ST. LOUIS -- The last time Mike "Doc" Emrick called a Pittsburgh sporting event, it ended with the Penguins hoisting the Stanley Cup in San Jose, Calif. On Friday, he'll get to live out a lifelong dream.
Emrick will join Bob Costas in the MLB Network booth as part of an MLB Plus broadcast to call the Pirates' series opener against the Cubs on Friday night at 7:05 ET at PNC Park. The Hall of Fame hockey broadcaster grew up listening to Bob Prince call Pirates games on KDKA-FM radio, played in the Pirates' 2012 fantasy camp in Bradenton, Fla., and stepped into the Bucs booth during Spring Training.
This time, Emrick will get to witness and relay the real deal to a national television audience, the same thing he's done for four decades in hockey.
"It's a wonderful gift when you consider that these games in the regular season, they belong to the professionals," Emrick told NHL.com. "For [Costas] to share a night and allow me to live a lifelong dream on a national network, that's pretty impressive. To be alongside him is going to be special. You just want to do your best job that you possibly can and be entertaining.
"You always remember where you are when important things in your life happen. He said, 'We're not going to get twisted into a pretzel over this. I'm your safety net. Everything is going to be fine.'"
Jake Arrieta will start for the Cubs, and Francisco Liriano will take the mound for the Pirates. Emrick is a diehard Pirates fan, often sneaking in references to the Bucs during his NHL telecasts, so he would no doubt be pleased to see the Pirates triumph against the pitcher who ended their season in last year's National League Wild Card Game at PNC Park.
This will be Emrick's first regular-season baseball broadcast. He's a four-time Emmy Award winner and the lead play-by-play voice for NBC's NHL coverage. He's the first broadcaster to be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Yet before calling a Grapefruit League game in March, Emrick admitted he was somewhat nervous. And after receiving this MLB Network assignment, he committed to beginning his research.
"This is a baseball fan's ultimate gift from Bob and MLB Network -- a lifetime memory," Emrick said at the time. "I have been in Chicago to marvel at the Cubs, and thanks to the Pirates and their broadcast crew, I have gotten to see the Bucs several times. It will be fun, yet you don't want to sit at the piano with Billy Joel and just play 'Chopsticks.' I have joyful homework for July 8."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.