PHOENIX - How much more can Mark Grace learn about the game of baseball? Let's face it, not much.
"I can sit here and look you straight in the eye and say that I probably know more baseball than 99 percent of this world," Grace said during our exclusive sit-down interview at the Arizona Diamondbacks complex in Scottsdale. "And that's my job – to instill this knowledge."
But instead of talking baseball over the airwaves as a D-backs broadcaster, Grace has spent this season teaching the game as a hitting instructor. Most of his players are teenagers, so Grace's message includes the fundamentals of baseball along with lessons that go beyond the game.
"Trust me, I have some life lessons I can teach these young men. And I've lived it the past six months," Grace said, referring to his recent DUI conviction and four month stint of spending his nights at Tent City.
"That's the thing that I'm instilling – ‘don't do what I did, okay?'"
Grace freely admits that returning to the minor leagues has been what he calls a "culture shock" of sorts. In fact, he cites that, until this year, he hadn't been anywhere near the minors since 1987.
"Sometimes it's not the worst thing to take a step back. Me? I fell off a ladder," Grace said. "I've paid my debt to the state of Arizona and people of Arizona and now I'm much better for it."
"Now look what I'm doing. I'm loving this," Grace continued. "Baseball is back in my life. And hopefully this group of kids and group of coaches are better for it."
Don't miss our extended conversation with Mark Grace coming up on Sports Sunday at 10:35 p.m.