Mark Grace calls missteps 'embarrassing'

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by Jason Volentine

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonvolentine

azfamily.com

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 9:15 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jul 23 at 9:20 AM

"I belong in the game of baseball."

PHOENIX -- Former Diamondbacks All-Star Mark Grace is out of jail and rebuilding his life after a rough couple years.

In the span of 15 months, Grace was arrested for drunk driving twice, lost his job as a Diamondbacks broadcaster and spent four months in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Tent City jail.

Grace’s fall from grace has been painful for the former player and his fans alike.

“Humpty Dumpty had a great fall,” said Grace, referring to himself and his troubles in an interview with 3TV on Monday.

“It's embarrassing, just the embarrassment - the public shame,” said Grace, talking about what he’s felt since his troubles began.  “When you Google Mark Grace, the first thing you see is a mug shot.  That's embarrassing.  That's the crummy part of it is the embarrassment that I put my family through and what I put my kids through and my friends through.  That's just really crappy, trust me.”

Grace started his four-month sentence in Sheriff Joe’s jail in February and got out in the early part of June - though he had been granted work leave during that time.

“I signed lots of autographs,” said Grace, noting that while he was a celebrity inmate he got no special treatment. “They don't give a crap at all about [my accomplishments].  You're a number and that's all it is.  And you learn that but quick and you have the right to do whatever the heck they tell you to do."

Grace’s troubles have cost him dearly.

“Lost a job I really enjoyed.  I lost my freedom and I lost being around… I lost valuable time with my 12- and 9-year-old [boys] - and deservedly so.  I made a mistake, broke the law, paid the price,” said Grace.

But not all is lost for Grace.  The Diamondbacks didn't completely part ways with the hitting legend.  He's a batting coach for the Arizona Rookie League

While being at professional baseball’s lowest level is a huge step off the cliff from his more than two decades in the MLB, he cherishes the opportunity to prove himself again.

“I can't play the piano, can't sing, I can't dance.  I belong in the game of baseball.  Everything I've got I owe to baseball.  Baseball owes me nothing – nothing.  Baseball owes me nothing but I feel like I owe baseball a lot,” Grace said.

Grace admitted he struggled with alcohol during the months when he was arrested.  However, he also said he isn’t an alcoholic and hasn’t had a drink since his last arrest.  He claims he’ll never go back to drinking.

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