The season is winding down. The Diamondbacks have two home games including today’s game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That means there are only two chances left for Mark Grace to break out of his funk and finally get in the win column before the off-season begins.
It was a perfect day for Grace to overcome his difficulties. It was Fandemonium and the concourse was filled with fans eager to see the Diamondbacks and their favorite Legends racers. In the pre-game Grace walked the racecourse along with fellow Legends Matt Williams, Luis Gonzalez, and Randy Johnson.
As the Legends made their way around the stadium they were greeted with cheers and excited fans wanting their photos taken with their favorite Legend. The racers graciously agreed posing for picture after picture. Children stood around with signs containing words of encouragement for the Legends and in particular for Grace.
I had to brush back a tear as I saw a small boy with a handmade sign that stated “Let Grace Win” and in smaller letters “.com”. I wanted to go give him a big hug but was worried security may try to remove me from the stadium before the game even started.
As the fifth inning approached the fans seemed to lose focus on the game with all eyes straining to see the Legends as they stretched and made themselves ready for the upcoming race.
The excited public address announcer called the racers to the line and set the second to last Legends race of 2010 in motion. There was a roar from the large Chase Field crowd as Johnson, Gonzalez, Williams, and Grace sprinted out of the bullpen running towards home plate.
Grace seemed determined that today was going to be the day. He was running with more effort than I had ever seen in my life. With each stride his giant polyester head bobbed up and down like a giant bobblehead doll. The foam teeth of his Legend face were snarling as his arms flailed side-to-side trying to keep his balance.
Grace was near the front and looked as though he might actually stand a chance. Unfortunately, Johnson had legs that seemed to stretch from first base to home plate. Each stride by Johnson equaled two of Grace’s.
The difference in inseam was just too much. Grace could not keep pace with his taller opponent. In the end Johnson was victorious but by just a few feet. This was by far the best showing by Grace this season.
The crowd was disappointed but were left with a glimmer of hope that tomorrow is another day and if Johnson ever gets a Charlie horse it is going to resemble a Clydesdale and Grace will be there to gallop over the finish line for his first win.