Being sorry about his conduct did not get Grace out of having to serve time entirely for what was a second DUI arrest in a 15-month span. But his contrition, along with — probably — his popularity in the Phoenix community, might have saved him from a lengthy prison sentence.
Grace was sentenced to four months in jail after pleading guilty to DUI and endangerment in court Thursday. Via USA Today, here was his punishment:
[A] judge imposed a sentence that includes work-release jail time as well as three years of supervised probation. Additionally, an Interlock device must be installed in his vehicle for six months and he will need permission to travel out of state.
Grace had been facing several years in prison after being charged with four counts of aggravated DUI in August. His arrest also preceded the Arizona Diamondbacks firing him from his TV broadcasting job. At the moment, Grace doesn't appear to be employed. But with baseball season coming up, perhaps that's about to change.
Grace, whose career began with the Chicago Cubs in 1988 and peaked with the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won the 2001 World Series, was extremely popular with fans and teammates in both places. He's not a Hall of Famer, but he had a terrific career (he's 49th all-time in doubles) and produced a lot of good will along the way.
The judge at his sentencing seems to be giving Grace the benefit of the doubt that he won't do it again, and that he'll benefit society more by spending less time behind bars. Both have a chance to be true, but it's unlikely that someone who doesn't have an oversized likeness of himself running around Chase Field would catch such a break.
Grace had better make it work. Lives might depend on it. And not just his own.
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