Front Row caught up with Toronto native Virk to discuss the honor, his Baseball Tonight experience and how ESPN.com senior baseball writer Jayson Stark played a role on his honeymoon.
What was your reaction to finding out you made this year’s list?
Like most positives that happen in my life, it was a pleasant and completely unexpected surprise. Bob Elliott is a Hall of Fame writer who I’ve read and admired for years. I’m just grateful he’s aware of my work, much less putting me on a list of notable people.
What has hosting Baseball Tonight been like?
It’s been a wonderful two years on Baseball Tonight. From our analysts to the producers to the researchers, associate and graphics producers, studio camera crew, control room personnel and production assistants, everyone works incredibly hard at trying to deliver the best possible baseball show we can on a nightly basis. That’s not easy to do when you’re cranking out two shows a night over a lengthy seven-month stretch, but we have a tremendous team and one that I’m very proud to be a part of.
I was thrilled that [ESPN Vice President, Production] Mike McQuade gave me an opportunity to try my hand at play-by-play last season, which is something any 7-year-old sports fan dreams about. To be able to call a game in my hometown of Toronto with [ESPN MLB analyst] Eduardo Perez was something that will be tough to top this year.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) April 9, 2014
How does it feel joining colleague Dan Shulman, a perennial member of the annual list?
Dan’s been one of my favorites since the days I listened to him on the Fan 590 when I was in high school, and later when he and Buck Martinez were calling Toronto Blue Jays games together, which is as good a combo a baseball fan can listen to. As exceptional as he is to listen to on SNB, he’s even better on ESPN Radio in the playoffs, where I think he fits seamlessly in the tradition of the true greats of our profession like Jack Buck, Harry Caray and Jon Miller.
– Virk on admitting he took ESPN colleague Jayson Stark’s book on his honeymoon
As a testament to your baseball fandom, you took Jayson Stark’s book “The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History” with you on your honeymoon. What was Jayson’s reaction?
Jayson was highly amused when I told him this anecdote on Mike & Mike. I’m sure this is the ultimate form of flattery for any author: He’s sharing time with my spouse and I while we’re in Rome and Venice! I highly recommend the book to anyone.