Love him or hate him, Mark Grace is unquestionably one of the biggest characters and most memorable people in Arizona Diamondbacks history - whether as a player, coach or television analyst. After not having his contract as assistant hitting coach renewed, Grace will be returning to the broadcast area, re-joining FOX Sports Arizona as the network's new D-backs Live pre and post game show analyst, the station’s Senior Vice President & General Manager Brian Hogan announced today. "We are excited to be able to welcome Mark Grace to the FOX Sports Arizona family," said Hogan. "Baseball fans love him and we know he will bring a new approach to our coverage as he is able to equally educate and entertain our loyal D-backs viewing audience."
Grace will make his "D-backs Live" debut on Friday, March 31, when the D-backs play their final Spring Training game. They host the defending American League champion Cleveland Indians at Chase Field and it will be televised on FOX Sports Arizona Plus. The pre-game show begins at 6 p.m. that night with the post-game airing immediately after the game. D-backs 2017 Opening Day will then follow on Sunday, April 2, and FOX Sports Arizona's special one-hour pre-game show begins at noon before the D-backs host the San Francisco Giants at 1:10 p.m.
Grace will team with hosts Todd Walsh and Jody Jackson, analyst Brandon Webb and game announcers Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly to support FOX Sports Arizona's coverage and access to the D-backs throughout the season. This marks a return to the television side of baseball for Grace. After he retired from a 16-year MLB playing career in 2003, he was hired by the D-backs to be their television analyst from 2004-12, working alongside play-by-play announcers Thom Brennaman and Daron Sutton. From 2007-11 he was also employed by FOX Sports, serving as one of its baseball analysts.
His first stint with the network came to an unpleasant end, following Grace’s second DUI conviction, which led to him a stay for several months in Tent City. However, he continued to work with the Arizona franchise, and for the past three seasons, Grace was a coach in the organization. In 2014, he was a hitting coach with the Class-A Hillsboro Hops, and in 2015-16 was D-backs assistant hitting coach. Mark played 16 seasons in the majors, the first 13 with the Cubs, before joining the D-backs and being a key part of the 2001 World Series team. He won four Gold Gloves and was a three-time All-Star, as well as being Major League Baseball's hit leader in the 1990s. A career .303 hitter, he had 2,245 career hits, including 511 doubles, 54th most all-time.