Baseball is in Mark Grace’s blood. Everything he has purchased in his adult life has been courtesy of money he made from America’s Pastime.
“I can’t sing. I can’t dance. I can’t play a musical instrument,” the Arizona Diamondbacks’ former first baseman says. “I don’t really have any other talent besides baseball.”
After a stint coaching in the Diamondbacks’ organization, Grace is returning to the small screen as a pre- and post-game analyst on Fox Sports Arizona’s “D-backs Live.”
The D-backs’ first baseman from 2001 to 2003 was a key part of the team’s 2001 World Series title and will bring his knowledge, passion and joy for the game to TV.
“I’ve been blessed enough to play it for 16 years, broadcast it for six years and coach it for a few years,” says Grace, who served as hitting coach for the Class-A Hillsboro Hops in 2014, and the D-backs’ assistant hitting coach in 2015 and 2016. “I’ve done just about everything. Now I’m back to doing pre- and post-.”
This marks a return to the TV side of baseball. After he retired from a 16-year MLB playing career in 2003, he was hired by the D-backs as their TV analyst from 2004 to 2012, working alongside Thom Brennaman and Daron Sutton. From 2007 to 2011, he was also employed by Fox Sports.
Grace will team with hosts Todd Walsh and Jody Jackson, analyst Brandon Webb and game announcers Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly.
“I’m going to enjoy working,” he says. “I have a good friendship with Todd and Jody. Comfort won’t be a problem. I’m pretty close with both of them.”
Grace was a four-time Gold Glove winner, three-time All-Star and Major League Baseball’s hit leader in the 1990s while playing for the Chicago Cubs. Throughout his career, he has collected a wealth of knowledge.
“We’re going to have Brandon Webb who has forgotten more about pitching than I will ever know,” Grace says. “I’ve forgotten more about hitting than he will ever know. That’s the good one-two punch that we’ll have, whether I’m there or Brandon is there.
“Brandon was a highly successful, terrific pitcher. I had a very, very long career as well. I guess what I bring to the table is knowledge of the game that 99 percent of the people don’t have.”
Whatever Grace does, he injects into it his high-spirited personality.
“I’m not very everybody, but I love what I do and I know it worked pretty well for a while on TV with Thom Brennaman and Daron Sutton.”
Even though he played for the Cubs as well, Grace stresses it’s the Diamondbacks to whom he is loyal.
“They didn’t always have to stand beside me when I made mistakes,” says Grace, referring to his drunken driving arrests. “They did and I will forever be grateful to the organization and forever be willing to do anything they want.”