Former Major League Baseball player and Arizona Diamondbacks color commentator Mark Grace is serving four months in jail for two DUI arrests in less than 15 months of each other. Does Grace deserve another gig with the Diamondbacks after his actions?
Arizona fired Grace from his broadcasting job that he held with the team since 2004 after he was indicted on four felony counts that were directly related to his Aug. 23 arrest of driving under the influence, driving without a license and driving without an interlock device. However, since Grace is allowed a work-release program Arizona has decided to hire him back as a special instructor to the team.
Many fans were outraged by this and have left several angry messages with the organization’s front office about their feelings toward the situation. Many feel Grace is being let off easy and does not deserve the team’s sympathy especially after what he did could have harmed innocent lives. However, the Diamondbacks feel that this is an opportunity to not only help one of their own but to aid someone who means quite a bit to the community.
“I get it and I understand (the angry phone calls),” team president Derrick Hall said. “But we’re going to do what’s best for Grace and the organization. He’s such an asset. When we told people at FanFest that we hired him, there was total applause. He’s a fan favorite. And I don’t want to lose him.”
The 48-year-old spent 13 seasons with the Chicago Cubs before coming over to Arizona in 2001, the same year the organization won the World Series. Grace was a huge part of that success as he posted a .286 batting average, one home run, four RBI and eight walks in the playoffs that year.
It is understandable why the Diamondbacks have elected to give Grace the opportunity to still be a part of the team, but does he deserve the role that he has been given? Considering he will be helping out the younger players in the organization and providing them first hand examples of how to stay out of trouble, I believe Grace should be allowed to stay with the team as long as he learns from his actions.
There is clearly still much he must do in order to get back in the good graces of the Diamondbacks as well as the Arizona fan base. Helping the players out in the minors is a start but he still must serve his time and stay sober when he is out. He must also not only help out the players in the organization but also become an active part of the community.
Only time will tell if Grace will learn from his mistakes but at least now he has a solid plan that will put him on the right path to becoming a better person.