In 2012 the Arizona Diamondbacks found themselves in the precarious situation of having to fire one of the most popular figures in team history.
In early 2013, that figure is back with the team in a diplomatic capacity.
Former broadcaster Mark Grace, who was arrested on DUI charges for the second time in 16 months last August, is representing the Diamondbacks at their annual Fantasy Camp in Scottsdale.
Grace took a leave of absence to deal with his issues and was officially let go by the team at the conclusion of the season, but he holds no ill will for the decision the organization ultimately made.
“They had no choice,” Grace told the media Monday. “One thing I try to teach my children and I expect from myself and expected from my teammates is accountability. The Diamondbacks didn’t do anything wrong, I did.”
Despite still dealing with the legal ramifications of his actions, Grace is thrilled to be wearing the Sedona red again this week for the annual event.
“Because of some circumstances, I wasn’t real sure if I was going to be able to get out here or not, but about two weeks ago, I got the call and I obviously jumped at the chance and I’m thankful for the opportunity,” Grace said. “A lot of guys in my situation don’t get these kind of opportunities so kudos to such a class move on the Diamondbacks’ part.”
Grace played three seasons for the Diamondbacks, which included the 2001 season that ended in the franchise’s only World Series championship. In 2004, Grace took over the color commentator role on D-backs television broadcasts, a role he held until his second arrest.
The Diamondbacks tabbed former manager and broadcaster Bob Brenly to take over Grace’s position in the offseason.
“I’m doing as good as I can possibly do,” Grace said. “I’m getting to spend a lot of time at home which means a lot of time with my two boys. A lot more fatherhood is always a good thing.”
Grace joins other former Diamondbacks Luis Gonzalez, Matt Williams, Steve Finley, Reggie Sanders, Damian Miller, Mike Morgan, Mike Fetters, Greg Swindell and Jay Bell for the eighth annual Fantasy Camp. Eighty participants will spend the week living their own baseball dreams and will play in a game against the former stars to end the week.
“There’s nothing better for a player or a former player than putting a uniform back on,” Grace said. “It’s probably like a soldier feels if they get back in uniform. It’s a special thing to wear this, and once again, I’m thankful to the Diamondbacks for letting me put on the colors again, it’s great.”