Mark Grace’s relationship with alcohol is well documented. From his earliest days with the Cubs, Grace was known to frequent the bars of Wrigleyville after the many Cubs’ day games. Sightings of him at such local establishments as High Tops, Murphy’s Bleachers and Yak-Zies were a regular occurrence, where fans were quick to buy him a beer. The free spirited Grace enjoyed the nightlife and the ladies in his early career, and established a pattern of playing hard on the field and partying hard off it. During his career, some sportswriters would lament that how he treated his body surely had a negative impact on his performance. Each Marlboro he smoked and Coors Light that he drank couldn’t be contributing to his well-being, they argued. Yet Grace’s natural ability allowed him to play with remarkable consistency and performance, masking his consumption.
After retiring from the diamond in 2002, Grace was hired as a TV color commentator covering Arizona Diamondbacks’ games. He continued to be a recognized and respected face about town in Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona, where he lived and worked. As a man about town, he continued to drink socially at the many fine dining restaurants and bars in the area. Unfortunately, he did so irresponsibly, as evidenced by his first DUI arrest on May 30, 2011.
Grace’s first DUI arrest earned him a suspended license and a court-mandated Interlock device placed on his vehicle. Grace did not injure anyone or cause an accident, but nonetheless his decision to drive impaired was a reckless and regrettable one. The Diamondbacks organization did not reprimand Grace at this time, and he continued to work with Darron Sutton in the broadcast booth.
His first DUI should have been a wake-up call, but sadly that wasn’t the case. On August 23, 2012, Grace was arrested in Scottsdale when he was found driving with a blood alcohol content of .095 percent, above the legal limit of .080 under Arizona law. Compounding his problems, he was also charged with driving with a suspended license and tampering with an Interlock device. These felonies earned Grace four months jail time in Phoenix’s infamous “Tent City Jail,” where inmates are forced to live outdoors in canvas tents in Arizona’s brutal heat. He served his time from March to June 2013.
While the Diamondbacks did fire Grace as a broadcaster in August 2012, the team remained loyal to him, a fact Grace will never forget. During his jail time, the Diamondbacks allowed him to qualify for a work release program by offering him a spring training hitting instructor position. The support system the Diamondbacks built for Grace certainly played a positive role in getting him sober and pointing the way for him to begin rebuilding his life and baseball career.
It’s a safe bet, like betting at 10bet, that his time in jail served its purpose in opening Mark’s eyes to the damaging effects of a drinking lifestyle. Grace maintains that he hasn’t had a drink since his release from jail, and that his days of partying hard are a thing of the past. He took full responsibility for his actions, blaming no one but himself and pleading guilty to all charges brought against him. Since his release from jail, he has worked hard to reestablish his reputation by first working as a minor league hitting instructor for two years, the rejoining the big league club as its assistant hitting instructor in 2015.
A fall from grace. That’s the story of Mark Grace and his trials and tribulations with alcohol. It looks like the final chapters of it will be a rise to redemption. For the sake of his children, family and fans, let’s hope he continues with the determination he always brought to the field.