From the Cheap Seats
Special Edition – Mark Grace
I’ve learned in this life that you never know who’s watching so in case Mark Grace may find this column I wanted to send out a special column just for him.
I grew up a Cubs fan in a house full of Cub fans. My parents were huge Cub fans to the point that I was named after a player that played for the Cubs in 1956. My dad chose him because he had a nice swing so it just made sense to give me his first name. My first experience with pro baseball was going to Wrigley Field inChicagoto take in a Cubs game. It was an annual trek because our Little League organization at the end of the season would do a road trip to either the Cubs or the Sox game.
To that point I only watch the Cubs play on our small black-and-white TV but as I walked up the ramp leading to the mezzanine level, I entered the stadium in utter awe to see the green vines of Wrigley and the beauty of the stadium in living color. This event has stuck with me through my entire life and it seems like only yesterday and I can’t walk into Chase Field in downtownPhoenixwithout having that same feeling.
I grew up watching a lot of Hall of Famers come throughChicagoand have had many favorite players year after year. But my all-time favorite Chicago Cub was Mark Grace and later transferred to my favorite Diamondback. Mark Grace is the epitome of what a baseball player should be, played hard, competed every day and always had a good attitude and loved what he did. Nothing made me happier to see Mark celebrating on the infield grass with his fellow Diamondbacks in 2001 as they won their first World Series. It was a bunch of grown adults jumping and celebrating like little kids in a ball field behind the school. Baseball is a kid’s game played by adults and Mark always seem to relish that fact.
I realize that retirement is always hard on athletes, to suddenly quit doing something that he has done for a long period of time. But over the past 18 months my favorite Diamondback player has struggled with issues of life. As most people well know Mark Grace was arrested for the second time for DUI. Grace requested a leave of absence from the Diamondbacks to give him a chance to get his life in order. I truly, truly hope that he takes the proper steps to do that. Nothing is worse than seeing your favorite ballplayer crash and burn. I’m thankful that Mark was stopped with just a DUI and did not cause any harm to himself or to innocent bystanders traveling the road ways. It’s also well known that Mark likes beer and is a part of his life in the public eye. Heck even myself if given the chance I’d buy Mark a beer but this last incident of DUI must cause him to stop and take stock of himself.
I know for which I speak, I personally had a problem with smoking marijuana in my 20’s because I was masking the pain of a failed marriage and possibly losing custody of my kids. Sometimes in the midst of life we get too busy to notice that we are spiraling downward before it’s too late. I thank the good Lord for getting involved in my life and keeping me from hitting rock bottom. My wish for Mark Grace is that he gets the help that he needs and brings his life into proper balance and perspective. I know this cannot be easy for Mark’s children to read about or hear from kids at school but that is typical of what can happen when things like this occur.
Where I don’t know Mark personally I do feel that I’m a good judge of character and Mark is a good man at heart. So Mark if you’re reading this please know that I stand with you and encourage you to seek the help you need and I will keep you in my prayers. Thank you for all you’ve done for baseball now take the time to do something for yourself and your family.
We love you Mark, get well soon!
If you’d like to share your sentiment to Mark Grace please leave a comment below. Please be respectful and understand that a lot of people read these articles and some are children.