Buck Martinez made an emotional return to the Toronto Blue Jays broadcast booth Tuesday night following a leave of absence for cancer treatment.
The 73-year-old was diagnosed with cancer in April and took time away from the booth while undergoing treatment for the disease. Last month, it was announced that Martinez had completed cancer treatment and hoped to return to the booth this season.
“I’m grateful for a tremendous medical team, who has given me great optimism that I will come through this with flying colors,” Martinez said in April. “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.”
Tuesday night, the longtime Blue Jay player, manager and broadcaster made his return to the booth alongside play-by-play voice Dan Shulman as Toronto began an interleague series with the St. Louis Cardinals. During the second inning, the Rogers Centre PA announcer directed Blue Jays fans toward the broadcast booth to celebrate Martinez’s return. Fans offered Martinez an emotional standing ovation and the players joined in, collectively stepping out of the dugout to tip their caps.
We missed you, Buck! ? pic.twitter.com/RdoJ7eZuCE
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) July 26, 2022
“I hope that my journey has helped some of you out there that are dealing with some issues your own because you inspired me to get through this,” Martinez said on the broadcast as he stood up and tapped his heart to reciprocate the love. “I love you great Canadian Blue Jay fans.”
Martinez has been with the Blue Jays for the better part of four decades, beginning in 1981 as a player and jumping straight from the field to the broadcast booth in 1987. The Blue Jays hired Martinez as their manager in 2001, but was fired during his second season and returned to broadcasting with the Baltimore Orioles, TBS and NESN. In 2010, Martinez made his way back to the Blue Jays booth as a play-by-play voice and color analyst.
But there was no better return to the booth for Martinez than the one that occurred Tuesday night after completing cancer treatment. The Blue Jays capped off the occasion with a 10-3 victory over St. Louis, extending their current win streak to seven games.