Fans send love to Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez after cancer diagnosis

Apr 17 2022, 9:36 pm

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.”

“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.

“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.

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.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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