The Arizona Diamondbacks have been touting this day for several weeks now. After all of the anticipation it is finally here. The era of the Diamondbacks Legends races is now upon us. Pulling from a history of the first 13 years the Diamondbacks and their fans selected four former players who will compete each home game in a race from the visitor’s bullpen to the Diamondbacks dugout.
The races begin at the end of the fifth inning. The four Legends, Luis Gonzalez, Mark Grace, Randy Johnson, and Matt Williams, took their marks in the Dodgers bullpen for the inaugural running of the Legends.
The public address announcer welcomed the racers and began the race with a bellowing “Go!” And they were off. All four racers were sprinting down the warning track along the first base line. The Chase Field crowd was on their feet cheering for these four great players.
It was looking like a race that would be too close to call. As they ran past the Los Angeles Dodgers dugout the Dodger players looked on in amusement. All that is except one. On the far end of the dugout one player had an insidious plan to disrupt the race.
When the racers got within range, one player tossed something at the running legends. The item seemed innocent enough but it disrupted the concentration of one of the athletes, Mark Grace, who momentarily stopped allowing the other Legends to pass him leaving Grace in last place.
Instant replay showed that the item tossed was a white towel and it came at the hands of none other than Diamondback killer Manny Ramirez. Oh how could he do this? What possible motive did Manny have to cause a disruption and force controversy into the very first Legends race?
The fans looked to race officials to classify this as a non-race and allow the four runners to run again but the protest was denied. Mark Grace was denied victory in a manner that was clearly out of his control. The integrity of the game has been tainted. Grace deserves vindication!