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Buck Martinez Leaves Blue Jays TV Crew After Cancer Diagnosis

“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.”

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Buck Martinez is taking a step back from television. Sportsnet released a statement saying that the Blue Jays game on Sunday against Oakland would be the last time fans would see him on TV “for a little while” after he had been diagnosed with cancer.

Martinez is 73-years-old and is synonymous with the Toronto Blue Jays. He spent six of his 17 Major League seasons as the team’s catcher. He then managed the organization for a season and a half starting in 2001. He began his broadcast career in 1987 when the team’s games were on TSN and then joined the Sportsnet broadcast in 2010.

“I’m grateful for a tremendous medical team, who has given me great optimism that I will come through this with flying colors,” Buck Martinez said in a 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.”

Sportsnet’s Jamie Campbell could not hide his emotions on air after receiving the news. Campbell himself is receiving treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

“Buck is like family to all of us here, as he actually may be to you based on how many times you hear his voice. So, this is very hard,” Campbell said.

In a statement from the team, CEO Mark Shapiro struck an optimistic tone. He said that he is looking forward to seeing Buck Martinez at the ballpark again soon and expects that the broadcaster will meet this challenge “with courage, determination, and his signature positivity.”

Neither the team, Martinez, or Sportsnet commented on specifics regarding the analyst’s cancer diagnosis.

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Sports TV News

Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Sports TV News

Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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