Having a week off, everyone was hoping that Legend Mark Grace would have spent the time working with the strength and conditioning coaches of the Arizona Diamondbacks to recover from his pulled hamstring and hopefully find a little speed.
In his pre-game warm-ups, Grace seemed in a jovial mode playing with the crowd on the main concourse and posing for pictures. Based on his actions, there didn’t seem to be any residual effects from the muscle strain.
As the Legends lined up in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen all four contestants looked ready for action. With the public address announcer calling the race, the Legends emerged from the bullpen racing down the warning path towards home plate.
Luis Gonzalez took an early lead followed by Randy Johnson and Grace. Matt Williams was bringing up the rear but was in striking distance. No words have ever been more accurate than when I use the term, “striking distance”.
The Legends reached the Reds dugout. Johnson began showboating playing up to the cheering crowd. During this stunt he and Grace became tangled up. As has been happening with some regularity, Johnson took a swing at Grace to put a little space between the two.
In races past Grace would have accepted that smack down and rolled over. That was not the case tonight. Grace had finally had enough. He went at Johnson like a fat guy at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Arms were flailing and spinning like a giant paddle wheel on a river boat. Johnson’s foam eyes seemed to be even larger and Grace’s little girl arms spun around like a purple tornado. The fight was an awful lot like a Mark Reynolds at-bat. There was a lot of swinging but very little contact.
The fight seemed to distract Gonzalez who slowed to see what was happening. With the three Legends preoccupied by the Grace freak out, Williams raced along taking the checkered flag.
While Grace didn’t win, you do have to admire him for finally standing up for himself against the bully Johnson. Maybe he can take that newly found self-confidence and put it into his race. If his legs would go even half as fast as his arms were swinging he would win by a landslide.