Cancer is an ugly word. It’s one of the uglest words in our lives. Cancer has taken loved ones from all of us, and now it’s touched someone that we all know very well. I’ll let him tell you himself:
Have always tried to be honest with the radio & TV audience. So will do that now also: I have cancer-and will be off the #Padres broadcast indefinitely after Wednesday’s game. Thank you Padres fans and #aztecfamily for all your support all these wonderful years.— Ted Leitner (@TedLeitner) May 29, 2018
Ted Leitner is a hub of San Diego sports media family. We affectionately refer to him as “Uncle Teddy”, and for many of us he’s been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember. He’s a New Yorker by birth and an Oklahoman by degree, but he’s as San Diegan as any of us. My first sports memories are of the 1984 postseason run, and they are painted with the calls of Jerry Coleman, Bob Chandler, and Ted Leitner. In my recollection, the sound of local sports has Jerry hanging a star, Tony Gwynn laughing through a story, and Ted bursting out of the booth to describe a big moment. I remember Ted on Channel 8 and 760 KFMB as an outspoken sports journalist with the guts to call the local sports teams and players out for misplays and mismanagement. We know him now as a play-by-play man, but many of us remember his time as a professional sports reporter before the days of the “talking heads” who was as good as they come. He covered the Chargers, Padres, Aztecs, Sockers, and countless other sporting events in this town for decades, and is currently the radio voice of the Padres as well as Aztecs football and basketball. On top of his play-by-play role, he’s served as the emcee for Padres Hall of Fame inductions, opening day ceremonies, and celebrations of life. He has a story for every occasion, and always understands the levity or gravity of a situation. His tone has softened as he’s been a team employee, but he’s still one of the few broadcasters in the area who will call someone out on the air. With his tenure, he seems to get a free pass, but a good reason for that is that he’s usually right. He’s never been one to back away from a fight, and he’s taking this fight on with full force.
It was reported that his condition is limited to one kidney, and that he’s scheduled to undergo surgery in short order. Without knowing the specifics of his condition it’s impossible to forecast any path forward, but on the surface this sounds like a condition with a strong chance for full recovery. Ted will work the Marlins series games through Wednesday and then take an indefinite leave from the team. I have no doubt that he is working with a world-class team, and he has the entire local and national sports community extending their full support. Fight the good fight, Uncle Ted, we’re all in your corner.