At a game that featured bobble heads and characters popular in the 1980’s it seemed like the perfect time for Mark Grace to finally break through into the win column in the Legends race. After all, the player Mark Grace was drafted in the 24th round of the 1985 amateur draft and made his major league debut on May 2, 1988 so he could be considered an 80’s icon.
As the fifth inning concluded the Diamondbacks Legends made there way into the Florida Marlins bullpen and waited for their race to begin. Something seemed to be different tonight and I couldn’t exactly put my finger on it but it just felt different.
The Legends seemed a little nervous and each wanted to get the best starting position to begin the race. There was more pushing and shoving than I have seen in previous races and Grace seemed to be caught off guard by it.
When the public address announcer signaled the race to begin Luis Gonzalez and Matt Williams bolted out of the bullpen first giving them an early lead. Mark Grace found himself jockeying with Randy Johnson down most of the straight away from the bullpen to the Florida Marlins dugout.
Just as Williams and Gonzalez reached the Marlins on-deck circle two white figures emerged from seemingly nowhere and the two Legends froze in their tracks. I stood on my tiptoes trying to see over the crowd to find out what the commotion was. There, two Star Wars Storm Troopers were out on the playing field and had captured Williams and Gonzalez!
This is it, the break Grace has been looking for. Now instead of having to beat three other Legends it was down to him and Johnson. Surely this was the night that he would finally be victorious.
Then from the shadows emerged none other than Darth Vader himself. He stood as a menacing presence and darkness fell upon the field. Grace had a 50/50 chance of escaping the grasp of the Imperial Dark Lord and cruising to victory.
Instead Randy Johnson drew a light saber from his back pocket and began wielding it brushing beside Darth Vader to take the lead. Grace on the other hand seemed to be caught up in some sort of Jedi mind trick and stopped a few feet short of the finish line giving Johnson the victory.
We may never know what happened between Darth Vader and Mark Grace. Could Lord Vader have told Grace he was his long lost father or did Grace not have the proper midi-chlorian count to defeat the Jedi master? Oh if Grace had just stayed a little while longer on the planet Dagobah and paid more attention to the teachings of Yoda. Maybe this race would have turned out a little differently.
Alas, the force was not with Mark Grace tonight. He ran like a Wookie with a wedgie and that is not a pretty sight no matter what galaxy you are from.