After months of speculation, it's official: play-by-play man Daron Sutton and color commentator Mark Grace will not be back in the Arizona Diamondbacks' television broadcast booth in 2013.
Team president/CEO Derrick Hall made the announcement Thursday morning.
"We're just looking to have a clean start, get a new team in place starting for the 2013 season," Hall said. "When it came down to Daron, it just came down to philosophical differences in broadcasting with the organization and with him.
"Both he and Grace were a good team, they did a lot of good for us, they brought a lot of exciting moments to the broadcast booth and to our fans. I honestly thank them for everything they've done, it's just time to move in a different direction."
Sutton, who joined the Diamondbacks' broadcast team in November of 2006, hadn't been in the booth since June when he was suspended for reasons that were never clearly specified by the team. He was replaced by radio play-by-play man Greg Schulte for the remainder of the season. Sutton's contract was just extended last November, and he has four years remaining on the deal.
Other than describing the rift as "philosophical differences," Hall wouldn't elaborate on just what those differences are.
"It's things that have happened over the years, just a collaboration here of our personnel dealing with Daron and us trying to go in a direction that was different than he wanted to go as a broadcaster," Hall said. "It's no knock on him -- it's just style differences and differences in philosophy as I mentioned. Daron's going to be a good broadcaster for years to come, I certainly hope."
According to Hall, there have not been any discussions about a buyout of the remaining years on Sutton's contract, and until that happens, he would be prohibited from working for another team.
Grace, who played for the Diamondbacks from 2001 to 2003 and was a member of the franchise's only World Championship team, requested an indefinite leave of absence in August after his second DUI arrest in 15 months. Scottsdale Police are pursuing an aggravated DUI charge against Grace, who could be facing jail time.
In his absence, former Diamondbacks outfielder Luis Gonzalez, radio color commentator Tom Candiotti and Hall of Famer Joe Garagiola have filled his spot.
"We had told (Grace) before, if it happened again we were not going to have him return to the booth, and he knew that," Hall said. "We feel terrible for Mark and what he's going through and he's obviously got a legal process as well on his hands and we hope everything works out for him and we're here for him, but again, he knew that this was going to be a consequence and it just so happens that his contract was going to be up after this year as well."
The Diamondbacks are now on the hunt for a new broadcast team moving forward.
"Ideally, we would love to have, like Mark brought, a connection to the past, if that's possible," Hall said. "On the play-by-play side, we'd like somebody who's exciting and can connect with the fans, obviously gets along well with the organization and with the players and has passion, much like Daron had, and loves the game of baseball."
Schulte will move back to the radio booth to handle play-by-play duties, while Jeff Munn, who filled in for Schulte will resume his role as pre-game and post-game host.
Arizona Sports' Kyndra de St. Aubin contributed to this report