Baseball Tonight’s Adnan Virk on Chicago Cubs HIGH HOPES (exclusive)

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Adnan Virk (@AdnanESPN) wears many hats at ESPN: SportsCenter, NBA, college football, college basketball etc. Anchoring Baseball Tonight is one of his primary gigs, and he really knows his MLB. Virk was gracious enough to sit down with me for an exclusive chat about a whole host of topics, including some Chicago Cubs baseball.

The interview (podcast below) occurred the day after I finished up covering Cubs Convention 2015, so the renewed hope in Cubs Nation was top of mind.

(discussion of the “Cubbie Kool-Aid” begins around the 6 minute mark)

(Virk also had a great conversation with Joe Buck, in which Buck said something incredibly self-aware about why he’s so polarizing.)

“I’m also drinking the Kool-Aid,” said Virk.

“I was on Mike&Mike recently and I said what I’m most looking forward to is what happens with the Cubs, because as a huge baseball fan I would love nothing more than to see the Cubs in the World Series. It’s unbelievable what that would to that city, the community.”

“In a sports culture that is so dominated by football, it would be great to see baseball be front page news, and that would be.”

“The Cubs actually winning the World Series would blow the doors off of anything in the NFL or college football in late October. It would be oh my god, armageddon has come, hell has frozen over.”

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And it is indeed Cubbie Kool-Aid; consumer confidence is high in Cubs Nation. The “RedSoxification” of the team has optimism running high. Jon Lester has joined Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein. The Joe Maddon acquisition has Cubs fans emboldened.

Cubs front office man Ryan Dempster made penis jokes about Randy Johnson at the Cubs Convention, and no one was offended. Everyone around the team is in such high spirits that nothing can upset the Cubs community. Not even phallic jokes at family-friendly gatherings.

(Then again these types of things shouldn’t offend anyone because MLB is a league that needs to “loosen up and live a little” anyway)

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Anthony Rizzo made a prediction that the Cubs would win the NL Central, and it was one of the biggest topics of Cubs Con. Going from worst to first is a whole lot to ask of this Cubs team; and it’s likely not realistic.

So what is?

“Not every prospect works out, maybe Arismedy Alcantara’s going to be great. Maybe Kris Bryant is going to be good, but Baez is striking out. The pitching is where I’m concerned,” said Virk.

“All these prospects are good, there’s lot of studs, but where’s the pitching going to come from?”

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Then Adnan Virk brought up another great point.

“Not to mention the fact that the Cardinals aren’t going anywhere. It’s a really great division. The Pirates have made the playoffs in back to back years, they’re not due for a regression. So I think the Cubs are going to be above .500, but I would not guarantee the division. I think they’ll be in contention for a wild card spot.”

“If you get another arm, and then maybe a deal for another big bat in the offseason. Maybe in 2016, 2017 you can become a perennial powerhouse.”

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We’ll have many more articles with commentary, analysis and quotes from Adnan Virk in the future. As you heard, there was a lot of ground covered in that podcast and we’ll have much more insight from him on a whole host of topics, so watch this space.

Paul M. Banks owns, operates and writes The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with Fox Sports Digital, eBay, Google News and CBS Interactive. You can read Banks’ feature stories in the Chicago Tribune RedEye newspaper and listen to him on KOZN 1620 The Zone.

Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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