We make a lot of fun of him and call him out on things but when other fanbases come in and do the same we get pissed off.
— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) April 17, 2022
Prayers up for the legend Buck Martinez. Sending you all the blessings and healing vibes. Hope you get through these times. Praying for you and your family! https://t.co/XtDYQ3afOu
— Marcus Stroman (@STR0) April 17, 2022
Buck Martinez as been the voice I’ve listened to since my childhood, today he’s stepping away from the booth to battle cancer. Wishing him a speedy recovery pic.twitter.com/H7pndrbrIe
— BaseballHistoryNut (@nut_history) April 17, 2022
Jamie Campbell (@SNETCampbell) & Buck Martinez offered kindness to Canadians during the early part of the pandemic to help them feel less alone.
— Ruth Kapelus (@RuthKapelus) April 17, 2022
All the credit in the world to Jamie Campbell and Joe Siddall for getting through that introduction today. You can feel how much Buck Martinez means to them.
— S.W. Junkball (@Junk_Baller) April 17, 2022
Oh no! Get well soon, Buck! https://t.co/VnXwr4MDSG
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) April 17, 2022
All the best to Buck, get well soon! https://t.co/MdLEfPwoRp
— Katie ⚾️ 😷 (@BlueJayGal) April 17, 2022
Buck Martinez is as Toronto Blue Jays as it gets. He's done literally everything with this franchise we adore. Get well soon, sir. 💙💙
— X – The_Road_Guy (@Road_Guy_Colin) April 17, 2022
— Don Orsillo (@DonOrsillo) April 17, 2022
Sending all of the good vibes and positivity in the world to Buck Martinez.
— Chris Walder (@WalderSports) April 17, 2022
Just awful news.
Buck Martinez has been a massive part of the #Bluejays family and of the very fabric of this country for over 40 years and his given his entire life to this great game.
Best wishes for the best possible outcome, hope to see him back here as soon as he can! https://t.co/h6F2neaNU7
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness) April 17, 2022
Martinez is the second Jays broadcaster to face a cancer diagnosis recently, with Jamie Campbell returning to the broadcast last week following his first round of leukemia treatment.
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