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Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster Buck Martinez made an emotional return to the booth on Tuesday after completing cancer treatment. Martinez had stepped away from the position in mid-April following his diagnosis.
Fans and players were thrilled to see the franchise icon back on the mic and gave him a rousing standing ovation when he was welcomed back on the Rogers Centre jumbotron during a break between innings.
"The fans helped me get through this whole thing, there's no question about it," a teary-eyed Martinez said on the broadcast following the tribute. "I hope that my journey has helped some of you out there that are dealing with some issues of your own because you inspired me to get through this, so hopefully watching me get through it will help you fight the good fight as well.
"Thank you very much, I love you great Canadian Blue Jays fans."
“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… I love you great Canadian Blue Jay fans.”
Buck Martinez gets a standing ovation from the entire Rogers Centre 👏 🥲 pic.twitter.com/0fs3yHaI7E
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) July 26, 2022
The Blue Jays gave the 73-year-old one heck of a game to call, as they defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 10-3, highlighted by a "swing and a drive" from George Springer that went for a grand slam. Springer said Martinez's absence served as a reminder that some things are bigger than the sport.
"There's so much more to life than a game of baseball and to see him back obviously means he's doing well," Springer said after the game, per The Athletic's Kaitlyn McGrath. "It's awesome on the human side of it to see him back, to have him back in the ballpark."
Martinez's ties to the Blue Jays date back several decades, as he finished his MLB career with six seasons as a Toronto catcher from 1981-86. He began broadcasting Blue Jays games in 1987 then had a brief stint as the team's manager in 2001 and half of '02 before being fired. He's been a mainstay on the Blue Jays' broadcast since 2010.
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