Should the Arizona Diamondbacks Fire Mark Grace After His DUI?

In what has already been a tumultuous season for the Arizona Diamondbacks broadcasting staff, color analyst Mark Grace was arrested on Thursday night on suspicion of DUI after he failed a field sobriety test. He was administered the test after being pulled over for driving with expired registration and when officers determined that there was “probable cause” that he was driving under the influence.

This is Grace’s second run-in with the Scottsdale, Ariz. police department in the past 15 months–he was cited for DUI last year. He did give a blood sample for alcohol testing in this incident, and as of Friday, he has gone on an indefinite leave of absence from the team while he seeks treatment for unspecified issues.

Before we get to the meat of this editorial comment, it needs to be said that Grace has not admitted to anything, has not been charged as of yet and has obviously not been convicted in this matter. The following comments should not be taken to assume that he is guilty of the charges, even though it is reasonable to suspect that he is due to the leave he is currently on and his past history of run-ins with the law.

Obviously, in matters like this, we should first and foremost be thankful that Grace didn’t injure or kill anybody when he got behind the wheel of his vehicle. Whether he was legally drunk or not, he was clearly impaired in some way, and the lack of judgment that it shows for a man of his means to choose to drive rather than hiring a cab to get him home safely is something that the Diamondbacks have to seriously question. Posing that kind of a threat to unsuspecting motorists is something that every person who decides to drive after drinking seems to ignore, and especially in the case of a guy who has many ways to get home other than putting himself and others at risk, it is particularly galling behavior.

The second most important thing about this situation is to express hope that Grace gets the help he is obviously seeking. Whether that is checking into alcohol abuse rehab, a 12-step program or even just seeking counseling for his decision making, he is very much entitled to his privacy at a time like this, and he really isn’t in a position where people should be demanding that he be made accountable for his actions while the various legalities of this case are being litigated.

The third and final thing that needs to be kept in mind here is that no matter what extenuating circumstances there are surrounding this case, the fact of the matter is that Grace has caused another blot on the reputation of his employer. As they are struggling to deal with the prolonged absence of lead commentator Darren Sutton due to an as yet undisclosed reason for his suspension, Grace has further complicated matters and caused some to question the intelligence of having those two particular men in the booth calling baseball games for the organization.

It is with that in mind that, pending him being found guilty or pleading guilty in this case, Grace needs to be relieved of his duties by the team. It seems like a callous thing to do to a man who has meant a lot to the fans of the team and who is clearly dealing with some serious problems, but the fact of the matter is that anyone who can make such a stupid decision twice in such a short time span isn’t someone you need to coddle. It is someone who you need to give a wake-up call to, and the way to do that is to send him out the door.

In his stead, it would make sense for the Diamondbacks to pursue another figure from their World Series championship year. Bob Brenly, who has been the color analyst for the Chicago Cubs for the past eight seasons, is currently in negotiations for a new contract with the club as his deal with expire at the end of the season. Brenly managed the 2001 Diamondbacks to the franchise’s only championship and he would likely fit in well with Greg Schulte, who has replaced Sutton and may very well be hired on as his full-time replacement.

Firing someone with the following that Grace has is a step that cannot be taken lightly, but in light of what has happened over the past 15 months, it is apparent that there are more important things for Grace to be attending to than calling baseball games. The Diamondbacks need to give him an opportunity to recover from his illness and to remove themselves from what has been a messy relationship up to this point.

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  • Tom

    I agree with the writer, that given the fact that this was not a first time offense for Grace, he needs to be fired. The management needs to deal with this issue quickly as possible to avoid further embarrassment for the club.

    In addition, I do like the idea of Bob Brenly pairing up with Greg Schulte, although I think the chances of the Dbacks landing him as slim.

  • http://fox desertcat43

    Grace should be fired. Sutton should never be allowed near our broadcast/telecast booth again. Schulte should go back to the radio side and stay there.

    Dbacks have some big decisions where these three guys are concerned, but their bigger decisions should be whether or not to retain Gibson and his staff for 2013 and beyond, and how soon can they trade Chris Young & Justin Upton?

    • Dbacks2007

      Whatever you do, please do not put Greg Schulte on the TV crew. I fall asleep by the 3rd inning every game. Keep him on the radio side. Also remember that Grace has a HUGE following with the Dbacks and has the rest of this year and the off season to get himself healthy. I would like to see the Dbacks put a “to do” list together and if he does that, keep him for the 2013 season.

      • http://GOOGLE JOHN

        i’ll drink to that!!

  • Chris

    I would give Gracie a chance to go through rehab. He means a lot to Diamondbacks fans. If he completes a rehab program I would take him back. Another DUI–three strikes–he’s out.

    • http://fox desertcat43

      I’m well aware of what Grace means to the Dbacks and the fans. However, the 3-strike rule is great in the game of baseball, but not so much in the game of life. He’s been lucky with his DUI’s so far. How much damage to the Dbacks organization will be done if his next one results in a funeral?

    • AZNative

      I agree. Rehab for Gracie. I’ve known some really good folks who just needed to deal with their disease. He’s a good guy, with a disease, you wouldn’t fire him if he was a diabetic would you?

      • Greg

        Haven’t seen too many diabetics killing others on the roadway. Grace made a concious decision to drive a car with a suspended license, no tags and no breath-alyzer. Then, knowing he needed to drive, took a drink or two. He then chose to go to the car and throw the dice on getting caught, or worse yet, getting into an accident.

        The first time is a wake-up call. The second time is simply thumbing your nose at the law and the community. Sure you can be a fan of Mark Grace, but having the community coddle this behavior, just because it’s “Gracie” is outrageous.

  • Cheryl

    First off, I am a big fan of Gracies. He brings great insight and knowledge into the game and obviously loves the sport. Yes, he did wrong and he is going to have to serve jail time if convicted, for sure, he will pay out thousands of dollars in fines and lawyers fees, he has been publicly and professionally embarrassed, and I can tell you, there is no one more ashamed of what he did than him. But don’t give up on him. The laws on DUI have become almost ridiculous and a money maker for the states. That’s why they pursue them. As for Sutton, they should just say why he has been suspended. If they don’t, then they should just let him go because he will never have the credibility and people will always wonder what he did.

  • Mark

    Cheryl, Touche! Gracie is the best thing about watching the DBacks, his color commentary of his previous World Series Championship team is the games best. DUI laws are absoulutely out of control in AZ. Yes he made a very poor unconscious decision caused by a disease. If convicted he will pay thousands of dollars for defense and fines and yes some prison time,should his career be ended? Absoulutely not. Does he drive for a living? A Crime That Certainly Doesn’t Fit The Punishment!!! Huge Money Maker For The Legal Professions And Local Municipalities, One That Feeds The Other!

    Shame On Those That Throw Stones, Judge, Jury and Executioners!!!