Life has changed drastically for former first basemen Mark Grace since his days with the Chicago Cubs.
Grace was arrested last August for his second DUI in 15 months, and began serving his four-month prison sentence in February. Although he is in prison, his life is a bit different from the other inmates’. He is also Arizona’s Rookie League hitting coach.
The 48-year-old is in a unique situation when it comes to serving time in jail. Grace is allowed to go to his job each and every day. A driver picks him up from the jail at 6am every day and returns him by 6pm every evening.
Is that what jail’s really like? 12 hours of freedom in the outside world while you’re supposed to be serving time for the act you committed?
Well, Grace doesn’t have it quite that easy. He spends his time in the designated “work release area,” which allows DUI offenders and those who fail to pay child support to continue working their job while serving their prison sentence.
According to Cubs.com, the former four-time Gold Glove winner sleeps in a tent with 20 other inmates every night as part of his punishment.
“It’s cold. It’s tents,” Grace said of his new living situation. “When you get home, set your thermostat to about 42 degrees and see if you sleep well.”
It seems as though prison time has taught Grace a hard lesson at a bit of a costly price. He told Cubs.com, “The cop didn’t screw me, the judge didn’t screw me, the prosecutor didn’t screw me. It’s a lesson learned, especially out here. You can sit here and make all the excuses you want, but at the end of the day, it’s my fault and I did it, and I’m going to pay my debt to the state of Arizona and then I’m done with it.”
Given Grace’s extreme likability from his days with the Cubs and his heroic efforts with the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, it would be a shame to see a man who is liked by so many fans throw his life away because of a careless decision. Luckily, he is getting his life back on track and vows to never drink and drive again.
With a fresh start and new attitude, let’s hope Grace is destined for better things during the 2013 season.