Monday, February 23, 2009

Buck Martinez Negotiating Return to XM Radio

Emmy-winning baseball broadcaster Buck Martinez -- who formerly served as co-host with the departed Mark Patrick on XM Radio's morning baseball program -- has entered into talks to return to the satellite network, according to a report from a network colleague.

Weekend and evening baseball talk show host Lee "Hacksaw" Hamilton -- describing Martinez as a "free agent" -- recently disclosed that Martinez and XM-Sirius brass were trying to work out an arrangement for Martinez to return to the financially struggling network to cover the upcoming baseball season.

Martinez appeared at Tigers camp in Lakeland, Fla., Sunday while working as a commentator for TBS, a position he would maintain even if he returns to XM. It would be Martinez's fourth year of service with XM if the two sides can agree on a contract.

"I don't know whether they'll be able to get it done," said Hamilton in response to a question from a telephone listener.

In addition to his work on XM, Martinez has served as a baseball color analyst for ESPN, TBS and The Sports Network, and as game analyst for the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. He was awarded a 1995 Sports Emmy for ESPN's coverage of Cal Ripken's record 2,131st consecutive game.

Martinez -- who resides in Bellaire Beach, Fla. and Cape May, N.J. -- managed the Toronto Blue Jays in 2001-02, and was a major league catcher for 17 years, including time with the Royals and Blue Jays, before injuries to his knees forced his retirement.

He and Patrick inaugurated XM's "Baseball This Morning" program with former Phillies manager Larry Bowa in 1987, and formerly shared the program's microphone with former Yankees first baseman Orestes Destrade. All of them abruptly left the network with little explanation despite their having gained accolades from listeners for high standards in originality, creativeness, entertainment and informativeness -- achievements largely unmatched since their departure.

Bowa now serves as third base coach for the Dodgers. Estrada has served as commentator for ESPN television's "Baseball Tonight." Patrick continues to seek work from his home in the Indianapolis suburb of Brownsburg.