The Chicago Cubs and why I wanted to be Mark Grace

I wanted to be the Chicago Cubs’ Mark Grace, for real. Not by name, but what he means to the team–and a second chance after his second DUI.

The Chicago CubsMark Grace. Amazing Grace. Whatever his name was, I wanted to be it. I almost taught myself to be left-handed. I’m ambidextrous, and it wouldn’t have been too hard to catch. Throw? That was another challenge, so I gave up on the left-handed thing.

From 1988 to 2000, I got to experience him as a Cub. He wasn’t the strongest person–and neither was I. He had gap-to-gap power. I hit ONE home run in little league. A few in Pony and Babe Ruth–in practice, mind you–not in a game. Grace? No 20 home run seasons. 17 was as close as he got. And in 1998? I can figure that out–even if he wasn’t ‘dirty.’ He was described as ‘turning a triple into a double.’ He’s not wrong.

For 11 seasons as a Cub, he batted .300+– three he didn’t. And he led the team in at-bats in 1991 with 691, with a .273 batting average–the lowest of his Cubs career. He batted below .300 for all three years he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

And his defensive career? Shawon Dunston. Remember that name? Pump, pump, pump..THROW! And Grace would snag it EVERY time. Ryne Sandberg? He wouldn’t dive. That would be certain. Couldn’t cost him an error on that. He would just lunge at it. What?

Sandberg’s 123 errorless games and 582 errorless chances were all for nothing? Let me ask you how many times did you see his uniform ‘dirty?’ Sandberg was a legend, but a legend without getting his uniform dirty.

So now you get to the two DUI Grace was arrested for. Granted, I have cancer with a resection in September. Not the two to be comparing. But second and third chances? That’s what I was going for.

I got a second chance at life. And a third. But who’s counting, right? The Marquee Sports Network hired him. Sammy Sosa, I don’t know what it will take to get there. I don’t. Tom Ricketts and the crew is asking that you say sorry. So..?

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Returning to the point, Grace pointed out, ‘it’s my fault.’ You’ve got to realize it before you ask forgiveness. Gracie admitted that it was his fault. Now I know you can’t blame a DUI from brain cancer. It just won’t work. But saying ‘it’s my fault’ is a step in the right direction.

 

 

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