Former major leaguer Mark Grace sounds genuinely contrite in this video from Arizona Diamondbacks offseason headquarters, where he is helping the team run its annual fantasy camp. Such a conversation seemed unlikely not long ago, given that the D-backs had fired Grace from the TV broadcast booth in the wake of a DUI arrest in August— his second in the past 15 months.
Grace pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of DUI, and his trial is coming up in March, so he couldn't say too much or be too specific regarding what he was being contrite about:
"Up until, probably, less than two weeks ago, I didn't think I was going to be here. Fortunately the Diamondbacks — just selfishly saying — showed a lot of class in giving me the opportunity. Obviously, circumstances made me think I probably wasn't going to be here. And rightfully so. But they were kind enough and classy enough, in my opinion, to ask me out here and I jumped at the opportunity."
D-backs president Derrick Hall, who must be the most patient man in the world, realizes Grace has legal troubles to work out, but said Grace is "family," and he looked forward to his future involvement with the organization.
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic reports that, despite the serious nature of the charges, Grace has a chance to get leniency in a settlement:
He was pulled over for driving a car with expired registration tags, police said. He also was found to be driving on a suspended license and without a court-ordered ignition-interlock device, according to police. It is possible that the case won’t go to trial if a plea is offered and a settlement is reached.
Grace is lucky the D-backs are looking out for him. He's also lucky to have good lawyers and apparently less-than-zealous government attorneys handling this case. And he's lucky he didn't kill anyone while driving under the influence — starting with himself.